Series: Reckoners #1
Published by: Gollancz
ISBN 13: 9780575103993
Published: October 2013
Format reviewed: Paperback
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Three & ½ out of Five
Related Reviews: Firefight (Reckoners #2)
‘Steelheart’ by Brandon Sanderson is the first in the science-fantasy Reckoners series, with the second, ‘Firefight’ due to come out later in 2014, with the third book ‘Calamity’ due in 2015. There is also a short (35 pages) called ‘Mitosis’ which is set between the first and second book, which has a limited release so far.
I shall admit that it took me a while to get into Steelheart – I started it on holiday but it didn’t hold my interest somehow, I think the way the main character spoke (slightly distanced from others due to the state of the world where there is a great sense of distrust and a hard upbringing) kept me in turn slightly distanced from the novel.
Once I got through the beginning I devoured the book within hours and highly encourage those who have also had trouble getting into it to persevere – like Sanderson’s other work, it’s enjoyable and engaging. Something may seem a little lacking from his work, and personally I feel it isn’t as good as Mistborn or Stormlight Archive, but this is still a pleasant read. It’s quick and easy and leaves you wanting the second book at the end, which is good enough!
The characters are varied and dependable in their role, but I wish we got to know them a little better. This is a superhero book that doesn’t side on that with the superheroes (known as Epics in this world), so other than hearing of their abilities and catching glimpses here and there, you won’t see much more of them within this novel. Though I said the novel doesn’t side with the superheroes, this doesn’t mean that the novel is about supervillains. In a way, the superheroes are both – they dominate the city and have the most control, yet they’re despicable. There aren’t any superheroes in this book, everyone is flawed, everyone has their anger and poor choices whether it be for dominance or revenge.
You see a little more about the tech in the novel, but what really interested me is the dystopian aspect, how the world has been changed and how it’s developed to cope with these changes. The people are oppressed in this book, the main character, David, being one of them. He joins a group of vigilantes who make the most of his obsessed knowledge of the Epics and together they plot to take the Epics down, a seemingly insurmountable task.
Of course there’s a bit of a love interest within this novel, as there often are, but it wasn’t dominating the plot and was only slightly annoying, so it was easy to ignore. After a certain couple in Sanderson’s Mistborn, I almost wonder what’s the point within this series, if they could never hope to compare? Thankfully, the crush remains mostly unrequited, for now.
The plot could use some work within this. Sanderson’s action scenes are always a treat and that remains constant within this novel. The plot itself however drags in the start, then dips a little again in the middle. Overall it feels a little rushed, which is no surprise when you tally how many novels Sanderson brings out each year.
Overall this book could have been so much more, but it’s still enjoyable and I’ll still be buying the next as soon as possible.
This review was originally posted at SentientOnline on the 28th February 2014.