fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsMitosis by Brandon Sanderson SFF book reviewsMitosis by Brandon Sanderson

David and the Reckoners have freed Newcago from Steelheart’s dictatorship, but the people are slow to believe in themselves. Epics have divided and dominated America for so long that many people are leaving before another Epic arrives to take over Steelheart’s domain. David takes comfort in the return of Chicago style hotdogs and in the steady trickle of people that choose to enter the city each day in search of freedom and a better life.

However, a new Epic does attempt to take over Newcago in Brandon Sanderson’s short story, “Mitosis.” An Epic, Mitosis is a little like Marvel’s Multiple Man: he has the power to split into multiple beings and he lives so long as one of his copies lives. Thankfully, David and his friends are developing a knack for discovering the Achilles heel of the Epics they encounter.

“Mitosis” seems primarily intended as a teaser for Firefight, Sanderson’s upcoming sequel to Steelheart. Most of the story is action, but there’s just enough detail in the story’s ending to generate interest in what Firefight might reveal about David’s future battles, particularly whether David will ultimately have to confront his mentor. Also, just where do the Epics’ weaknesses come from — are they random, or could they be tied to character flaws?

Some readers might also be tempted to read “Mitosis,” and perhaps the entire RECKONER series, as a fantasy in which everyday Americans join together to take the country back from corporate interests, lobbyists, and Wall Street. Or perhaps it’s simply meant to recall American traditions like immigration, a well-regulated militia, and a belief in people’s innate yearning to be free. In this instance, Mitosis is confronted in a way that recalls Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing.”

Having said that, “Mitosis” is probably best approached as a B movie: corny and action packed. I was relieved to see that Sanderson has played down characterizing David as an adolescent lone gunman in a derelict apartment obsessively plotting revenge against everyone that has wronged him. Instead, he opens with David and his friend bantering about hotdogs, they spot a suspicious person who turns out to be Mitosis (“Sparks!”), and David confronts the Epic while he and his friends puzzle out the Achilles heel. Readers seeking a jolt of suspense as they wait for Firefight should enjoy this short story.

I listened to an Audible Studios production of “Mitosis,” which was narrated by MacLeod Andrews. Andrews is a good fit for David, though I find his French accent unconvincing. The short story is about an hour long.

~Ryan Skardal

Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson SFF book reviewsI agree with Ryan’s assessment of this short story which I also read in audio format. It’d make an entertaining movie with the right special effects. (Mitosis’s superpower would look really cool on the screen.)

Even though I like Heavy Metal music, I thought Sanderson’s ridicule of the style was amusing and, in most cases, deserved.

~Kat Hooper

The Reckoners — (2013-2016) Young adult. Publisher: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson, comes the first book in a new, action-packed thrill ride of a series – Steelheart. 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.

(fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews) Calamity (The Reckoners)


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  • Ryan Skardal

    RYAN SKARDAL, on our staff from September 2010 to November 2018, is an English teacher who reads widely but always makes time for SFF.

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  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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