Love this book. Absolutely love it. Brandon Sanderson has made a name for himself as one of the major voices in fantasy fiction, but it’s in his YA works that you’ll find the most originality and best storytelling. The only exception I’ll make to that are his collaborations with the late Robert Jordan.
Sanderson’s fans will notice some fairly blatant similarities to his earlier Mistborn series, such things as the perpetual darkness and the evil overlord already in command. Not that this is unique to Sanderson–Star Wars used the same template. The characters set this story apart, along with the firm, solid plotting Sanderson constructs. 18-year-old David is fully fleshed out. We understand what motivates him, and it’s a joy to see him mature to the point where he questions it. The surrounding cast is equally good, Cody, Prof, and Abraham, each holding his own while remaining uniquely individual.
The women are just as good, though Megan is, if anything, a little too stereotypical. She’s the beautiful, out of David’s league girl he nevertheless sets his sights on. Not that she’s a bad character. Far from it. It’s just that the situation, with her as David’s potential love interest–is less original than everything else about the story.
Mr. Sanderson wastes nothing in telling this tale, using each chapter to plant seeds-very subtle ones at times–that come together brilliantly in the book’s final act. The Epics are something special. At first blush, the seem like any other comic book super-being. They’re not. Sanderson twists them in devilish ways and makes them wondrous and villainous at the same time. Of particular note are the fantastic names they give themselves. In one sentence, Sanderson shows how silly such things can be when he notes one particular Epic’s self-designation. And it’s hilarious.
Steelheart is a great read by a great voice. The next book is due out by the end of 2014. I can’t wait!