Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mitosis Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Reckoners Short Story
Pages: 35

Buy on Amazon!

(Contains spoilers for Steelheart).

One of the few series’ outside of Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere universe, the Reckoners is about a renegade group that brings down super powered individuals called epics.  Mitosis takes place shortly after the events in Steelheart, and acts as a lead in to its sequel Firefight. While this can be an entertaining story, it really doesn’t really feel special in any sort of capacity, and instead comes off as a decent, but flawed, filler in between Reckoner’s books.

Shortly after David and the rest of the Reckoners defeat Steelheart, another high powered epic named Mitosis heads to Newcago, the city formerly known as Chicago.  Mitosis has the ability to make tons of clones of himself, and he can’t be killed until every single clone is killed.  It’s up to David and the Reckoners to stop Mitosis and prevent Newcago (formerly Chicago) from falling into the hands of another epic.

I decided to pick this short-story up after a number of references to its titular character in the early goings of my reading of Firefight.  I was hoping this would be some what relevant to the sequel, but it’s really a story that didn’t need to happen.  It feels like a rough draft for the start of Firefight that didn’t quite work out right.  In fact Firefight’s intro achieves the same results as the story of Mitosis does: the heroes are minding their own business when another epic shows up in town leading to a decision that needs to be made about where to next take the fight against epics.   If this short story has any larger implications for the series, it is in discussing how epic weaknesses are in someway related to fear.

After using Chicago as the setting for his last book, Sanderson never really went into too much detail about the city or certain cultural aspects of living there.  That aspect kind of disappointed me, living in Chicago I was kind of hoping to see his take on the city.  There’s some make up time for that in Mitosis with a lengthy opening about eating Chicago style hot-dogs.  You don’t put ketchup on those, and for anyone who’s come to Chicago and tried, you’ll probably have an experience similar to Abraham’s.

There are parodies of rock music, namely Metallica albums and other forms of heavy metal and terribly written lyrics.  I can’t help but relate to Mitosis as he laments about how a lot of rock music has denigrated into using four chords to structure a rehashed writing of the same song over and over again.

Despite these nuances, which I appreciated, I never fully got into the story. The ending kind of resembles the ending of Mars Attacks, and that was an ending I was never really fond of. The story as a whole resembles the beginning of Firefight too much. Fans of the Reckoners may enjoy this, and for the most part I did, but this is not Sanderson’s strongest effort, nor is it essential to the Reckoners series.

Score: 6.0

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