Review of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart (Reckoners #1)
By: Brandon Sanderson
Release Date: September 24th 2013
Publisher: Delacorte
Pre-order:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Thank you Stephanie (Inspiring Insomnia) for letting me borrow your copy!

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
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 wills.

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.

The Story:
Steelheart is the first Brandon Sanderson book I’ve read. I’ve heard everyone singing his praises and after reading this I can see why. This book was fast paced (though I did struggle just a tiny bit a third in due to a reading slump) well written and action packed.  I absolutely loved Sanderson’s take on people with enhanced abilities and the ways that being ‘epic’ might just make those gifted lose their humanity. The beginning line, “I’ve seen Steelheart bleed” was so powerful and central to the entire story. I loved how Sanderson was able to transport me to the bank and seeing everything through David’s ten year old eyes.

There is a trend lately of showing the point of view of the villain or focusing more on those that could be heroes doing more for dark than good. Sanderson incorporated this idea by showing what would happen if all our traditionally thought of ‘heroes’ were actually evil and concerned more with themselves than the good of man. Super strength, invincibility, flight, teleportation–all of  these powers would be terrifying in the hands of the wrong people. What would it be like to live under the rule of only villains with no heroes to swoop in and save the day?

The world and landscape Sanderson described seemed plausible and incredibly interesting. He was able to draw in details and really give an unforgettable impression of a city under the strict rule of a dictator and people doing anything to stay alive. We only venture into Steelheart’s city but references are made of worse places where there is absolutely no order. I think we’ll see more about them in later books.

The Characters:
Seeing the first scene through David’s young eyes immediately had me rooting for him and immersed in his story and life. The side characters were interesting especially the details of the Epics and their powers. I hope we get to learn more about them in more detail.

There is a small glimmer of romance, only shown in vague interest between David and a Reckoner. This book focused on the action and the bigger themes on a person’s humanity and what it means to stand up for more or try to just get by.

The Reckoners were very well drawn out and I could picture them and their headquarters vividly. I wished I could have connected a bit more with the members of the team.

Final Thoughts:
Sanderson created an action packed and beautifully crafted book. The writing is seamless and the action vividly drawn out. The only problem I had was in connecting with the secondary characters though they did seem to be well rounded I just never got attached to them. I look forward to more from this series and will be picking up more of Sanderson’s books.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson will be available September 24th 2013 by Delacorte

Review of Find Me by Romily Bernard

Find MeFind Me
By: Romily Bernard
Release Date: September 24th 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pre-Order:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

An electronic copy was given in exchange for an honest review

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
“Find Me.” These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found…dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target. Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick.
Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.
But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

The Story:
Bernard knows how to write suspense. Her scenes of struggle and escape were intense and vivid yet the description did not bog down the action. I was really impressed with her ability to convey fear and tension.

That being said I did have a few problems with this book. For the first part there was some computer jargon and time spent that I could have done with out personally but was essential to building up Wick’s character and her skills as a hacker. I found many aspects incredibly creepy and creative but I was pretty confident in who the bad guy was really early on. I hoped I was wrong, but I wasn’t. I think I could have enjoyed the experience more if it wasn’t so obvious to me where Bernard was taking the story.

The Characters:
Wicket was a strong character and I appreciated her struggles though I constantly wished she would confide with the authorities. I would not have made the same decisions as she did, but of course she had a very difficult life and I found it nearly impossible to really see things from her point of view.

As I stated above, I knew who the bad and good characters were very early, so I  was frustrated when Wick didn’t see what I saw. But, often times, that adds to the suspense–think horror film where you are screaming for the heroine to run. This was the case in Find Me, even having a pretty clear idea who was to blame I was still captivated in Wick’s search.

Final Thoughts:
Overall Find Me was well written; Bernard excelling at creating a suspenseful atmosphere. My biggest disappointment in the book was the ease in which I could see the outcome (early on) and my inability to connect with the main character or her relationships.