Sunday, 5 April 2015

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

What this book is about... 

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.
Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

My initial expectations...

Just over a year ago, around Christmas, I picked up this book at my local bookstore on a whim. I hadn't even bothered to read the synopsis on the back. Honestly, I bought it because the cover was just way to shiny to pass up and (for the first time in forever) I had money to spare. On New Year's Eve I picked this one off my shelf only after realizing I was one book short of my yearly reading goal.

What I liked about this book...

I was not prepared for all the craziness this book threw at me. And by craziness, I mean awesomeness. Have any of you ever come across a book that you don't really expect much from, but then, all of the sudden you find yourself completely obsessed? Well, that was my experience with this book. 
The idea of supervillains taking over America (and possibly other areas of the world) was definitely unexpected. It's something you think would only work as a graphic novel or as a film. Surprisingly though, Sanderson executed this concept almost perfectly through the YA genre. 
While it was serious and action-packed all throughout, I really enjoyed how there was also a fair amount of humor that came about not only through the dialogue, but also through the protagonist's inner thoughts. Good on David for not totally succumbing a moody personality that usually comes with a protagonist seeking revenge. 
The characters weren't the only thing I loved about this book. The plot was mind-blowing, especially near the end. While I'm not going to give any specific details, the big reveal at the end had me physically shaking with shock and excitement. 

What I didn't like about this book...

Though I enjoyed the pace, I consistently got confused at one point or another while reading the intense action scenes. I kept on needing to go back a page or two to figure out where the character was or what he was doing because everything was just happening so fast and they were moving all over the place. I would turn a page and realize that they had changed locations entirely, and have little to no idea how they got there. 
Additionally, David's inability to use proper and/or logical metaphors went from cute and funny to annoying really quick. Half the time I imagined that whenever Sanderson wanted to add a 'metaphor' he just stuck his hand into a bowl of random things, pulled out two and purposely failed to relate them to one another. Same goes for the Epics (the supervillains) and their powers/weaknesses. 
(Thankfully, Sanderson explains the logic behind the Epics' weaknesses in book two much better). 

My overall views...

While there was a few things here and there that annoyed and or confused me, this book had me captured from the very beginning. David was both brave and inspiring throughout the book. His determination to go out of his way to help people made me fall head over heels for him (which is something that definitely doesn't happen often). I really respect Sanderson for trying something so risky and unique. 

I give this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads!

Would I recommend it to anyone? Yes! I've basically recommended this book to everyone already.

Would I re-read this book? Maybe. Because I already knew the big reveal at the end, I feel that it may not be as exciting a second time around. 

Favourite quotes...

“Never throw the first punch. If you have to throw the second, try to make sure they don't get up for a third.”

“We were like deaf people trying to dance to a beat we couldn't hear, long after the music actually stopped.” 

“I have a smoke grenade in my room," I said.
"What?" Megan asked. "How?"
"I grew up working at a munitions plant," I said. "We mostly made rifles and handguns, but we worked with other factories. I got to pick up the occasional goody from the QC reject pile."
"A smoke grenade is a goody?" Cody asked.
I frowned. What did he mean? Of course it was. Who wouldn't want a smoke grenade when offered one?”

“Where there are villains, there will be heroes. Just wait. They will come.”

What did you guys think? Have you read anything similar? Would you rather be an Epic or a Reckoner? If you were a Reckoner, what would your position on the team be? If you were an Epic, what would your ability be? 

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