Tag Archives: Brandon Sanderson

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson
Delacorte Press
Published September 24, 2013

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About Steelheart

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

My Review

The thing that drew me most to this story was the concept of it. Humans begin to have superpowers, but all of them become evil. How do ordinary humans fight back? It’s a great underdog, keep the hope in hopeless circumstances kind of tale, and I really liked those things about it.

The only thing that tripped me up at all were the characters. Several of the male characters have accents and interesting backstories. (One was kind of odd, but okay.) There are only two speaking female characters in the whole story, and I don’t think we learn much if anything at all about their backstories. They are beautiful but a bit flat.

On the whole, though, I enjoyed reading STEELHEART. I got it years ago as an audiobook to listen to on a road trip, but never actually listened to it until recently. It’s the first book by Sanderson that I’ve ever read.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Major characters are white.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently. More often, faux swears like calamity and sparks are used.

Romance/Sexual Content
David clearly has feelings for a girl on his team.

Spiritual Content
Some Epics style themselves as gods, demanding service.

Violent Content
In the opening of the story, an Epic uses his power to turn workers, customers, and a baby in a bank to ash and bones. There are other scenes of battle between the Epics and David and his allies.

Drug Content

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Review: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1)
Brandon Sanderson
Tor Teen
Published on May 13th, 2013

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About The Rithmatist

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

My Review

I devoured this book. It has been a long while since I’ve read a book that fast, and it felt good. I loved the entire plot, the amazing world-building, the fantastic characters….I could go on and on. This book is definitely worthy of its five star rating.

The plot was thrilling. As an artist, the idea of chalk drawings coming to life was very intriguing, and it was exciting to see how Sanderson spun out the mystery. He did an excellent job of weaving in unexpected twists and turns to keep the mystery going until the very end. My only complaint would be that the mystery was wrapped up very quickly in the end, leaving me wondering if that really was the solution, or if there was something more in store. And it ended with “To be continued,” and some unresolved loose ends. Not cool–how am I supposed to survive until the sequel comes out?

The world-building was phenomenal. It was completely unlike any other setting I’ve ever read. It was based on the premise of “what if America was actually an archipelago of islands?” It also had some other twists in history, but I’ll let you discover them for yourself. Part alternate history, part fantasy, it had a familiar feel to it while still being original. It even had touches of steampunk–er, springpunk? And the magic of the Rithmatists? It was awesome. I loved how it was based on logical principles and geometric properties. I can’t wait to read more about it in the next book. One note: the Monarchical Church in the book seems Christian in nature at first, and is classified with other Christian denominations. However, from the little tidbits that were in the book, it seems more of a religion glorifying science, along with some ritualistic aspects that could become dark very quickly. I would be wary letting younger children read this book on their own–if they do, at least discuss with them the religious views the characters hold to, and how that differs from Christianity to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.

The characters were great. Quite well-developed and life-like. My personal favorite was Melody–I loved her spunky, melodramatic personality, and all the hilarious comments she added. When I first started the book, it was a little hard to figure out whose POV it was from, but it became clearer within the first few pages. By the way, I kept wanting to call Joel “Joe” instead. Not sure why–I just thought it fit him better.

Wrap-up: This was a really fun, exciting read. It’s a blend of magical realism, alternate reality, and steampunk. I highly recommend it. Just a warning though: the explanation behind the origin of Rithmatist powers was hinted at, and it points to a rather dark theory. Some of the religious aspects, a fight scene toward the end, and the actual villain were very creepy and disturbing. Not for the weak of stomach.

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Cultural Elements
Most characters are white.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Made up curses, like “dusts,”and “dusting,” were common phrases.

Romance/Sexual Content
Mentions of dress showing quite a bit of leg, a girl being pretty, etc

Spiritual Content
The Monarchical Church in the book seems Christian in nature at first, and is classified with other Christian denominations. However, from the little tidbits that were in the book, it seems more of a religion glorifying science, along with some ritualistic aspects that could become dark very quickly.

Violent Content
Most of the attacks are off page, though the end fight scene is very creepy. The wild chalklings eat off the skin and eyes of victims. One “historical” account of a chalkling attack is pretty disturbing.

Drug Content