This time, I review my first ever Brandon Sanderson book! I’ve heard so many good things & recommendations about his work, and since the Reckoners series is actually just wrapping up, I thought it might be a good time to jump on the bandwagon. Also: all the covers for all his books are GORGEOUS, holy wow. I feel like I need a display cabinet for all the covers to be on display. I definitely need to read more of his books, and the Mistborn series (amongst others) has been on my TBR for a good long while now.
As always, I consider reviews pretty spoiler-free, but my comments do go a little further into characters/general plot than a blurb would, so proceed with a little caution.
Steelheart (Reckoners #1) – Brandon Sanderson (2013)
In this first instalment of the Reckoner’s Trilogy, we meet David, a boy who lives in a world where beings with superpowers (named Epics) really do exist–but they aren’t the good guys. In fact, one of them killed his father, and David is out for revenge.
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
“Where there are villains, there will be heroes. Just wait. They will come.”
“I’ve seen Steelheart bleed.
And I will see him bleed again.”
What I liked:
- The Plot: I really enjoyed the plot, as it was another fresh take on the ‘dark superhero’ genre, which reminded me at times of Marvel’s X-Men and V.E Schwab’s Vicious. The pace was consistent throughout, and I never felt as though I could predict what was going to happen next…except for maybe one thing that I had an inkling toward, but couldn’t be certain of!
- Characters: It definitely felt as though extreme amounts of effort were taken to ensure each of the main cast were unique enough; had their own ways of talking, of treating one another and so forth. I didn’t feel a huge amount of emotional attachment to any one character, but the dynamics worked pretty well as a group.
My favourite part of the book is basically any time Cody goes on one of his made up story-tirades, as they provide a nice injection of humour and light-heartedness in between the more serious action sequences in this book.
- Themes: It’s a story about people with superpowers. And they’re evil. What more could you really want?
I did also really enjoy the sort of issues being bought up by characters in the story, including revenge, finding something to live for and the ‘everyday hero’.
- Technology: It was evident pretty early on that some real research had gone into the futuristic technology used in this novel, and it’s pretty neat how the author goes to lengths to explain and validate the uses for different tech.
What I didn’t really like:
- Character Depth: As much as there were aspects I enjoyed, I also found a few things that just really didn’t work for me as a reader. I suppose the main trouble was that since the Reckoner’s are so secretive and try not to talk about themselves, it was hard for me to really get attached to each character, and begin to understand them. It also meant at times I’d forget or mix up characters like Cody or Abraham, and (for most of the book) I just couldn’t bring myself to care about Megan too much as a protagonist.
- Plot dumping: There was a lot to be explained in this world, and I mean a LOT. At times it felt like David spent 2/3rds of his inner monologue explaining various systems or the reason behind things– down to why their mobile phones still worked underground, for example. This is probably great if you have an eye for plot holes and want everything explained, but for me I was waiting for character/plot development to become the real focus.
Personally, if you’re a fan of X-Men or slightly grittier superhero movies, have read books like Ready Player One, Vicious or anything else by Brandon Sanderson, you’re probably going to love this series. I definitely enjoyed reading and learning about the world the author was building up, but I wouldn’t say I was super blown away.
An enjoyable read for the sci-fi/dystopia lover.