Monday, September 02, 2013

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

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I received this book for free from Random House Children's Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Steelheart by Brandon SandersonSteelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Reckoners #1
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on September 24th 2013
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA
Source: Random House Children's Books
Buy on Amazon

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 Steelheartโ€”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 planningโ€”and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

This book = insanity!

This will prove my living under a rock, but I had not heard of this author before I went to Book Expo and got told all about his awesome status, and let me tell you, the praise is not unwarranted! Steelheart does not hold back; it’s an edge-of-your-seat read with an intensity that requires you to put the book down regularly just so you can take a breather!

There are book beginnings… then there are Sanderson beginnings; the prologue is all it took to make me fall in love with this book. Already, my heart was pounding, I was left gasping, and my knuckles were white from clutching the book. Sanderson’s writing brought me thoroughly and completely in David’s world – a very dark, merciless world – and in it I stayed until the last page was turned! My advice to you: buckle up, because it’s a wild, turbulent ride!

In David’s world, the Epics – humans with extraordinary powers – have taken over. You must abide by their rules to survive and then hope you go unnoticed. This may not sound like anything new – your average comic book premise, even – but the creativity is in the details. The world building does not falter; with every turn of a page the world comes alive with devastatingly grim, yet strangely picturesque, details. Sanderson paints this cinematic picture of a world corrupted by power. Each new Epic introduced is more fascinating than the last, not to mention terrifying. The various powers that range from death by command, to illusionists, to controlling daylight, coupled with the concept of weaknesses, are imaginative and utterly compelling. Much like Calamity which remains the enigma behind it all, yet to be explored but full of promise. This all results in an unpredictable plot with no limits or hesitations. Not once did I know what was coming next, though I learned quickly to not let myself relax for even a second.

Now let’s meet the characters. We have a protagonist who’s dedicated his life to learning about the Epics, his knowledge on the matter turns him into a capable and intelligent character. His awkwardness around a certain girl and his terrible analogies offer some comic relief to the story’s borderline unbearable tension while carving him into a flawed, easily relatable character. He soon teams up with the Reckoners, a group who is fighting back against the Epics. Each member of this team brings forth a memorable personality, and a few have an air of mystery that will make you constantly question everything about their character. The powerhouse in this book, however, is none other than Steelheart himself. He makes his presence known during the first few pages, paralyzing us with his sheer power, ruthlessness, and invincibility. Most of the plot – especially its mystery – is spent on figuring out what exactly could lead to his defeat, but finding this weakness feels like an insurmountable challenge. My imagination was running rampant with infinite theories and possibilities that made it all the more riveting. Even though I was on the right track, I found myself reveling in the brilliance that was this ending! Besides, this book is so wildly action packed with wicked fight scenes that are so vicious and intense, that you won’t care to spend much time predicting anything at all, let alone achieve success with idle guesses.

Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy of this book! Steelheart is a spectacular read that’s impossible to put down; sit comfortably, take a (deep) breath, now get ready to be up all night!


5 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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34 Responses to “Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson”

  1. Lynn K.

    *Waves* A newly initiated Sanderson fan here too! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Giselle, you’re making me want SO MANY books in September. Vicious, Coldest Girl, Antigoddess and now this? >__< Very glad this book doesn't disappoint! After the awesomeness that was the Mistborn trilogy, with it's fantastic world building, great characters and mind twisty plot, I'm so looking forward to reading his backlogs and upcoming works!

  2. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I love it when the prologue is enough to make you fall in love ๐Ÿ˜€ I have a book from Sanderson, but I haven’t got the time to pick it up. From the characters to the world-building, I’m already hooked to the story. I can’t wait! Awesome review ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Mary @ BookSwarm

    This one’s definitely a story of power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely! I’ve only just started it but am definitely less than willing to put it down except when I have to. Great worldbuilding, too!

  4. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    Ahh omg I haven’t read a single Brandon Sanderson book, either, but I got a copy of Steelheart from BEA signed that I gave to a friend, but I’m thinking I’m going to need to try this book out soon and buy it somewhere. The world-building sounds so fantastic, and it’s been a while since I’ve read truly strong world-building and such a dark world. Also, plots that are intense are always a plus!

    Fantastic review, Giselle! <33 I'm so happy you loved this one!

  5. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Ah! I’ve been waiting for this book since forever now, so I’m so glad to hear that it lived up to your expectations. I haven’t read anything by Sanderson yet either, but I’m very much looking forward to reading Steelheart. The world-building sounds creative and very complex. I need to meet these Epics! They sound terrible, but at the same time quite cool!
    Lovely review, Giselle!

  6. Micheline (Lunar Rainbows)

    Weeeeee, I can’t tell you how pumped I am that you LOVED THIS ๐Ÿ˜€ Sanderson is probably the best storyteller, world-builder and character creator alive today! I have this one coming up but seeing how a non-fantasy freak (you, as opposed to me) was blown away? Well, I want to read this one even worse now >.<

    EPIC review G!! I hope that if you ever do start reading some high-fantasy you'll check out Mistborn because he makes world-building brilliant in any genre and not at all draggy and boring like some other H-F I know you've tried hehe

  7. P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    I have so much love for this book. That prologue was freaking insane. I’ll probably be reading a lot more from him because I loved every part of Steelheart. I can totally see this book becoming a movie. And the premise was so great… I’ll stop myself from raving too much about it! Great review and I’m glad you enjoyed it too!

  8. Blythe Harris

    I am REALLY excited to get back to this one. I read the first few chapters when I was in my slump, and they were really awesome. SUPERHEROES! And the dude freaking turned a baby to ASH. AH! I’m so happy to hear that the rest of the book is just as awesome as the beginning.

  9. Christianna

    I didn’t realize that this book was so superhero orientated! I’m a HUGE superhero junky and so I know that I need to get my hands on this one ASAP! Great review that made me wanna go out and by this one right now! I just might have to!

  10. Candace

    I have had this author recommended to me, but I think it’s your review that may push me to actually read one! At least THIS one cause now it sounds like a MUST read!

  11. fishgirl182 @ nite lite

    Wow – 5 stars. That’s awesome. I have heard of Sanderson but hadn’t had a chance to read any of his books yet. But I managed to snag this at Comic Con and am very excited. So glad that you liked it. I don’t know the last time a book has left me breathless but I hope this one does. Thanks for the review!

  12. Alise

    Can’t say I blame you, the author is new to me as well! I love that it hooked you right from the prologue and kept that up, I don’t have a lot of patience for slow books so the pacing in this sounds great and the unpredictability is a just bonus!

  13. Lori

    I didn’t really know anything about this book until reading this review but now I can’t wait to read it! I downloaded an audio sampler of the first five chapters just a few days ago without knowing anything and now I’m really excited. Also, I love that cover. I’m going to go look up Brandon Sanderson now!

  14. Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

    You know how sometimes you just see the cover and synopsis of a book and you just know? You just somehow KNOW that no matter what it’s going to be amazing. That’s how I feel about this book. This is the first review I’m reading about it and I’m practically jumping out of my chair! I’m so glad it was good. I can’t wait to go buy a copy!! You’ve got me so excited!

  15. ShootingStarsMag

    I don’t think I’d heard of this author until I came across this book either. I really really want to check it out now though! I thought the summary sounded great, but your review just has me even more pumped.

  16. Celine

    Ohh, this sounds as though I NEED this one now! I’d heard of it before, but now all the 5-star reviews are coming in and I’m EXCITED! Thanks for the review, it convinced m that I really do need this ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Pili

    Well I must be living under a rock too cause I had never heard about this author before either, and this book I’ve just recently seen popping out on some of my fellow bloggers GR stream, but you review really made me want to get my hands on it!
    Thanks for a great review!

  18. kay

    I absolutely love Sanderson and I was so psyched when I heard he would be publishing a series for YA! I am so happy to read you really enjoyed it; this makes me all the more excited for this book! I can’t wait to read it too!

  19. Vivian

    Oh, I do love a good Post-apoc tale and this one sounds awesome! I’m starting to think we have similar tastes in books so I might wanna give this one a try. I haven’t heard of the author or book either, but I am intrigued. Great review!

  20. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I’ve only recently heard of Sanderson myself, and I plan on reading one of his books soon! This sounds a little superhero-ish to me, which isn’t necessarily my favorite thing, but maybe it could be if I find the right story? I like the idea of Epics and Reckoners. And Steelheart sounds like a fascinating character. Lovely review!

  21. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    See, the sad thing is that I was one of those people telling you how his books are the best, and this one is my least favorite so far. But, what that means is that if you love this, you should see him on a good day. It’s INTENSE.

    Looks like the characters worked for you much better than they did for me. They were like trying too hard and not enough all at the same time for me.

    That said, I’m glad you loved it. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have insanely high expectations.