Saturday, September 21, 2013

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Science Fiction

What Goodreads says:

"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."

Let me start by saying that I love Steelheart.  I received an ARC from Amazon Vine so got to read it before it came out.  That is the good news – the bad news is that I have to wait until the Fall of 2014 for Firefight, book two to come out.  So on to why I loved the book.

World Building:  It was spot on.  Steelheart is told in the first person and by page 13 the world had been explained in action and dialog, all from the view of an 8 year old.  As new elements were needed they arrived in the same way, through action and dialog.

Characters:  You meet David first in the prolog as an eight year old.  The next time you see him he is 18 and you get to watch him grow and change.  Next you meet the Reckoners (Tia, Prof, Cody, Megan, and Abraham) and get to know them as individuals.  You see much of their character as you watch them planning and then acting on their plans.   Then there are the Epics.  They are the focus of the story and each has an individual talent and a weakness.  You learn a lot about the Epics from the dialog between the Reckoners.  By the end of Steelheart you know and like David and the rest of the Reckoners team.  There are some surprises as some of the characters are not what they seem.  I saw some foreshadowing that gave a hint of things to come.

Plot:  This story focuses on taking out one of the more powerful Epics, Steelheart.  That drives the story and the actions of the characters.  It sounds like a very simple plot but as the story develops so do the characters and while the focus stays the same the reason for the action and the reactions of the characters keeps the plot from being one-dimensional. 

Tension:  There is internal tension within the team.  The fact that David is young and a new member sets up some of that.  There is the external tension as the team takes on Epics with super powers.  And then there is the tension when the plan and action do not work as planned.  All in all this is a tension filled book.

Writing:  I think all I need to say here is that Steelheart is written by Brandon Sanderson.  He is a master of the craft and Steelheart is a very good example of the mastery.

Pick up Steelheart for a book that is exciting, suspenseful and surprising.  There is a satisfying conclusion to the story in Steelheart but as I mentioned at the beginning this is the start of a series.  There are loose ends and the end of Steelheart is just the beginning of new problems.  Book Two, Firefight, comes out in the Fall of 2014.

Delacorte Press published Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson in 2013.

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