“Where there are villains, there will be heroes,” my father said. “Just wait. They will come."
Those were some of David's father's last wor...moreMy Synopsis:
“Where there are villains, there will be heroes,” my father said. “Just wait. They will come."
Those were some of David's father's last words before an Epic, Steelheart, killed him.
"I know, better than anyone else, that there are no heroes coming to save us. There are no good Epics. None of them protect us. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts."
It's been ten years since his father's death. Eleven since the first Epics were transformed from mere mortals. David has been patiently waiting, watching, studying, and readying for the chance to wreak vengeance on the man, if you can call him that, who murdered his father in cold blood. A group called the Reckoners have been assassinating Epics all over the world and David wants nothing more than to join and help them. He's taken notes on the powers Epics have and has created strategies based on their weaknesses on how to eliminate them. While to some fighting may seem futile, David knows better...
"If there’s one fact we can hold on to, it’s this: every Epic has a weakness. Something that invalidates their powers, something that turns them back into an ordinary person, if only for a moment. Steelheart is no exception; the events on that day in the bank prove it.
My mind holds a clue to how Steelheart might be killed. Something about the bank, the situation, the gun, or my father himself was able to counteract Steelheart’s invulnerability. Many of you probably know about that scar on Steelheart’s cheek. Well, as far as I can determine, I’m the only living person who knows how he got it.
I’ve seen Steelheart bleed.
And I will see him bleed again."
So I've never been much of a fangirl, but this book may have just converted me. lol Okay, so maybe I'm not quite that obsessed, but I absolutely loved the book. While superheroes and Super Villains are nothing new, I truly enjoyed this tale and it seemed to be a more mature and sophisticated rendition of those ever popular comic book series that have seemingly been around forever. I will admit to owning several copies of comic books while growing up, and being a tad bit addicted to the super friends Saturday morning cartoon shows. Wonder Woman was who I longed to be. Heck, I had the dark hair and blue eyes, but unfortunately the darn bullet defying bracelets just never worked for me. *disappointed sigh* I guess some things are never meant to be. *giggle*
From the very first sentence, "I have seen Steelheart bleed." Brandon Sanderson catches our attention. We know immediately something significant is about to be told and we want to know what. The world has been transformed. Calamity, as it came to be known, was a light which appeared in the night sky a year before people started sporadically changing into Epics. No one knew for certain if the Epic change was a direct result of Calamity or some lab experiment which went drastically wrong, but many believe it was due to the celestial event. Regular people were normal one day and transformed into Epics the next. No rhyme nor reason as to why some were transformed while others were not--even within a single household.
In the eleven years since the Epics made their presence known, the government has been over taken. As no one could find a way to defeat the powerful super humans it was inevitable. With the ability to predict a persons responses, point at a person and have them die, repel bullets, and many more, what chance did normal humans have of fighting them?
When Epics took over, normal people became subservient. Some Epics were more powerful than others. Those who possessed more powerful and dangerous talents tended to lead those with less. Steelheart is one of the more powerful Epics and he declared Chicago his own and it was renamed Newcago. While other cities have suffered similar fates, Newcago is one of the few profitable and self sufficient. While still not as ideal as the cities of yesteryear, it is seen as a haven by many. If David and the Reckoners succeed in taking down Steelheart and his cohorts, will things get better or will they make things worse? Will they be seen as heroes or villains?
Overall, I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 roses. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and am looking forward to the sequel. If you grew up liking superheroes and still have a soft spot for them, then I HIGHLY recommend this book. It had a good pace, lots of action, suspense and plenty of twists and turns. I liked the fact that this story started out with a lot of super villains instead of superheroes. I can't wait to see where the author takes the series and look forward to jumping once again into the wonderful world Sanderson has created.(less)
True rating 2 1/2 out of five stars My synopsis: Immortals are supposed to live forever or are they? The Gods of old are dying, falling victims to diffe...moreTrue rating 2 1/2 out of five stars My synopsis: Immortals are supposed to live forever or are they? The Gods of old are dying, falling victims to different fates all serving out a rather poetic style of justice in rather morbid ways. Athena, Goddess of wisdom and war, is being suffocated by feathers. Hermes' (God of Thieves and Messenger of the Gods) own body is eating itself. Demeter, goddess of harvest and the fertility of the earth, is being stretched across the earth to the point of ripping, and the list goes on and on. With such dire times you'd think the gods and goddesses would unite to find the cause of what is happening to them and put an end to it. Instead some are using it as a time to do what was once impossible--kill other immortals. It's a God eat God world, literally. Only the strongest will survive and ironically the keys to ending all the madness and death may be in the hands of the very individuals the gods once toyed with and used as their pawns. Humans who played important roles years ago when the Gods were at their most powerful have been reincarnated. They'll have to remember who they are and what happened before they'll be of any use, but the real question is can those who were once betrayed by the very Gods and Goddesses who need their help be counted on to save them?
My Review: This was a rather interesting twist on an old genre and quite different from Blake's other books. Athena and Hermes are desperately seeking answers as to why they are dying. Demeter seems to have some idea, but she's literally been stretched to inches of her limits and, therefore, is of little help. Cassandra, the human who was cursed by Apollo to have the gift of foresight but never to be believed, is the person whom Demeter points to as possibly holding the key to their salvation. Athena, however, sided against the Trojans in the war and is as much to blame for Cassandra's family's demise as any other God. Will she side with them or some of the other Gods who had no hand in the Trojan tragedy?
If you aren't up-to-date with Greek mythology you are probably going to feel a little lost going into this one. The majority of what is happening among the Gods seems to be rooted in the personal vendettas and grudges the Gods and Goddesses have held against one another through the ages. While some of these are revealed as the story progresses, I would have preferred the mythology to have been revealed a little sooner and more in depth.
As a person who can usually dive right in at any point in a series with little to no problem, I just felt a little lost and not because I don't know my Greek mythology. I took a class or two in college because I've always had a soft spot for it. The fact we don't know why immortals are slowly dying had me feeling clueless as to what was truly going on. Now, this may have been a ploy by the author to make us feel aligned with what the characters are feeling so that we can sympathize with their plight, but by not revealing the reason before the end, it did the exact opposite. I had hoped there would be some prophecy or curse divulged which would explain things, but none were to be found. The only explanation I could find was a vague reference to the 'Twilight of the Gods' which was never explained. That, by the way, is a crossover into Norse Mythology which talks of a huge battle among the Gods which leaves many dead, some being reborn, with the majority of humanity being destroyed in the process. A type of cleansing of everything--the earth, the Gods and man. I'm hoping that is not the 'Twilight of the Gods' reference Blake was going for, but with no clear definition as to what the phrase referred to, there is no telling. By the way, the term 'Twilight of the Gods', was the result of a famous mistranslation of the word Ragnarok in the Norse native language. It literally means Doom of the Powers, or Destruction of the Powers, where Powers means Gods.*
Besides the lack of in depth mythological background, the switching focus between the pair of Athena and Hermes and Cassandra, who knows nothing of her being the Cassandra of myth, was a little too choppy for my taste at the beginning. I wish the author had spent more time on each before starting to alternate between the two. Granted, this was an ARC which I got fairly early on, so hopefully some of the choppiness will be smoothed out before the final publication, but I doubt the mystery of it all will be revealed. Plus, war usually means there are two sides, and while it appeared that sides were beginning to be taken, nothing seemed to be clearly defined by the end. Everything was left fairly sketchy. Additionally, Hermes and Athena had no clue about there being a war prior to Demeter stating that a war was being waged. Yet later Hera said she was glad to find Athena had chosen the other side. Huh?
Again, I hope these are all issues that are ironed out by the final version. Things did get more interesting and the pace picked up midway through the book. While I liked the story, sadly I can only give it a 2 1/2 out of 5 roses. I just didn't feel things flowed together as smoothly as it should. (less)
Win a copy of Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold Cookbook: A Love Story Told Through 150 Recipes. Two copies are up for grabs at Seduced by a Book. To enter,...more Win a copy of Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold Cookbook: A Love Story Told Through 150 Recipes. Two copies are up for grabs at Seduced by a Book. To enter, CLICK HERE(less)
On March 18, 1990, the art world suffered a tremendous loss. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston was robbed of 13 priceless work...moreMy Synopsis:
On March 18, 1990, the art world suffered a tremendous loss. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston was robbed of 13 priceless works of art. Included among the stolen paintings were masterpieces such as Rembrandt's "Storm on the Sea of Galilee," Vermeer's "The Concert" and Degas' "After the Bath." None of the artwork has ever been recovered and no arrests were ever made. No one had any clue what happened any of the artwork, that is until now...
"Claire, I've just been given the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance to do good, real good for lots of people. And I hope you'll feel the same way about the one I'm about to give you." He pauses. "Although I suppose yours is really more like making a deal with the devil."(...)
"Okay," I say. "What are we talking about here?"
He locks his eyes on mine, "Something not quite on the up-and-up."
I don't break the stare. "I thought you said it was an opportunity to do good?"
"The end is good, It's just the mans that are a bit iffy."
"There's illegal and there's illegal."
"And which one is this?"
Markel looks across the room at the Degas and Pissarro.
And now it all makes sense. "Oh" is all I can say.
Aiden Markel, owner of a prestigious and world renown art gallery Markel G wants Claire to forge a copy of the infamous stolen painting by Degas known as "After the Bath," the fifth in a series. Somehow the painting came into his possession through questionable means and his plan is to make a copy giving the forgery to the buyer and, at some point, returning the original to it's rightful place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. As Claire muses over the possibility, Markel dangles the carrot that practically guarantees her cooperation in front of her...
"I meant what I said about your paintings, Claire. You have a unique talent. You always did. Just because you've been blackballed doesn't mean you can't paint." He pauses. "I'd also like to give you a one-woman show at the gallery."
Dare she take the offer? After all, she reasons, "There's no crime in copying a painting--obviously, as this is how I make the money I dutifully report to the IRS every April--the criminal part doesn't come until a copy is put up for sale as the original. Ergo, the seller, not the painter, is the crook."
But her theory will be put to the test when her forgery is discovered. Will she be able to prove her innocence? She could lose everything, but even as she began working on her replica, she suspected the work she was copying was a fake. The problem is, how can she prove it and will anyone believe her?
This was a fun story with a bit of a mystery to it. Three years ago Claire Roth was a promising student of the talented Isaac Cullion. Isaac was well on his way to making a name for himself in the art world but had yet to leave his mark. Three years ago, Claire and Isaac had an affair and something happened which lead to terrible consequences. One of them died by their own hand, while the other was blackballed by the industry and blamed for the death. The events which lead to the beginning of the end of her career also earned her the nick name of "the Great Pretender" which is rather ironic as the majority of her income is earned by her working for Reproductions.com creating high quality reproductions of nineteenth-century European masterpieces. As the story progresses, we learn the details of what transpired between Isaac and Claire.
Besides the flashbacks of what happened three years ago, we also get to read letters long since destroyed or stowed away by the relatives of Isabella "Belle" Stewart Gardner. They tell how Belle acquired the highly prized Degas painting and give us a little background into the somewhat eccentric and quirky Isabella Stewart Gardner who upon her death, left her home and its contents to become a museum with the stipulation that nothing be moved.
What I loved about this book, is the way the author brings everything together at the climax. In a way, it's like a big unveiling as all the aspects of the painting and Claire's disgrace, both past and present, come together so we can get a clear view of the whole. We find out the why, the who, the where, and the what of it all and as the many layers that were buried are revealed as we get to the heart of the mystery.
Overall, I give this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I almost ended up buying this one because the audio book was too slow for my tastes. Luckily, the ebook version came in before I broke down and bought it from Amazon. I adored how the creation of the forgery symbolizes what is going on in Claire's life. First, she stripped down the layers of her past as she stripped the Meissonier painting down to its sizing. Then she reinvented herself as she recreated a masterpiece on top of the foundation of the blank canvas with all its cracks still in tact, creating something better and new. While not a full blown happily ever after, I felt the bittersweet ending was appropriate and well done. I highly recommend this one.(less)