Steelheart Review

Friday, 15 January 2016

Hello friends! I've done something I didn't expect to achieve quite so soon which is that I have managed to finish the first book from the 2016 book challenge. I read Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson which fulfilled the dystopian novel challenge.
I'm a big fan of Sanderson. His Mistborn trilogy sits as one of my favourite fantasy series and I've enjoyed his other works as well. So I was excited to give this one a go. 

Steelheart takes place in a world that has been devastated by Epics, powerful beings who have different powers granted to them by Calamity, a burst in the sky that happened ten years ago. Now the city of Newcago is ruled over by Steelheart and its citizens live underground in constant fear for their lives. David wants to change this, by joining the Reckoners (a band of rebels) and bringing down Steelheart.

It isn't the most original concept and unfortunately, the novel reveals itself to not be written all that originally either. Novels not being original shouldn't be a problem in itself. Originality is a difficult thing to come by these days. But I just wanted Steelheart to give me something more. 

The issue with the book is that the characters never came into their own. They all felt very much like cardboard cutouts. The first person narration from David was okay. He felt the like the most real character. He was naive and hopeful. However, one thing that I didn't believe and quite frankly found annoying was his many attempts to create a successful metaphor. At one point he describes something as a "brick made of porridge". I just didn't believe that someone would try so hard at creating a metaphor that worked. It just felt like a bad attempt to give the character a quirk.

The other characters I found boring. You had the typical boss figure who had 'a past'. You had the science girl, the peaceful one, the funny one and the romantic interest. They all felt far too two-dimensional. Cody was the 'funny' one and I use quotation marks here because boy was he so unfunny. He was a truly terrible character. I found most of his parts boring and it was far too evident that Sanderson wanted him to be the character that the readers loved.

As for Megan, the love interest, I just felt nothing for her. I didn't mind so much that David was attracted to her. In fact, I found it refreshing that he was open about it as opposed to plot lines wherein the protagonist realises they've been in love with them this whole time. However nothing about the character was interesting. We were only told she was interesting by David.

Moreover, the idea itself actually felt a little like a rip-off of Sanderson's own novel, The Final Empire. Both feature a world where the baddie is boss and both revolve around a rebellious groups attempt to overthrow the empire. Also, both the baddies use metal as their weapon. 

The only word that comes into my head to describe this novel was simply that it was 'fine'. It was enjoyable in places but the characters and the stories never really came off the page. I think maybe it could have benefited from being a little longer because stories like this work better when we're given smaller moments with the characters where we see them grow or relationships change. Overall though, I didn't really enjoy the book.


Thanks for reading!

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