After falling in love with Brandon Sanderson’s work (okay, so I’m late on the train) with The Rithmatist, I was super keen to jump onto a series of his. Mistborn has been pretty elusive in the library thus far, so I started on Steelheart.
And, well, yes, I enjoyed it. I liked The Rithmatist more, but this was an enjoyable read.
Contains spoilers, duh.
We see the story through David, an orphaned teenager, and we are immediately dumped into action — seeing his father murdered and his world devastated by the titular character — who turns out to be the villain. That certainly caught me by surprise. Although we’ve had little time to bond with David and thus seeing his father killed actually meant little to me emotionally, feeling his terror and helplessness at such a young age (and also not being an Epic) was oddly tragic.
The story was intriguing despite David coming across as a little dull at first because of his fixation on Steelheart. Sanderson makes his characters clever, able to think outside the box, yet with all the innocence and tenacity of youth. Getting into David’s flat without being killed, finding Refractionary, pretending to be Diamond’s aide, confirming Nightwielder’s weakness — so clever. David has his annoying tendencies — being just that little bit overly enthusiastic and having terrible, nonsensical analogies — but his improvisation and ideas are quite ingenious and I love how unpredictable he is.
I was a bit lost and irritated by all the Nouns though. Epic. Calamity. Steelheart. Deathpoint. Faultline. Nightwielder. Annexation. Reminds me of Game of Thrones where everyone and everything is a Noun of Noun. Thankfully this wasn’t a recurring theme and those initial new terms settled.
A few areas were more predictable, however. Megan’s significance was quite obvious from the start. I liked all the peculiarities that stuck out, raising questions to pique interest, but that was also somewhat predictable. The harmsway not working on her, the oscillating warmth and apathy, the lift shaft cover. She was an Epic. I saw that twist coming from a mile away.
However, getting Steelheart to kill himself? Figuring out his weakness at the last minute? Genius. Prof being an Epic too? Did not expect that. What an awesome twist straight after the climax. Megan reincarnating? Also unexpected.
Overall, Steelheart is action-packed and exceedingly clever, although quite dry on the descriptive front, but then again it was a city of steel and darkness so I guess it can be justified. I like seeing stories being painted before my eyes, rather than just see the outlines of the characters being propelled about by special abilities.
Look forward to reading Firefight.
Verdict: 4 stars. Clever and entertaining.