Monday, 31 March 2014

"Steelheart" by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Steelheart
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Gollanz

Book 1 of 'Reckoners'


Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.


David as a young boy see's his father killed by the Epic Steelheart. After ten years he has been watching and waiting for the Reckoners to make a hit on one of Steelheart's subordinates. He spots their mission going wrong and decides to help, to become one of the Reckoners. David and one of the Recokners kill an Epic and the Reckoners take him into custody to see if he is a problem. He convices them otherwise and soon a second Epic is dead.

David convinces the Reckoners that nothing will change unless they kill Steelhart. The leader agrees and a plan is hatched....


I was recommended this book, but was unsure about it to begin with. Shortly into the book, my mind was changed and I found it hard to put down. The idea that if people got super powers they would use them for their own goals is great, leaving the normal people to become the heroes. At 400 pages, it took me a while to read, but well worth it. Sanderson throws you straight in at the deep-end and keeps the action hot. This would make a superb movie.

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, 15 March 2014

"The Long Earth" by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Title: The Long Earth
Author: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Publisher: Corgi

Book 1 of 'The Long Earth'


1916: the Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where has the mud, blood and blasted landscape of No Man's Land gone?

2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive (some said mad, others dangerous) scientist when she finds a curious gadget - a box containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a...potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way Mankind views his world for ever.

And that is an understatement if ever there was one...


The 'Long Earth' is a series of parallel worlds that are similar to Earth, which can be reached by using an inexpensive device called a "Stepper". The "close" worlds are almost identical to 'our' Earth (referred to as "Datum Earth"), others differ in greater and greater details, but all share one similarity: on none are there, or have there ever been, Homo sapiens - although the same cannot be said for earlier hominid species, especially Homo habilis. The book explores the theme of how humanity might develop when freed from resource constraints: one example Pratchett has cited is that wars result from lack of land – what would happen if no shortage of land (or gold or oil or food) existed?

The book deals primarily with the journeys of Joshua Valienté (a natural 'Stepper') and Lobsang, who claims to be a Tibetan motorcycle repairman reincarnated as an Artificial intelligence. The two chart a course to learn as much as possible about the parallel worlds, travelling millions of steps away from the original Earth. They encounter evidence of other humanoid species (referred to as trolls and elves); of human settlers who learned their gifts early, and of an extinct race of bipedal dinosaur descendants. They also encounter warning signs of a great danger, millions of worlds away from 'our' Earth, causing catastrophe as it moves. The book also deals with the effects of the explosion of available space on the people of Datum Earth and the new colonies and political movements that are spreading in the wake of Step Day.


Terry Pratchett is a favourite author of mine, and I was a little skeptical what this book would be like. I was pleasantly surprised and have really enjoyed this departure from Pratchett's normal writing

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

"Siege" by Rhiannon Frater

Title: Siege
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Publisher: Tor Books

Book 3 of 'As the World Dies'


As the survivors continue to seek stability in their lives, forces both inside and outside the fort walls move them toward a final, climactic conflict between the living and the dead. Jenni, Katie and the others discover that they are not alone, that there is another enclave of survivors whose leaders plan to take over the fort.

Faced with a series of difficult decisions, each choice they make could lead to the deaths of those they love or, if not careful, their own demise.

Meanwhile, an army of the dead is descending on the fort. Soon, the living will face their ultimate fear...

...a siege by the dead.

But they will fight to the end to survive...

As the world dies.


The fort comes under scrutiny of the remnants of government. On a raid to a hospital for medical supplies, members of the fort are kidnapped by the military, so the Senator of Texas can further her politica career in the new world. Things go badly wrong for the Senator and those in the Mall that has been set up as a rescue center.

The fort has to cope with thousands of undead heading their way, a siege by the undead. The ghosts of the dead come to their aid inthe fight for humanities survival....


Loved the book, although I could really get stuck into book 4 as the story is not truly finished. The body count is high, and all I can say is don't get too hooked on your favourite characters. Anyone is game for death in this third book.

Overall this is a good trilogy that is enjoyable to read.

Rating: 5/5