Sunday, June 26, 2016

Steelheart Read-Along #1: Chapters 1-10

All right, so how did the first two weeks' reading go? Steelheart is a re-read for me (for the third time), but I'm still seeing little things that I've either never noticed before or didn't remember. Don't you love stories like that?

Well, let's dive in! Here are my notes and reactions for the first 10 chapters of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson:

(BEWARE! Everything below this point may contain if you haven't read this book yet, please do not go any further!)



"I am called Deathpoint," he said. "It's not the cleverest of names, I'll admit. But I find it memorable."
Deathpoint was an interesting villain for me right at first. I thought his power scary and his nonchalance freaky, and then...and then. Sanderson upped it by having him kill a baby. I have two kids. I first read this book when my oldest was a baby, nursing him as I read on my Kindle. This made me sick and it was the first time I ever considered putting away a Sanderson book. (I think I did put the book down and return to it several hours later.)

A figure stood in the doorway to the street. He was backlight, little more than a silhouette because of the bright sunlight shining in bethind him. An amazing, herculean, awe-inspiring silhouette.
Finally! I thought when I read this part. Here's the hero! Everyone is safe! Steelheart's first appearance reminded me very much of the old Superman cartoons I loved as a kid--he came in with his cape flapping, hovering just off the floor, and ready to save the day. I was so ready for him to be a hero. Then, we get that heart-sinking twist, when he proclaims himself Emperor of Chicago and demands Deathpoint's loyalty.

As an aside, I think Steelheart's similarity to Superman is absolutely fascinating. They're so very similar, down to Steelheart building a palace out away from the city. It makes me wish I knew more about Superman, just to see if there are any more comparisons that might be drawn, and if those comparisons could provide clues to the way the story progresses. (I'm a nerd like that.)

And for those who really are reading along for the first time--I'll give you a hint that in this prologue is one of Sanderson's typical, seemingly-insignificant mentions of something that turns out to have huge implications in the story. I can't say anything more, but...just keep this chapter in mind as we read through the book. ;)


The only thing you can see up there is Calamity, which looks kind of like a bright red star or comet.
The first mention of Calamity, and from this moment on I have been going nuts trying to figure out what Calamity is and what connection it has to the Epics. I seriously cannot wait to read the third book in the series, which is titled Calamity.

Like the upper crust of an old-school dictatorship, these people lived off the crumbs Steelheart left behind. That meant they were almost as culpable as the Epics in keeping the rest of us oppressed, but I didn't bear them much ill will.
I find the above quote fascinating. Unlike so many other dystopian heroes, David doesn't hate the elite. He just accepted it and moved on.

But even a ninety-year-old blind priest would stop and stare at this woman. If he weren't blind, that is. Dumb metaphor, I thought. I'll have to work on that one. I have trouble with metaphors.
I love and adore a good sarcastic, snarky character as much as anyone else. But David's trouble with metaphors is what totally and completely sold me on him.


I'd never really practiced winking before. Could you do it the wrong way, though? It was a simple thing.
"Something wrong with your eye?" Curveball asked.
"Er, got a lash in it," I said.
Not much in this chapter, but I just had to make a note of this because I. Love. It.


The thing about handguns is that they're blasted difficult to aim. Even trained, practiced professionals miss more often than they hit. And if you level the gun out in front of you sideways--like you think you're in some stupid action movie--you'll hit even less often.
Thank you! THANK YOU! Someone finally said it! I know this is a minor thing, but you cannot imagine how much this bugs me when I see someone in a book or movie being super-accurate with their handgun when it's held sideways. I grew up shooting guns, okay? This does. Not. Happen. (Writers, please stop doing this. Please.)

Gun still trained on me, she raised her hand to her head, touching one finger to her ear. I could see an earring there was was probably tethered to her mobile.
Bluetooth earrings? Count me in!

Underneath she wore a low-cut tanktop and a pair of spandex biker shorts.
OK, I was as surprised as David was when I read this bit, then I started laughing. Then I again mentally thanked Brandon Sanderson for getting it right. Because again, an annoyance to me in many movies and books is when the woman chases the bad guy down while still wearing her slinky dress and heels. Please, writers, for the love of ankles everywhere, take note.


There was a pop, Fortuity dodged, and my windshield suddenly cracked--a bullet blasting through it about an inch from my head.


Fortuity ran forward. I could see him glaring at me, lips curling up into a sneer. He was a monster--I'd documented over a hundred murders tied to him.
I'm not exactly sure how Fortuity planned to murder David with his wrists handcuffed.


Megan stood behind him, my rifle in one hand--held at the hip--her pistol in the other hand...She fired both at once, I realized. She checkmated him in the air with two shots.
Have I mentioned how awesome I think Megan is, even compared to other action heroines? No? I'll let David sum it up for you...

She can shoot like a dream and she carries tiny grenades in her top, a bit of my addled mind thought. I think I might be in love.


You target High Epics, and there are only a few hundred of those in Newcago. Among them, only a couple dozen have a prime invincibility, and you always pick someone with a prime invincibility.
Wow, I thought the first time I read this. He's dedicated.


I took a deep breath. There was only one thing left to try. "I've seen Steelheart bleed."
Prof stiffened.
That made the others pause. Prof looked over his shoulder at me. "What?"
"I've seen Steelheart bleed." we go. Up until now, David has been competent with his weapons but a bit more on the snarky, goofy side. Now, we learn just how obsessed and dedicated he is.


"I only shoot people when the job calls for it," she said. "You're trying to make small talk; you're simply not very good at it. That's not a shooting offense."
Ah, a girl after my own heart.

"You wrote about Epics, but what about us? What about the Reckoners?
"Of course I wrote it down," I said.



"You have a plan?" Prof asked. "For killing the most powerful Epic in the country?"
I take it back. The kid's fanatical.


I walked to my mattress and unzipped the case. Inside was my life. Dozens of folders, filled with clippings from newspapers or scraps of information. Eight notebooks filled with my thoughts and findings. A larger notebook with my indexes.


Have you read Steelheart before, or is this your first time? Do you like the twist of the Epics all being supervillains? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

No challenge this week! Your assignment--read chapters 11-20 and check back here in two weeks! Have a great day!


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