Book Reviews

Book Review: Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Blurb:

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 will.

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.

Published September 2013 by Delacorte Press

My Review:

Brandon Sanderson knows what he’s doing. He’s been at the writing game long enough, he knows how to craft characters, how to weave plots together, and basically, how to tell a story. Steelheart doesn’t disappoint: it’s a beautifully crafted story about revenge, hope, and consequences. Plus, it’s superheroes, which, after a not-so-careful-and-more-of-an-“Oh snap!”-kind-of-reflection, I’ve realized I am addicted to said superheroes as if they were crack cocaine.

I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to.

Still, I don’t have anything negative to say about the book, really. Some of the big twists I saw coming, some I didn’t. Some of the character development I had pegged from the beginning, others I did not.

But the book didn’t quite captivate me in the way I was hoping. It’s split into different parts, which I couldn’t decide if I liked or not. I’d reach the end of a part, put the book down, and not pick it up for a few weeks. Then I’d hop back in and pick up where I left off when I remembered I had a book to finish. I enjoyed the story, and I’m pleased with how it ended, but it wasn’t one that I felt compelled to continue into the early morning hours, ignoring the fact that I had work the next day. I felt for the central character, David, and losing his father. I appreciated his struggle between justice and revenge. I enjoyed the altered cityscape and life built around Epics, especially in the fear they invoke. But it didn’t hook me.

Believe it or not, this is my first foray into Sanderson’s work. And his writing was certainly honed and experienced. From a writer’s standpoint, I appreciated looking at his craft, but from a reader’s view, I was disappointed that I wasn’t sucked into the narrative as much as I wanted to be. I’ll be reading other Sanderson books, to be sure, but Steelheart left me neither excited nor disappointed…just apathetic. Four out of five stars.

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