Monday, 11 August 2014

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.

Hey Guys!
Sorry for the short break from reviews, Amy and I have been busy with sorting out University stuffs.

But never fear! I have returned with a review for you all! :)

Today I’m going to review another Brandon Sanderson book; now as you may have noticed I am quite the Brandon Sanderson fan with my last couple of reviews being about his mistborn series.
This time I am reviewing ‘SteelHeart’.

Here’s part of the Goodreads description to get you interested:

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 friends of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.
Okay, on with the review:
I was drawn into reading this book by the cover art, which is beautiful if I say so myself, and I also read the prologue of the book on Amazon.
As soon as I read the prologue, I knew that this book would be awesome; the few characters that were introduced gave me a subtle overview on how this story would run.

The story is based around a character called David who is out to seek revenge on an Epic called Steelheart, as Steelheart murdered his father.

So, first lets discuss Epics!
Epics are basically super-powered people, bearing in mind the Epics began as average human beings and got transformed by a an occurrence called 'Calamity', they distinguish themselves as a separate race to humans and do not care if they kill their own kind or humans when fighting.

The thing I love about 'Epics' is the sheer simplicity of the idea; I mean yes, the Epics are based off of mutants, but Brandon Sanderson manipulates and contorts these visualisations and creates a new breed of super-powered beings.

Now, we are all used to the super-hero/villain stories that have come out over the years; the good guys defeat the bad guys and everything is back to be being perfect.
But within this story it shows that no epic is good, no epic will save the day. This, I thought, is a great idea.

Another thing that I found really intelligent about Mr Sanderson's writing was the fact the Epics went for names, which were simplified towards their power.
For example: Deathpoint, he is the first Epic which you come across in the book and his power happens to be; he points at things and they will die, hence the name Deathpoint! Genius right? :P
Another Epic is Nightwielder, Nightwielders power is to harness the shadows and use them as a weapon, and he can also control the cycle of night. Nightwielder can also become incorporeal, allowing him to move through solid matter. 

But the thing that topped it off for me was the weaknesses for some Epics. This was possibly the most clever and abstract thing that I have ever read from a book.
Epics do not like having their weakness figured out so they will hide it from any person whether they are Humankind or Epic.
Mostly in super-hero/villain comics/books, the mutant has a weakness to something such as Superman to red/green Kryptonite.
Well, in Steelheart, practically anything can be a weakness, some Epics cannot stare at symbols without becoming vulnerable, they cannot touch an element without becoming weak, etc.

There was only one weakness that did bug me though. That was Fortuity's weakness.
Fortuity's weakness was that whenever he met a really beautiful woman, he would lose his powers and become slightly mortal.
It didn't annoy me for the fact it is a man 'losing it' over a woman, but it is basically the reversal of Wonder Woman's weakness.

For those who don't know, Wonder Woman loses her powers when her braces are shackled, but the effects can only kick in when a man shackles her braces.

Slightest hint of reversal here, but not enough to suck the originality from Mr Sanderson’s writings...

Now onto characters!
The first character we meet, who is also the main character, is David.
We first meet David when he was a young boy; this is when Steelheart murders his father, causing David to plot his revenge over the next ten years.
We then re-meet eighteen/nineteen year old David, an orphan who has devoted his life to finding information out about the Epics, most of his intent is to study them but he has mostly used his informational studies to discover what Steelheart's weakness is.

Now, I didn't like David at the beginning, (His 18/19 year old self) I thought of him as a fool-hardy, know it all kind of guy; but once you start getting further into the book, you realise he was just trying to compensate for the fact all of his life was devoted to one thing and that he never tried to divert his emotions or fascinations away from the Epics.
He also brought a sense of humour in the book, as per usual when he says a metaphor. For example 'A gorilla at a buffet'... you'll understand if you read the book, but some of these actually made me laugh quite a-bit.

The next characters we are faced with are a rebellious group called 'The Reckoners'.
They are a small organisation that has many pockets of soldiers across the world fighting against the Epics.
The small group that the book focuses on is made up of Abraham, Cody, Megan, Tia and Prof.

The group as a whole were perfect; they had great character developments and great individual personalities to soften the group’s hard-edged persona.
Especially the Scott’s-man Cody, having Scottish friends and relatives allowed me to pick up on the slight senses of humour, but mostly all of the conversations, whether they are between Cody and Prof or Tia and Abraham, whoever it is speaking will leave you with a smile on your face.

The hardest part to speak about are the main Epics in this story, the initial story mainly focuses on four higher-up Epics: Steelheart, Conflux, Firefight and Nightwielder.
To not give any spoiler plots away or anything like that, I'm just going to mention Steelheart.

Steelheart is a tyrannical man. In the prologue he appears to be some sort of superhero, fighting off Deathpoint the supposed super-villain, but then Steelheart says 'You all belong to me!’ 
It's at this point you realise he's just another villain, an Epic looking to rule over a city.

The only problem I had with Steelheart himself, was that he reminded me too much of Superman.
I mean sure Superman's a good guy, Steelheart's evil; anyone can tell that difference.
But the similarities are quite distinct, here’s a small list of what they can both do.
  • Can fly
  • Can shoot lasers from his eyes
  • Is invincible to any weaponised object
  • Has short jet-black hair
  • Has a strong jaw-line
  • Is immensely muscular
  • Has a Cape.
  • Can fly.
  • Can shoot lasers blasts from his hands
  • Is invincible to any weaponised object.
  • Has jet-black hair (which is of a longer length further in the story, but it is short in the prologue)
  • Has a strong jaw-line.
  • Is immensely muscular.
  • Has a cape.
You see where I'm going here?
The main difference is that Superman is allergic to Kryptonite and that Steelheart can transform matter into steel when he is enraged. (And that Supermans from Outer-space, whilst Steelheart is from Earth) Though, there probably are alot more differences if you put more thought into an in-depth analysis of both characters.
Never the less though, I thoroughly enjoyed Steelhearts character.
And who-knows, this whole 'Superman' thing could all just be in my head as there is a lot of circulation in the comic book/film world about the new Superman Vs Batman film, so that could be why.

Overall, I loved this book. The world was created amazingly, the characters were put together and developed brilliantly, and the idea was a great adaption to normal everyday super-power stories. All of it fit perfectly and allowed for a smooth crossover into the next book.

As I said at the top of the review page, I am quite the fan of Brandon Sanderson’s work and this was by far one of his best pieces! The overall action and tenseness of the book just captivated me; I literally could not put this book down… I read it within a 3 day sitting… yeah; I have a lot of spare time.
It is also the first in the series, so this means that when the next book comes out, I will have another amounted lot of spare time...
I definatly recommend reading this book, whether you love Brandon Sanderson’s work or if you love superhero stuff or fantasy/Sci-Fi/Dystopian stuffs, check this book out! :)

Thank you for reading this review.

Joe! :D


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