Havoc

[Spoilers] What did you think?

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Seems like Sanderson has done it again. Another classic.

 

Steelheart's weakness was quite appropriate, and in hindsight I'm surprised no one anticipated it.

 

The reveal of the Prof's true nature was also satisfying. I'd expected that overuse of the tensors was giving him powers, not the other way around.

 

It's mildly disappointing that the Epics are all evil because of a magic side-effect of their powers, but I suppose there was no other way to explain why they were so few exceptions to the 'evil' rule.

 

I can't wait for the David vs. Megan showdown in the next book.

Edited by Havoc
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There is an exception to the evil rule... Conflux. He isn't really that evil, is he? 

 

I've finished the book already, and I'm kind of sad. How many more months until March? 

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Conflux doesn't ever actually use his powers himself, does he. He just gifts them to others.

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I enjoyed the book, but I have a few reservations after reading.


 

I guessed most of the twists. I figured it would be something about David's Father's mindset that let him hurt Steelheart, though I thought it would be hope rather than fear. I guessed the Professor would be an epic. Meagan being an epic was the only thing I didn't see coming.


 

It was thrilling, it was a fun ride, but I get a very distinct vibe I've seen a lot of it before. The normal humans fighting back theme is new, obviously, but it was a lot like Mistborn 1 (ragtag bunch of misfits must kill the unkillable evil emperor) with a twist of Elantris (people randomly taken and given magical powers). From the titles of the upcoming books, I think the entire structure will be much like Mistborn- the last book name is "Calamity", which seems to indicate the last book will be about destroying whatever evil is really wrecking the world. Again, familiar territory.


 

It's not that it was a bad book. Far from it. But it was a book I feel like I've read before, and that worries me. Sanderson does seem to have certain ideas pop up over and over again in his books, which I think is fine and only to be expected, but the number of ways this one aligned with previous volumes worried me. And as a poster said above, I would have preferred if it wasn't something in the magic that made epics evil. Personally, I think people are corruptible enough without needing that, and I've always preferred books that make points about human nature to those that don't. Oh well.


 

Still, I'll likely continue to read the series, because this a lot of potential. Focus on the normal humans using cleverness to defeat the undefeatable and I think you have a winning combo. I love reading about clever characters, and the potential is certainly here.

 

Well, now we wait for Words of Radience...

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I guessed the Prof as an Epic almost from first meeting, however I should have picked up that he was a gifter when he told David to try the tensor anyway. I just dismissed it as maybe the Prof thought it wasn't as broken as David thought it was. 

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I guessed the Prof as an Epic almost from first meeting, however I should have picked up that he was a gifter when he told David to try the tensor anyway. I just dismissed it as maybe the Prof thought it wasn't as broken as David thought it was. 

 

To be fair, had we been introduced to the concept of gifters at that point? I don't think they're mentioned until later. It's like an inverse Checkov's gun, where something later makes something previously more significant.

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I think we had, since they were talking about Conflux giving his powers away, but I'm not sure.

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As always Brandon has left me wanting a sequel right NOW. I thought it was excellent. 

Mcmillion, I can see how the formula looks similar to mistborn. But let's try to give Sanderson a little credit. After all not a single one of us nailed the "theory of weakness". Things never end up being exactly as they appear. I'm willing to bet that Calamity is more unique than just being a ruin clone.

 

Edit: I'm also betting there is a reason their powers twist their minds. Although I'm sure that particular mystery won't be solved until the 3rd book.

Edited by Galavantes
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Sure, Galavantes. As you say, I highly doubt Calamity is a Ruin clone. But I suspect the format will be quite Mistborn-esque: Defeat Evil Emperor/Deal with the aftermath/Confront the godlike force behind it all. There are seeds of both those second plots in Steelheart. I certainly hope it will be unique, and I'll certainly read them. It's the fact that I see these same threads again that concerns me. I love Sanderson's books and I cringe at the thought of him running out of ideas.

 

(To be far, the whole Cosmere saga is what, 36 books? No doubt he's got a lot of surprises in there. Maybe some repetition is inevitable.)

 

Anyway, I have high hopes for the next two books.

 

...I really hope I'm not digging myself into a hole with this post.

Edited by Two McMillion
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I guessed the Prof as an Epic almost from first meeting, however I should have picked up that he was a gifter when he told David to try the tensor anyway. I just dismissed it as maybe the Prof thought it wasn't as broken as David thought it was. 

 

I didn't guess he was an Epic, though I did think there was something more going on with the tensors at the point you mentioned -- maybe that the power was "all in the mind", that every human possessed the potential of an Epic and using the tensors allowed you, over time, to access the power without them.

 

I did pick up on Megan being an Epic, though (didn't realize she was Firefight, or even a double agent). Not immediately... but when she died, I immediately remembered the bit from the beginning about how some Epics could reincarnate and knew Brandon wouldn't keep her dead. Especially since her death seemed too perfectly tailored to drive home that she COULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED.

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Heh. Definitely a fun read, but I must admit that the mystery wasn't quite Brandon-level. Not that it's a bad thing, I was pretty happy to actually finally guess something right! But let's see...

  • Megan being an Epic, I was fairly confident about that one every since that scene in the elevator shaft. I assumed Prof would know about her though.
  • I was also kind of confident there was a mole. About 70% confident. I suspected Megan, but to be honest, I also suspected everyone else at some point (except for Abraham, now that I think about it).
  • The Prof being Epic, that one I missed. I was sure he had some history with Steelheart himself - the idea of them being brothers crossed my mind even. There would've been some poetic sense in them being brothers, having a falling out as Steelheart assumed his powers, and then turning into mortal enemies. I think at this point I was jumping at random conclusions, hoping to hit near Brandon's brilliance. Shut up, I worship the man.
  • Firefight, I had nothing on. It was obvious that he - she - would survive and turn into a problem, given the title of the second book, but Megan was never a candidate. At a point I even entertained the idea that Steelheart is just a front for Firefight, but I debunked that one myself pretty quickly. I also thought Firefight might be related to Steelheart's weakness. Nope, wrong again.
  • Going back to Megan, her death felt fishy to me as well. From one side, I felt like it couldn't be real / permanent, because it's such a Brandon thing to bring a character from the dead with a perfectly valid reason and no cheating; on the other, however, it also felt a Brandon thing to NOT do that, since he could probably anticipate readers anticipating him pulling something from his sleeve. No scores in this one.
  • Now, Steelheart's weakness. Bullet / gun, thought of. Collateral damage, thought of - that was my prime candidate too. As a related idea, I also thought it could be because David's father had no intention of harming Steelheart - so only someone who didn't want to harm him would be able to harm him. The vault idea I missed. The fearlessness though... I guess I was kiiind of close, with the "right mindset" idea and all, but I was obviously only kiiind of close.
  • Finally, the similarities with Mistborn. Yea, it looks like the trilogy will resemble it, but I am perfectly okay with that. Reckoners feels more... improvised. I feel like Mistborn was more about planning, while Reckoning will be more about spontaneous action - though obviously there is significant overlap. I actually thought Prof was going to die when he went to save David and Megan. It felt like so much like Kelsier's attack on the Lord Ruler. I am happy it turned out differently though, the two books/series would've felt a lot more similar in mind if that scene had developer as I had anticipated.

All in all, I am happy. I guessed some things, which made me feel like a smart reader, but I also didn't guess some things - which assured me that Brandon was still able to easily stay ahead of me. That's not necessarily the right formula for an epic (PUN ALERT!) fantasy, but it most assuredly works in this book.

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Gonna preface this by saying that my memory wouldn't exactly win any awards, so if I missed or forgot something please feel free to remind me.

 

One thing I didn't like was how Conflux was handled. No one questioned him about Steelheart's weakness, or about anything at all. I know he was a prisoner and all, but after being one for six years I think he would've picked something up. And then once they decide to go all in and attempt to kill Steelheart without knowing his weakness, nothing is mentioned of what they do with him. Do they let him go? Put him in the Helicopter? To me, it makes Conflux into a plot device instead of an actual character.

 

"I used to teach fifth grade until an Epic destroyed it." Please tell me it wasn't the Proffesor who did it. Maybe it's just me, but I've seen this type of thing done entirely too often for it to do anything but annoy me. Anyways, I'm really hoping I'm wrong about this and it was some other Epic.

 

Megan's death threw me for a loop, since I was thinking there was no way she could die with unresolved plot threads hanging. I was starting to think she was really dead when Conflux said his bit about being unable to gift powers to epics. That's when I figured out that Megan and the Professor were both Epics, though not which Epic Megan was. A nice touch altogether.

 

The ending was fantastic as always. I figured out a few of the things, but there were still enough unexpected twists to keep it exciting.

 

One last minor nitpick: At the end, David decides that he feels more loyalty to the city than to the Reckoners, and this just seemed to come out of left field for me. As far as I can remember, he never showed any particular attachment to the city or its inhabitants. He does briefly grapple with the problem that removing Steelheart will cause chaos, but in the end he comes down on the side of removing the tyrant instead of preserving a meager amount of peace. It's not a very big issue, but I just thought I'd bring it up in case someone had a good rebuttal for it.

 

Overall though I very much enjoyed it. The humor was great, the action scenes as well executed as always, and there are a few interesting plot hooks left open for future books.

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Good book! As as always Brandon delivers on the last fifty pages. I called Megan but not Prof!

Just a few things about the writing disturbed me. Was it just me that  got ripped out of the story on the ninja alligators thing. That just felt waaay to forced. As others have posted before i also feel the book may rehash the mistborn theme. However i  do like the whole "David redeems Megan" thing. Otherwise, great book, as always.

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Few thoughts

  • What kind of curses are "sparks" and "slontze"? I wish Brandon had gone with real world curses. They annoyed me.
  • I had the same thoughts about Steelheart being similar to Mistborn but honestly it didn't bother me much. Yeah, Brandon have few ideas that pop up in multiple books but I don't think there is too much repetition. Still I understand the concern.
  • I was 100% sure Megan was an Epic at the elevator scene. I don't think Brandon tried to hide it much or he didn't do a very good job to be honest. I didn't call the double agent and Firefight thing until too late though. I figured she'd joined because she was afraid her powers would make her like other Epics. I also called the resurrection thing.
  • I didn't see Prof being an Epic. I thought the "inventions" that come from Epics affected regular people like normal Epic powers. David have a few grandeur delusions when using the tensor too.
  • The ending. On one side there are 4 people on the field, on of them an Epic, and Tia providing support. On the other side 2 demigods plus whatever Enforcement personnel they brought with them. There is also Megan as a wildcard doing minor damage for both sides. Steelheart also had access to all the communications of the Reckoners. In the end Stealheart and Nightwielder are dead while all the Reckoners escape alive. That felt like cheating to me.
  • Brandon absolutely aced the first-person narrative. I haven't read his novellas or the Alcatraz so I'm not sure if he did first-person before but I thought it was amazing.

Overall, I loved Steelheart. Can't wait for the sequel. I hope we get better villains in the next book though.

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Slontze, unless my memory betrays me, is the Russian word for "sun" - which would've been an interesting Newcago curse, given its circumstances, but I can't imagine why anyone not local would use it...

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Alcatraz is first-person.

 

 

  • Cody. Just... Cody. I absolutely adore him.
  • David's bad analogies reminded me of Alcatraz, which I personally loved.
  • On that note, Megan reminded me a lot of Bastille too.

 

Personally, I liked the eccentric curses. Slontze in particular fit into the feel quite well.

I managed to predict Prof and Megan being Epics, and it was fun to notice the Reckoners' guesses at Steelheart's weakness echoing the thread here.

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I guessed the Prof as an Epic almost from first meeting, however I should have picked up that he was a gifter when he told David to try the tensor anyway. I just dismissed it as maybe the Prof thought it wasn't as broken as David thought it was.

I got it exactly backwards from that. I didn't think of Prof as an epic until he told David to use the broken tensor. Then I figured he was a gifter. But then I got everything else wrong.

I figured Prof had illusion power and it came as part of the gift set, and David used it accidentally in the elevator. And that Megan saw it, and considered killing him for being an epic. But that since she changed her mind, she must be an epic too.

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Things that I called:

 

 - I guessed that not fearing Steelheart was his weakness when the Reckoners were in the vault. (I was completely certain once they found the secret room)

 - I guessed that either Meghan or David had latent epic powers when the gaurds did not see them in the shaft. It still surpised me when Meghan was revealed to be an epic.

 

Things that I did not call:

 

- The Professor being an Epic.

- Conflux (Edmund) being a slave.

- Firefight....all of it.

 

Thoughts, overall:

 

I really enjoyed this book, read it in about two sittings. I do agree with several of the posts above, there are similarities between Steelheart and Mistborn. That being said, I think that there are such drastic differences it doesn't matter. I thought this book we a great read, it can easliy be turned into a movie, and it is nice that it isn't in the Cosmere. I mean...if I saw an offhand reference to an Epic called Hoid...

 

I am looking forward to the next entry.

Edited by Magness
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Conflux doesn't ever actually use his powers himself, does he. He just gifts them to others.

Yes he does use his powers once, to prove his identity to the reckenors. fully charging something that was drained of charge.

 

and it was a good book, though not my favorite.

Edited by Tarontos
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Personally I found the book interesting. Brandon set it up to feel like a movie on purpose if you read his annotations. Plus he knew he was getting close to the plot of mistborn which is why he tried to enforce the idea that the recliners weren't revolutionaries. They were just there to kill. Read his annotation in the Barnes and noble book for proof.

On the note of the professor, he probably killed all his children in the classroom some how by making the roof unstable with his tensor powers. He has a prime invincibility if he could heal from that blow which makes me think on his weakness. Probably something to do with guilt.

As for Megan. Her resurrection powers make her a prime invincibility but I didn't expect her to be firefight. But it makes sense. She always tried correcting David on how firefight was more dangerous than he thought she would be. I'm guessing that because of her resurrections, she becomes a little more human everytime she wakes up due to the fact that she doesn't use her powers when dead. Her weakness is probably something like love or kindness.

Calamity. At first I thought maybe it's a supernova that created the radiation giving epics powers. The more I thought about it though it didn't make much sense. They don't shine for 10 years and it wouldn't explain the evil that comes from using powers. My next theory is that calamity is some sort of epic. Shaky I know but I can totally see Brandon making calamity something more human or just a force of nature. Not a god in any way. I believe this and the reasons epics who use powers become evil is the same reason the diggers went insane. The powers come from a DNA source as obvious by the weapon industry. Maybe it is a stage in evolution, or a disease. The mind is warped by using the powers because it's not in the laws of nature. This makes the mind warp to the point of insanity and you loose your humanity. Like animal instincts take over as your soul is tormented through the use of powers that defy reality. Extra dimensional stuff may be going on too. Who knows.

Brandon is using steelheart to try and get a film for it going. It's a good read but the annotations showed he wanted a film feel and the acknowledgement showed thanks for a film working idea.

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I predict the next book is going to be based on the genetics and mitochondria stolen from the Epics.

 

While we know why Megan could not have abilities transferred to her, what we DON'T know is why some people take to the transfer better than others, and why David picked it up so fast, as was as good at it as he was.  

 

My crackpot theory is Calamity's weakness will be a brick filled with porridge. That was pretty funny.

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Great page-turner!

 

Well, I was completely guessing wrong for a lot of this book. Between the elevator and the last-stand-in-the-tunnel scene, I was thinking David was the secret Epic, with Prof realizing it when David took so well to using the tensor gloves (and, why he said to try the broken tensor again).

 

I really did think Megan died permadeath. I was torn between a little shock and congratulating Brandon on pulling another Kelsier emotionally for the reader before things went weird at the Battle of Soldier Field. Megan being Firefight was a completely unexpected twist. Had a suspicion that Prof was an Epic but not a High Epic with prime invincibility. 

 

Now wondering if Megan/Firefight was only able to checkmate Fortuity by surreptitiously using false illusion to fool the precognition danger sense.  

 

I liked David's character maturation through the book. From stereotyping Epics to developing a nuanced sympathy for (some of) them through his developing relationships with Prof and Firefight. From disdain for his father's Faithful views to coming to understand him. I found it ironic at the end that the person most responsible for David shifting from "don't really care about what happens to Newcago afterwards" to "let's work for the good of the ordinary people" was the bad girl/double agent whose Team Steelheart seems to have written the book on not caring for ordinary people.  Unless, of course, Megan was using her position as part of Steelheart's inner circle to champion causes like basic services for the citizens, and moderate Steelheart's evilness.

 

The hot-for-Megan developments were a tad forced, but I think you can explain that away to A) not having any mature relationships with any woman beforehand (including: mother) and B) 18 year old hormones. I also thought that the magic system was more random than Brandon's other works. I mean, how would Steelheart's powers "know' who pulled the trigger? Or how the triggerman was feeling? How can Curveball's powers magically spirit identical bullets into a handgun and only a handgun (and not just any gun or magazine?).

 

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Just finished it.  I loved it.  I plowed through the book in 2 days which for me is very fast. 

 

A couple of thoughts:

-I had it figured out pretty early on that Megan was an Illusion Epic, but I didn't put it all together that she was Firefight until right before the reveal. Although by that point it was pretty easy to figure out.

 

-I also suspected that Prof was an Epic, but it never occurred to me that he was a gifter. 

 

-From the beginning I thought Steelhearts weakness was courage.  For example, if you used courage to stand up against him you could hurt him.  I was kinda close. 

 

 

I can't wait for book 2, but I suspect it will be at least a year.  Ah well, at least we have WOR to look forward to next. 

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As for Megan. Her resurrection powers make her a prime invincibility but I didn't expect her to be firefight. But it makes sense. She always tried correcting David on how firefight was more dangerous than he thought she would be. I'm guessing that because of her resurrections, she becomes a little more human everytime she wakes up due to the fact that she doesn't use her powers when dead. Her weakness is probably something like love or kindness.

 

As i understood it, Megan doesnt become more human by being reincarnated. Its actually quite the opposite. During her infiltration of the Reckoners, she almost never used her powers. Thus she returned to being "normal" or removing Calamitys negative influence on her. By being reincarnated however, her powers are being used again. That is why she seems so cold to David, I mean a normal person would not act this way.

 

 I also thought that the magic system was more random than Brandon's other works. I mean, how would Steelheart's powers "know' who pulled the trigger? Or how the triggerman was feeling? How can Curveball's powers magically spirit identical bullets into a handgun and only a handgun (and not just any gun or magazine?).

I think Brandon can pull it of logically. Brandon has explained earlier how he divide his worlds into the cognitive, the physical and the spiritual (?, not sure about the last one) The cognitive being buildt from the idea that every object has some sort of awareness. Therefore intent from humans can influence the physical world.

 

Thats why i think the gun hurt stealheart, because in the cognitive realm the gun identified the being who acted upon it, and

therefore David and Steelhearts emotions and intent could affect how the physical world plays out. Also, i think thats how the epics powers manifest. The powers exist both in the cognitive and physical realm, They are mostly limitied in the cognitve. Would also explain how weaknesses can seem so random, like Curveballs. His power can only be used from and object that identifies itself as a gun.

Brandon extrapolates on this in The emperors Soul Where the magical power has a similar dilemma.

Edited by Ararder
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