Steelheart – Review by Keuyrbel Zewedu

IMG_20180705_134619_2Keuyrbel can’t get extra credit for doing another review or writing during the summer, so it’s extra awesome that he emailed me. He might be done with my class, but I’m hoping we’ll keep working together in the school’s drama department. He’s as adorable on stage as in his picture. Don’t let the smile fool you. His book taste can run darker, as his review shows. Enjoy!
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Shots. Cries. Screams. Blood. Death. At the First Union Bank, Deathpoint arrives unnamedand starts skeletonizing people in the bank, then Steelheart arrives. Steelheart stops Deathpoint and forces him to surrender his loyalty to him. Steelheart continues Deathpoint’s task: killing innocents. As Steelheart gets to the last 10, a man stands up, grabs a gun, and fires. Deathpoint is down, shot after trying to kill Steelheart. But Steelheart is bleeding on his cheek. Steelheart turns and, with anger, kills him with his own gun. A boy hides in a vault. Steelheart finishes killing the people and flies, commanding one of his servants, Faultline, to bury the vault. Faultine finds the boy in the vault and lets him go. Later, Steelheart turns most of Chicago into steel and calls it Newcago. That boy is 8-year-old boy David Charleson and that dead man was his father. Deathpoint, Steelheart, and Faultline were all Epics, humans granted superhuman powers by Calamity, a star. And Steelheart is invincible. Ten years later, at 18, David joins a group named the Reckoners committed to killing all Epics in the United States. Meeting them in Newcago, he gives them his research and convinces them to try to kill Steelheart. Because David knows Steelheart’s secret. David has seen him bleed. And he intends to see him bleeding again.
 
After reading Steelheart, you will feel amazed and still have that feeling for months. This book is truly a must-read, 10-out-of-10, amazing, suspenseful, and interesting book. I learned the importance of trust, safety, teamwork, security, and rebellion from incorrect methods. What I really like about this book is how David and the Reckoners are able to work as a team to help the United States. This series will be amazing once you read it. After this are books Firefight and Calamity. There is also a short story called Mitosis. I recommend for readers 10 and up. What are you waiting for? Stop reading my review and go read the books. There are 3 books in the Reckoner stories, plus a short story.

 

The Way of Kings – Reviewed by Alex

Alex photo

Alex, reviewer, 8th grader

The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

Way of Kings cover

The Way of Kings is a high fantasy novel that follows a large cast of characters, including artists, historians, assassins, and various members of the royal family. However, it is mainly focused on Kaladin, a surgeon’s son and once-renowned military captain who has now hit rock bottom. Sold as a slave, the reader follows Kaladin as he tries to survive as a bridgeman, a person who, unarmed and unprotected, is forced to carry bridges at the frontline of battles so the military can cross chasms.

The Way of Kings is one of the rare books that has elements of so many types of novels, and yet never feels disjointed. With both wit and toilet humor, despair, war, romance, philosophy, magic, and science, The Way of Kings is one of the most all encompassing books that I’ve ever read. Despite being only the first book in a ten book series, it wrapped up many themes and issues nicely and didn’t leave on many cliffhangers.The characters are very well developed and complex, and their struggles felt so real. It also included flashbacks to the protagonist’s earlier years, which not only made him relatable to middle schoolers (like me!), but also helped people realize where he was coming from and why he felt the loathing and sadness he did. Sometimes, I would be reading it in a room full of people, and it was all I could do to not shout at some of the love-to-hate characters. Heck, I sometimes shouted anyway.

But why is The Way of Kings so good, you ask? What makes it better-than-oreos awesome? For me, it’s actually something that could make or break the book for other people: the world building. The world building is ridiculously well planned and well developed. There are different religions, races, even a different ecosystem from Earth. And it’s all explained concisely. The world is very unique, and it doesn’t follow the Tolkien-esque trope of white elves in the Medieval era. In fact, all of the characters in The Way of Kings are people of color, with the exception of one. The different kingdoms have their own unique cultures, too. If you don’t like world building though, you should probably skip this book. However, despite The Way of Kings’ massive length (1,252 pages in the US paperback edition) it doesn’t read like a long book. It isn’t tedious, and if even if it seems a bit daunting to begin with, I would  give it a shot. The action is fast-paced and interesting to read, the supporting characters are lovable and unique despite not being the main focus, and it’s really suspenseful to see how the politics play out. And the plot twists! My god, the page-turning, mind-blowing plot twists! Also, the discussion of philosophy in it is very thought-provoking and engaging. The only bone to pick I have with The Way of Kings is that one character is almost ridiculously honorable and his good morals are just sometimes unbelievably strong. However, he’s very endearing and lovable, and it’s somewhat impossible to not root for him.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has already read fantasy, whether they’ve been introduced to YA fantasy or any form of adult fantasy. It probably wouldn’t be the greatest starter to the genre, but if it sounds like it would be up your alley, go ahead! If you think you’ll like it, you probably will. However, be warned that The Way of Kings contains content that could be troubling, specifically regarding depression, suicide, and violence. If these things bother you, I would not recommend reading the book. One thing I did appreciate is that the book portrays mental illness in a very realistic way, which is something that I feel like many novels, especially fantasy novels, often don’t do. It does a very good job handling the content matter. Overall, what did I think? The Way of Kings deserves five out five shiny, golden stars. Actually, it deserves six out of five stars. It’s by far the best book I’ve read all year, and it’ll be one of my favorites in the many years to come.