Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review of Brandon Sanderson's "SteelHeart"

            In the past I have been focusing on mostly self-published teen superhero novels and recounting them in a very structured way. In truth, structure bores me, so as start of my renaissance into reviews of mainstream novels, I’d like to be more conversational and less robotic in my approach. Comprende?

            “ I’ve seen Steelheart bleed.” Spoiler alert! That is the opening line to Steelheart, the superhero fantasy concocted by Brandon Sanderson. Steelheart is an Epic, able to Midas touch anything inorganic into steel. But Steelheart is no benevolent ruler, in fact all Epics are evil, a side effect of their amazing abilities. This line in such few words, and maybe with some prior knowledge, let’s me know that David, the protagonist, has seen a man who essentially a God among men show his humanity, and if David doesn’t use every ounce of his strength to see this overlord dead, then the author has failed to produce a novel worthy of it’s premise.
            What I am saying with that convoluted sentence is David is the chosen, this novel is a Hero’s Journey and we know he will kill Voldemort in the end, drop the ring in the fire of Mount Doom, bring balance to the force. So why read this book if the first line gives away the whole story? I can say everything that first line neglected to inform me, the characters, location, and the imagination managed to enthrall me.
            If I could pick out one thing that amazed me, it would be the twist. Not like an “ I see dead people twist,” where the revelation changes the reality of the entire story, but the tidbit of hidden information that is hinted at throughout the story and then revealed. All the connections come together and there’s that moment of “Aww, I should have seen that coming.” This book managed to fool me on 1 of 2 accounts.
            One objection I had was that most of the characters didn’t resonate enough with me. They felt like cogs in the plot, given a quirk. David makes terrible metaphors, Abraham has a slight French accent, Cody is eccentric about his heritage, Tia likes soda. I’d like to see the kind of humanity in them that David saw in Steelheart.

            This one goes on my shelf.