Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Ten years ago a cosmic event named calamity occurred. This burst of energy gave a select group of men and women, now called epics, extraordinary powers. However instead of using these abilities for the betterment of mankind the epics seized power for themselves. David is a young man bent on revenge. Ten years ago he watched Steelheart, the epic who rules what was once Chicago and is said to be invincible, murder his father.  However David has seen something no one else alive has, he has seen Steelheart bleed. David begins a search for the Reckoners, a shadowy group who fight the epics, although only some of the low level ones. He hopes he can convince them to help him against Steelheart and gain his vengeance.

One aspect of writing that Sanderson often has trouble with is humour and this is really evident in this novel. David is meant to be consumed by the need for vengeance in a dystopian world but is seemingly obsessed with random metaphors. This is really distracting in the first half of the book and doesn't sit well with the subject matter. Thankfully this eases once the action picks up later in the book. 

I noticed in The Rithmatist, Brandon's other young adult novel, that the protagonist seemed younger than he should have and that is also the case for David here and is something Sanderson needs to address.

Sanderson is well known for his well thought out and exceedingly well organized magic systems. What he delivers in Steelheart is very out of character. The weaknesses for the epics are especially arbitrary and I hope he addresses this later in the series.

Having said all of that Sanderson does work some very well shadowed plot twists into the mix and the group of support characters is very well realized.

Overall Steelheart is a book of two halves with a problem riddled beginning and an action packed conclusion. 7/10. 

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