Author: Brandon Sanderson
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Could you all take a seat and pretend to look the other way? I have some rabbitholes to get into and picket fences to erect, and I’d rather you didn’t peek in on me. It just might save my life, you know, and taking one for altruism never hurt nobody.(Actually lots of bodies but let’s politely overlook that.)
Before Steelheart, I didn’t like Brandon Sanderson.
Aaaaaaaand that’s the spirit!
It’s always a good sign when a grenade doesn’t blow your nose to smithereens.
Now, I know. How could it be? I must be out of my mind, or maybe out of the world(that would explain my weird fetish for jester butts but that’s neither here nor there). But you must also factor in that I was an extremely disagreeable kid back when I was a kid and then some, and in the then some part, I was also rather set in my ways. But since most of the world fall on their knees and eat sand when one brings up Sanderson, it’s not a stretch to imagine me falcon-punching my way through lines and hordes of foaming candies and cobblers(it’s a know condition brought on by extreme frenzy in anticipation of Sanderson’s books)(poor people but made my work easier) to obtain Steelheart. I’m a downright devil, I am.
Oh, look I’m peeking out about now. Excuze-moi while I secure myself again.
Right-ho, done now. Throw ’em poison-tipped javelins and steel bullets!
And I’m ending with the stupid, filler part of the review.
Steelheart is the story of a world ravaged by supervillains, called the Epics, where there are no heroes, except the shadowy Reckoners, a group of vigilante humans who go about assassinating the littler and crueler Epics. In this world, David sleeps and breathes and thinks around one other entity: Steelheart. Steelheart is a monster among monsters, considered invincible and holding in his hands, unimaginable power. The building of this world is breathtaking, mind-bending and all round, meticulous. Sanderson accounts for the most trivial gears of his world that proves to be significant only much later. Paintings of dark, grim alleys and ruthless creatures come alive; a world festers and grows once again in the remains of an apocalypse. With every page, Brandon Sanderson proves himself to be a swordmaster with his words- elegant and succinct. Back to David’s world, it sifts in dangerous powers, with the weaker underground and the predators in open skies. The atmosphere has a distinct flavor of the old-age and well-played comic cities that simply added to the fun.
Carrying on in the same vein raises problems, however. For all this display of careful structure, the book never does provide a clear view of Calamity, beyond that it’s a ball that shines in the perpetually dark sky, which I believe, is a damn shame. A proper re-run of the Calamity days is overlooked and for all I know, the big ball looks like that eye from LoTR(forgive my inadequate verbosity; I haven’t read the books)(shoot me now) or even a mighty, supernatural, glowing ball, one of a pair(if you know what I mean).
The protagonist, David, has shrined his life to the would-be death of Steelheart. He wants it bad. Through my visually-and-reality impaired glasses, this book is paw and David the biggest thorn in it. He’s a two-dimensional character, I could describe him in words, and I never take that as a good sign. He has no depth or veracity to him, no internal conflict, and by the time dusk arrives, no development. He says at the end that he’s grown, but after looking under every snake and pebble, I don’t have any evidence. He’s the lackluster hero who uses him mad improvisation skills to get out of every stickiness- for him there are no conflicts, inside or out. All him emotions seem fake and the only quirk he possess is his tendency to make up atrocious metaphor. I mean this one downright disgusting:
I hadn’t thought there was a flaw in my plan. I’d worked all those out, smoothing them away like cleanser removing the pimples from a teenager’s chin.
It kept me entertained though and, strangely enough, they(the metaphors) seem to undergo some sort of development, when David fails.
The rest of the crew seems to have more interesting personalities, thank god. Specifically, I liked Megan and her views, until the last chapter for it came along with a good dose of banality. There was the leader of the Reckoners, Prof, who piqued my curiosity. My favorite would be Cody, not for his character itself, but because he formed a major part of the entertainment aspect, and he’s part-Scottish. They’re always fun. Not the best characterization ever, and I definitely expected more from Sanderson. And the romance was forced and lacking in chemistry. It seemed to be there simply for the sake of pleasing the YA audience, and being a part of that, I can tell you I’m not pleased.
Also provided are non-stop action, hasty(not necessarily bad) pacing and sometimes stupid, but believable, plot. It was enough to have me gripped for the entirety of the novel and would have provided a satisfied me on a platter to you, had it not been for the lack of climax and build-up. Seriously, there is none. Zilch. As much fascinating as I find it in a novel that strains to make you chew your knuckle(a friend of mine used to do that when she was bored(that should tell you lots)), it’s a shame.
Eh, but I loved the last line, loved it like you won’t believe.
Eh, I also loved the supervillains. Can’t help it, they had differing powers and I was on the edge of my seat to figure out each one’s from their names and pit them against imaginary battles in my head.
I was a fan for a while, but not a BIG one.