Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jax's Lightspeed Reviews: 'The Reckoners Part 1: Steelheart' by Brandon Sanderson

Welcome to Jax's Lightspeed Reviews. These are just like any other of my regular reviews, though they're much quicker to read through and write - hence the title. The review is split up into 5 pieces: The story overview, the positive elements of the book, the negative elements of the book, a final verdict, and a recommendation level.

Today's book: 'The Reckoners Part 1: Steelheart' by Brandon Sanderson

I've seen Steelheart bleed, and I WILL see him bleed again.

The Story:
     Life is modern, and it's great. Of course, with any book that starts great, something bad will happen. America is struck by a natural disaster known as 'Calamity', which causes random people around the world to gain a variety of superpowers, thus turning those people into 'Epics'. Unlike your typical Marvel or DC story, though, these powers corrupt the souls of those who are blessed by them, and soon the Epics wreak havoc on the world, causing an apocalypse. The most high of all Epics is Steelheart, who rules Chicago (now called Newcago, for some reason) with an iron fist.
     For any story featuring villains, there needs to be a hero to combat such a being, and that character is David - haha, how ironic. As a young child, David's father was murdered by Steelheart, so he does the usual 'high-and-pompous' thing among heroes and vows revenge against Steelheart. As he grows up, David learns as much as he can about Epics and their weaknesses, hoping that he can one day get rid of Steelheart for good. Along the way, David meets up with The Reckoners, a group of rogues who fight Epics for a living. David joins up the Reckoners in an attempt finally kill Steelheart.

The Good:
     The Reckoners may be another Post-Apocalyptic book, but it is a good one indeed. The story is suspenseful from start to finish, with many plot twists within - and unlike last month's book, they're actually done very well. I obviously won't spoil them here, though. David isn't like other heroes in Apocalypse stories, where he tries to be this big darn hero: Instead, he has a very goofy personality that clashes well with the rest of his Reckoner partners. The other Reckoners also play well as 'mentor' figures to David, which leads to some strong character development on David's part.
     Steelheart is written from the narrative of David instead of the author, which seems to work best for this genre. When you here all the details from the characters themselves, you're given a better idea of exactly what's going on. I wish this style was used more frequently, though I guess I can't be one to judge because I haven't read too many Apocalypse-themed books. David also provides enough commentary to give you a perfect picture of what's happening in the story, but he leaves enough details out so you can interpret the story's tiniest details to how you see fit: Whether or not you think David is ruggedly-handsome is up to you.

The Bad:
     I mentioned earlier that David provides a realistic sense of humor to the story. Does it work throughout the entire story, though? Nope. One of David's many defining traits is that he can't come up with good metaphors. Trust me, it really isn't as hysterical as it sounds. In most cases, this is used as the defining 'awkward' trait for him, which gets tiring after the second or third time you read it. It's a little detail, but it can occur upwards to five times within a chapter.
     You know what else I don't like about this book? The beginning. The book starts with an incredibly satisfying Prologue - which I have to say might be one of the best ways to introduce any book (READ IT), - but once that passes, you're left with a couple filler chapters before the intensity starts up again. Again, I'm mentioning this as a warning rather than as an insult to the book.

     Steelheart does many things right that other Post-Apocalyptic stories have failed at: it takes the usual 'Super-powered Heroes VS Ingenious Villains' tale, swaps the roles around, and mixes in some other genres to boot. The tale is long, and has a couple speed bumps along the way where the story stops to relay useless backstories, but if you can tolerate a thick tale now and then, you'll find a lot to like with Steelheart and the rest of the 'Reckoners' franchise.

Recommendation: Above average (Read it as soon as you can!)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March Cosplay Contest!

Our second annual Cosplay Contest was Saturday and we had some EXCELLENT entries this year:

They did a great job! And our two winners (Stephanie and Mariana) are going to C2E2!

A photo posted by @lcplibrary on