First 60% of the book: 3 stars.
Last 40% of the book: HOLY CALAMITY 5 steel stars.
Steelheart was one of my most-anticipated books of 2013 for two reasons:
1) The plot sounded fascinating. It's almost as if in an alternate universe, the Justice League went rouge. The possibilities were endless for a story with this high calibre of an idea.
2) I have never read a Sanderson. I know, I know. You're probably thinking: You visit the fantasy section at your local book store upon every visit and you've never picked up a Sanderson?! How could you even call yourself a fantasy fan??Believe me, I gaze at the Sanderson flock every goddamn time,but I'm doing it for all the wrong reasons. I'm doing it so I can a) make my sister feel sympathetic about my obsession with fantasy books and maybe she'll get me the Misborn trilogy series for Christmas. And b) to check out the cute boys who browse the sci-fi/fantasy area of the store.
Please don't judge me. I promise you I am a decent person. Come on, I actually bought a Sanderson this time! Wait, why are you moving your mouse to the little "x"? Please don't close this tab. I am actually going to review a Sanderson book! A Sanderson-Virgin I am no more.
Okay, okay. Here we go.
So why did I give this book 4 stars? Here is where Steelheartwent wrong.......Actually, no. Let's start this off on a positive note.
This is what drew me into the story:
1) The Legend of Korra feel to the story. Newcago (Chicago post-Steelheart's takeover) is reminiscent of Republic City from The Legend of Korra. It is a funny time in human history, where the old meets the new, where advance technology meets rudimentary set-up. The story had classic car chases, abandoned buildings, and my favourite, run-down underground living spaces. You know, shady happenings and exchanges that I won't mention here. Steelheart contained lots of these flakes of history that I just gobbled up. I felt like I was being transported back to The Great Depression. But like I mentioned earlier, it also had aspects of science-fiction: weapons which would give any physicist/engineer a heart attack, mobiles that would run Apple out of town, and oh, sweet sweet rides (Hey, wanna take a ride on my gravtonic motorcycle? No sexual innuendos intended.)
This is what kept me reading:
2) Tia. My God was Tia ever amazing. If you read my review ofRick Yancey's The 5th Wave, I wrote about my definition of a "strong female character." And basically Tia was her. Tia was smart, caring, and a hell of a good hacker. She didn't wield a riffle in one hand and a pistol in the other. She never went all Fast and Furious on her enemies. She wasn't Megan. So who was she? She was incredibly resourceful, quick-thinking, understanding, and humorous. She knew how to smooth out wrinkles within the team, and tear fabric outside the team. She was essentially the Seamstress of the team. And of course, if I am to fangirl over Tia, the man who created her deserves some props. Brandon, thank you. For once, the scholar of the team wasn't a "fidgety, geeky, tech-savy boy." She was described as a middle-aged, red headed woman who was always impeccably dressed and obsessed with cola. Helloooo? Basically she is a fashionably hip, hyper-active, wise owl. Best. Combo. Ever.
This is what made me fall in love with this book:
3) Oh that freaking suspense! That dramatic irony! I've seen many reviewers praise this book for its high quality action scenes, its fabulous character developments, or for its plot twist. I'll be honest, I saw that plot twist coming about 60% in. But surprisingly, that's where things began to pick up. The thing is, now that I saw the general direction this story was taking, I was anticipating for the moment where this plot twist will be revealed. This is precisely why dramatic irony works so well. When the readers are let in on that secret, they get that gut-wrenching feeling, that giddiness of knowing something others don't. That anticipation for the reveal. That's what drove this book home for me. I was entranced for the rest of the book. Sanderson, you cruel.
So what was wrong with the beginning? I actually hate myself right now because I have to mention the flaws in this book when clearly I had loved it so much. But bare with me, this will be quick.
1) Too much of a Megan-David dance. I get where Sanderson is coming from. He is trying to avoid the plague: insta-love. Again, props to Sanderson for knowing his readers, but I really wanted to focus more on the epics, their power and their cruelty. I wanted this book to make me hate epics as well. Though Fortuity was a nice touch at the beginning, I really wanted to feel disgusted with all of the epics. I wanted more too see more Cersei, more Petyr Baelish, more Walder Frey. I wanted to hate Steelheart as much as David did but I didn't. Steelheart was the enemy simply because people told me he was; people told me he was evil and cruel and merciless, and I went along with it. But I didn't feel like. I kind of wish Brandon Sanderson had unleashed his wraith on the citizens of Newcago.
Did I mention I am a decent person?