Review of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

20150423_153630-825x510I’ve been reading Fantasy seriously for about 5 years now. Due to having to give up work because of compressed discs in my back, I now read obsessively. Brandon Sanderson’s’ work has always been winking at me, giving me a nudge, but I look at Way of Kings and I think really? I am currently in the middle of ‘A Song of Ice & Fire’‘The Kingkiller Chronicle’‘Chronicle of he Unhewn Throne’‘Raven’s Shadow’‘Scion’‘The Wars of the Roses’‘Demon Cycle’‘The Blackheart Legacy’ and the ‘Shattered Sea’ as well as waiting on sequels to Son of the Morning’‘The Bell Between Worlds’ and ‘The Relic Guild’, amongst others. I know if I start Sanderson and I like it I will have to read all 3 of his series, im a hardcore OCD, I don’t cut corners. Whilst I look at my pile of 5-6 books to read, I finally caved in.

I played the safe card and used my Audible credit to purchase ‘The Final Empire, Book 1′ of Mistborn Trilogy hoping of course that I absolutely hate it, its ok I wont have to read 5437 pages (roughly excluding novellas & epilogues) to catch up with Sanderson’s’ World?/Worlds?  So I listened to the 24 hour audible book in 3 days whilst decorating, yes it was that terrible…

No it wasn’t is was an absolute masterpiece. The World building, character profiles and magic system was just flawless and beautiful. His writing flows majestically and whether listening or reading, they are addictive, clean and complex but uncomplicated. When books are written in this way 1000 pages can read as efficiently as 200 pages of some incomprehensible fantasy jargon.

So I loved The Final Empire 5☆ great narration too. My newest credit was spent on Book 2: Well of Ascension. Though with easter holidays I have had little listening time thus far. Then totally randomly I found Hero of Ages on its own in the charity shop for £1. Job done.20150424_115626-150x150.jpg

I am yet to start The Stormlight Archive, but I did use some of my book money to invest in UK First Edition Hardback copies of ‘Way of Kings’ on eBay for £85 in great condition and ‘Words of Radiance’ with Signed book-plate from Anderida Books for £35. Both are beautiful tomes which I cannot wait to read during the summer.

I was in 2 minds about whether I needed Steelheart and Firefight, which of course I did and managed to strike a deal with Anderida Books for Signed copies with matching numbers for £90.

So enough gushing about Brandon Sanderson (whose initials I will not use as an abbreviation, just in case) & talk about Steelheart.

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We are taken straight into the action with protagonist and narrator David Charleston, he is 8 years old accompanying his father at the bank, when  a fight between 2 epics breaks out, between current ruler Deathpoint and Steelheart.

  • I must add from my introduction to the Epics, that from the beginning I visioned them as admin-ajax.php-10.jpeg
    Transformers. Now I know Transformers are cool but may have actually clouded my view of perspective throughout the story, size ratios etc .

Epics are not Transformers and are in fact humans with magical powers, this seemed to come about when a satellite or star called calamity appeared in the sky. The more Epics use their powers the more they are consumed by evil. Sanderson’s’ magic system is clean and effective but uncomplicated, which a young and less experienced fantasy readers should be able to easily follow and enjoy.

Davids dad is what is known as a faithful, a believer of such things as heroic epics who will one day come and save the city and protect its population rather than destroy it. His fathers sacrifices his life to defend Steelheart believing a greater future would lay ahead for his son. Steelheart wins and uses his fist to turn everything to steel.

Steelheart let out a scream of rage and indignation. I could barely hear it, but I could feel it shattering what windows remained, vibrating the walls. Then something spread from him, a wave of energy. And the floor around him changed colors, transforming to metal.

  • Maybe it was the transforming part that kept me thinking Megatron would arrive.

That was just the prologue, chapter 1 arrives and we learn Steelheart is no less merciless and cruel as his predecessor. David is living underground in hiding with many of the other humans who are not on Steelhearts’ payroll. David has been bought up in a factory where he has worked and been schooled, he has been secretly observing the epics for weaknesses and a group called the Reckoners. He is now 18 and devotes his life to finding a way to destroy Steelheart and avenge his father.

This is not going to be easy as Steelheart has a close circle of Hard Epics with Prime Invincibility (note- this has nothing to do with Optimus Prime whatsoever.)

Introducing-

Nightwielder – The bringer of darkness, usually appears in his metaphysical form to hide his identity. Is able to manipulate the darkness to his advantage.

Firefight – Appears to be a fire epic who can fly, throw and can control fire.

Conflux – Like a walking Duracell battery, Is able to produce masses of energy. Powers enforcement (Steelhearts human army.)

Other epics include

Fortuity – Super senses danger with precognition powers. Practices the ancient greek divination ritual of extispicy or Haruspex, reading the entrails of the dead, sadistic Fortuity prefers humans to animals.

Not forgetting- Refractionary, Clapper, Strongtower, Earless, Pink Pinkest, Ricky O’ Shea and Danny ‘Curveball’ Harrison.

Just one question, When do the collectors cards come out?

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David seeks out secret rebellions The Reckoners. A Reckoner according to the dictionary is wait for it… noun. A persons who reckons. Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer. Where as reckoning will give much more cool results like

reckoning
ˈrɛk(ə)nɪŋ/Submit
noun
1.
the action or process of calculating or estimating something.
“the sixth, or by another reckoning eleventh, Earl of Mar”
synonyms: calculation, estimation, computation, working out, summation, counting; More
a person’s opinion or judgement.
“by ancient reckoning, bacteria are plants”
synonyms: opinion, view, judgement, evaluation, way of thinking, estimate, estimation, appraisal, consideration
“by her reckoning, it was high time her luck changed”
archaic
a bill or account, or its settlement.
plural noun: reckonings
2.
the avenging or punishing of past mistakes or misdeeds.
“the fear of being brought to reckoning”
synonyms: retribution, fate, doom, nemesis, judgement, punishment, what is coming to someone
“the terrible reckoning that he deserved”

David has done his research and calculates which Epic the Reckoners will target next, to set up an impressive rendezvous, much to their surprise and maybe a little embarrassment. Davids first encounter is with info gatherer Megan. Who David is quite distracted by.

I normally consider myself somewhat levelheaded, but it’s not every day that you find yourself in a darkened alleyway with a gorgeous woman who rips off most of her clothing. Underneath she wore a low-cut top and a pair of spandex biker shorts. I was pleased to note that the gun holster was, indeed, strapped to her right thigh.

Um… Im not surprised.

Other Reckoners we meet are;

Abraham, Tech guru, not often seen without carrying his beloved electron-compressed Manchester 451 gun with gravatonics ad full grenade dock.

Tia, Redhead in research, who loves drinking cola.

Cody, who is a witty Scotsman, possibly part Australian, joker of the team, fills in the gaps, has a lot of respect for David as they both have geekiness in common.

Jonathon Phaedrus aka Prof aka PhD, leader and founder of The Reckoners. Shares Davids passion of hatred towards Steelheart.

Joining the Reckoners is not a simple procedure of just filling out a registration form and paying a membership fee. He has to go through tests and provide proof of his research regarding the epics. David is brilliant as a narrator; you can really feel his hunger and intent for revenge as well as his frustration at being really bad when it comes to metaphors.

“Wow,” I said. “Its like… a banana farm for guns.”

“A banana farm,” Megan said flatly.

“Sure you know how bananas grow from their trees and hang down and stuff?”

Brandon has built an awesome futuristic fantasy world, with a protagonist I genuinely cared about.

Though I have to say my favourite character is yet another fantastic Heroine introduced into modern fantasy Megan,  who competes with the likes of Wydrin (Copper Promise), and Lila (A Darker Shade of Magic) Clever, cunning, witty, hard working, sexy and certainly not anyone you’d wanna mess with.

“I only shoot people when the job calls for it,” she said. “You’re simply trying to make small talk; you’re simply not very good at it. That’s not a shooting offense.”

When it comes to fantasy Sanderson is simply a magician, with a pen for a wand.

Steelheart, Published by Gollancz, 26 September 2013, 400 pages

☆☆☆☆☆

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Check his website for live book updates, seriously cool http://brandonsanderson.com

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