After all my writing friends finally convinced me that I needed a blog I set about thinking of what I wanted to write about. Instead of the seemingly obligitory hello world post, I decided that a better use of your time and mine would be a book review. I chose Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.
First let me say that I'm a big fan of Brandon's. His characters are engaging, his magic systems are unique, and his settings have very dystopian overtones which I dig. Steelheart is no different. It's set in a future world where powerful super villans known as 'epics' have taken control of the former United States, dividing it into small monarchy's headed by whichever epic has the power to hold the area.
The story takes place in Chicago, renamed Newcago, (not sure if this is how Brandon spells it since I listened to the audio book) and follows a young man named David who joins 'The Reckoners,' the last remaining group of human freedom fighters. The group decides to target Steelheart, the god-like emperor of Newcago.
What I liked
The story was interesting, the dialogue snappy, and wryly humorous, and the characters were engaging. As usual for Sanderson novels, the magic system was very cool and unique. In this case the powers of the epics were more unique than the typical comic book style characters which was refreshing for an old comic geek like me.
What I didn't like
For fans of Sanderson, of which I am one the story line felt familiar. Almost too familiar. If you've read the Mistborn series (one of my favorites of all time) you'll instantly draw parallels between the two stories. God-like, seemingly invincible tyrant rules over dystopic kingdom. Small group of unlikely heros commit themselves to hopeless battle against said ruler with no clear way of defeating him. Unlikely heros work at plan, execute, and manage to succeed at the impossible. To me it felt pretty formulaic in this way.
Overall it's a great read, with really funny moments and great action. I would recommend it for fans of dystopian fiction as well as especially if you love dystopian or comic books. I give it four stars, knocking one off due to the close familiarity between Steelheart and some of Sanderson's previous works.