Brandon Sanderson: Steelheart

17182126.jpgSteelheart: The Reckoners #1
by Brandon Sanderson
narrated by MacLeod Andrews
(YA, superhero, dystopian futuristic)

This… is an interesting novel. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong. The premise for the plot is fun, and it’s a nice twist on the regular superhero genre – in this series, instead of the super-powered being good guys, or even split between good and evil, those granted super powers by Calamity turn from normal humans into evil tyrants. (Calamity isn’t very well explained in this first book, but since book 3 is titled Calamity, I’m guessing we’ll get more answers there.) That was an enjoyable plot development.

However, I wasn’t as enthralled with the rest of the book. Parts of it, yes. I enjoyed the final battle, and most of the action scenes in the middle section of the book. The parts of the book describing weaponry, though, I could have easily done without. It’s a gun. A really neat gun. I get it. And other than really minor characters, there are only two females in the book. Two. One of whom is a computer nerd and the other is the requisite Hot Babe.

So, yeah. This book has the definite impression of being written for teenage boys. Kinda in the way that the Divergent series (or at least the first two – I didn’t read the third book) gives the impression of being written for teenage girls.

Even so, it was an enjoyable read. The plot was interesting, and the twists at the end were nicely hinted at but still hidden. The narration suited the book well, but if I decide to read the sequels I probably will read paper versions for myself, since I can choose my own pacing that way. Andrews did a good job of pacing the book for the average reader, but for myself, I would rather have the ability to skim gun descriptions and get to the good stuff. That’s much harder to do when someone is reading the book to you.

Sanderson is a new author for me, and I have to say that this book didn’t win a convert. I’m not anti-Sanderson now, but neither do I have any reason to go to a bookstore and immediately buy more of his work. I think if I do read another Sanderson novel, before I pick up more of the Reckoners series I’ll try one of his epic fantasies first to see if his novels aimed at adults are more to my liking.

So: should you read it? Maybe. If you like guns and descriptions of such, all the better. And lots of action and explosions. If you want a highly diverse and well-developed cast of characters, maybe not. David (the hero of the book) is nicely developed. The rest of the cast, significantly less so. It’s worth picking up, though, if the premise interests you.

Rating: 4 stars


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