Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Book Review: Brandon Sanderson - Steelheart - Published by Gollancz/Delacorte Press


Brandon Sanderson has done it yet again. He has produced another book that has just blown through the cobwebs of my mind. As soon as I had read the synopsis, I felt that this book had real potential both as an individual story and a new series. That assumption stayed with me from the very first page to the last. This is an epic book (in every sense of the word) that really does deliver a packing punch.

The story starts with 8 year old David and his father, who are in a bank, trying to secure a mortgage. The author eases us gently into the story until Steelheart (the super villain) rampages through the bank in a show of dominance and force. He starts killing the workers and eventually destroys the bank by creating an earthquake that wipes it off the face of the earth. 

The story leads us through a world in chaos. A key event, known as the "Calamity", causes normal people to suddenly gain superpowers. These people, who are called Epics, are a superbly crafted 'pick and mix' bunch of super villains. They are like a mad amalgamation of your favourite DC and Marvel comic characters. They really are fantastically depicted and very well represented throughout this fantasy read. 

I particularly grew to like one of the main characters known as David. I was interested in the way that he analysed the situations that he faced. I also enjoyed the way in which he delivered a variety of metaphors really badly - I found myself chortling on a number of occasions at the air of foolishness created when he delivered these.

The last thing that I want to do is to give away the whole story in this review. However I just want to comment on a few further aspects that really enhanced the story such as the minimalistic use of dialogue. This really created just the right balance of conversation between characters which didn't give too much away or slow down the pace of the story. Equally, the language used to explain the weapons, gadgets and other Sci-fi technology was very well used and created an amazing visual picture.

This is a book that you can easily get wrapped up in - so much so that time soon rapidly disappears. The author has an amazing ability to take you from the safety of your sofa into the fantasy world within just a few sentences. Once hooked, you remain there until you finally finish the book. It's full of thoughtful and well worked out plot twists and turns. Great ideas such as a city made of steel and enforcement officers really add an interesting dimension to events.

This story is easily one of the best books that I have read this year. It will grab you and then punch you straight through into the Sci-fi fantasy world. It's filled with so much action that it will leave you breathless. Brandon is a great artist in painting an imaginable and make-believe post-apocalyptic world where anything can happen. It is one of the best starts to a new series that I have read in a very long time. I am really looking forward to the next installment, which I hope will be very very soon!

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