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Curmudgeon Reviews: Steelheart

Steelheart (Reckoners Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson

A review written by Sanford Begley

steelheartI think I owe Brandon Sanderson an apology, though I’ve never met him. I have avoided his books like the plague because in my opinion he couldn’t write an ending. I am happy to be proven wrong. This is the first book of his that I have read that felt like it ended. Oh, not all the loose ends were tied up, and he definitely left some serious hooks for the next book in the series. Still this one felt like he completed it.

The plot takes its shape from superhero comic books and then asks a good question: if people did develop superpowers why would they behave like Boy Scouts? The other question he raises is a natural outgrowth of that. Would normal people oppose them or bow down and serve? I like his treatment of these ideas, he manages to do some serious philosophising while telling a light airy story.

His villains are called Epics, not supers and are appropriately evil on a sliding scale. Some are pure evil for the sake of evil, some are evil because they are scared. Religion in this world is mostly whether you believe a Superman will arise to combat the Epics. The story in this book seems to say no, maybe. There is a lot of camp in some parts of the story, but it is good camp. The villains, though seen as evil by the protagonist, are a mixed bag, some evil, some weak. The heroes are flawed but rise above their flaws to do their best.

I look forward to seeing what direction the next book takes. Isn’t that the reason to do a series instead of a stand alone? I expect humor and pathos from the sequel. Life, death. success and failure. For isn’t that what makes heroes and villains? Their successes and failures and what they do with them.

Final verdict. A good solid read that I enjoyed. Not a great book, but definitely worth the time and effort.

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