I like to read in many genres, but I've not found much in YA that I've enjoyed. I won Steelheart in a Goodreads giveaway, which I entered because SandI like to read in many genres, but I've not found much in YA that I've enjoyed. I won Steelheart in a Goodreads giveaway, which I entered because Sanderson is one of my favorite authors.
Steelheart is less complex than his books aimed at adults, and there are fewer characters. The world building is far less detailed than is standard for Sanderson. It's also a book about "superheroes." So for those reasons I liked this book less than others of his I've read.
However, the true comparison should be with other YA books, and that comparison is why I gave the book five stars. The plot has many surprise twists, and the hero has to confront several ethical dilemmas for which there are no easy answers. The hero feels real as a teenage boy yet has a backstory that makes his feats of courage believable. Much changes for him and the other characters during the course of the book.
The little bit of worldbuilding Sanderson did do in this book was really cool, and I wish he had spent much more time on it. One strange thing—his fictional Chicago feels nothing like the real Chicago, which has a strong personality as a city as a whole and in its individual neighborhoods. Chicago feels like a generic city. Even the street names are unfamiliar. If you haven't lived in Chicago, though, you likely won't be bothered by Sanderson's fictional Chicago.
In conclusion, this fantasy novel is suitable for both adults and teens....more
This anthology consists of four short stories set in New York City’s Gaslight Era, when wealthy Anglo-Saxon men ruled the world—and thought they couldThis anthology consists of four short stories set in New York City’s Gaslight Era, when wealthy Anglo-Saxon men ruled the world—and thought they could stomp on everyone else forever.
The four adventurer-protagonists (one can't call them heroes, for self-preservation is their highest value) seek out paranormal phenomena, sometimes going far afield to discover the truth about, say, the remnant head of a hero that talks nonsense.
The humor derives from the author's and reader's awareness of how awful that era really was and the contrast between their awareness and how writers of that time (and Hendrix himself, with tongue firmly in cheek) portrayed it.
The black postmodern humor is not for everyone. The stories expose and mock the bigoted attitudes of the pompous adventurers while reveling in the men’s most ridiculous and offensive stereotypes of people who are not just like themselves: Italians smell like “a large sweating cheese,” women's sexual organs are “gruesome portions of biology,” the Irish are rude and inefficient, Egyptians are “oily,” and the Chinese have a soul that weighs half that of a white man.
The protagonists embody everything that was wrong about Western culture until recently, and I had a wonderful time laughing at them and the horrible things they did. Conservatives and Tea Partiers, on the other hand, may find themselves greatly offended to see the values of the past they hold so dear revealed in their true colors as the source of bigotries and other evils. ...more