Published September 2013
First and foremost, I am new to Brandon Sanderson books. Why? I can honestly say I have no freaking idea. Not only is he a bad ass storyteller, we share a last name….and that has got to count for something.
Steelheart was such a fun read, or in my case, a fun listen. I solidly, and without hesitation give this book 5 stars. It was entertaining from start to finish, balancing action, humor, suspense, and a teeny bit or romance.
A quick synopsis: Ten years ago, Calamity came. A bursting event in the sky that gave ordinary men and women super powers. But these people are far from what we would call super heroes, instead, they are called Epics.
It seems though, that no person granted with epic powers uses them for good. Instead, the Epics kill and take what ever they wish, feeling they are entitled with their god-like powers. What’s more is the government has stepped aside to let them do as they wish. What’s the point, right? Regular people can’t stand up to those with epic powers, so nobody fights them…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadow group of ordinary humans who spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. This book revolves around the Epic Steelheart, and the plot the Reckoners have to come up with to bring down his tyrannical rein of Newcago, the post-Epic Chicago.
If you are a superhero nerd, or even a regular nerd, like I am, then one of your favorite parts of this story will be learning about all of the different powers that the Epics exhibit. They are all really unique and consequently interesting to read about. Sanderson uses his characters to build the reader a catalog of the Epic’s powers and their weaknesses, which feeds every nerdy molecule in my body. So, a quick thank you to Mr. Sanderson!
The main character, David, was a blast. I loved him as a narrator, despite his age of only 18. Usually younger main characters are hard for me to like, being that I have now left my teenage years far behind, but David was different. He was funny and corny, but not in an overbearing way, and surprising mature for his age. His self awareness; sharing his story and point of view with the reader, was endearing, but also refreshing for first person narratives. He wasn’t a bad ass, despite him being accepted into the Reckoners, but kind of a sweet, smart, nerdy guy that I would hang out with in real life.
And David is just the beginning of an amazing cast of characters. There is Cody with his made up history, beliefs, views… well everything really. Abraham, a calm, cool, and collected Canadaian who believes, like David’s father believed, that the good Epics will one day come. Megan, the source of David’s romantic feelings, a bad ass Reckoner who knows her way around a gun. Prof, the leader, founder of the Reckoners and a pseudo-father figure for David. Finally there is Tia, who loves her cola, and is almost as apt at cataloging Epics as David is. The best part about this paragraph is that I listed all of the main characters here. Sanderson has streamlined his cast of characters in the book; other than the random Epics mentioned, there are not 30 different people integral to the plot line to remember. (Looking at you Mistborn….)
As far as the pacing goes, everything moves super fast in this book. There is not a single lull in the plot, and Sanderson can construct some seriously awesome action scenes. I was hooked from the prologue onwards….THE PROLOGUE GUYS! I never had to skim over paragraphs that I thought were dull, and almost every chapter ended on a note that impulses me to plow forward. I finished this book in record time! And while this book is classified as Young Adult, there were some graphic scenes of death that made me say out loud things like: “ewwww” or “UGH” or “what the …..” There is no loss of main characters in this story, but that doesn’t mean that Sanderson shies away from killing people. The Reckoners are a group founded on the principle of murdering Epics remember?
I think it is worth taking a paragraph here to applaud McLeod Andrews for his exceptional narration of this book. I felt like he really brought all of these characters to life for me. When David sighs in the story, Andrews sighed in my ears as well. I could practically hear Megan rolling her eyes at some of David’s metaphors, I could see Tia standing in front of me sipping her cola…. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and this one was top notch thanks to Andrews. Bravo!
Steelheart has a little something for everyone honestly: gun fights, motorcycle get-aways, stealthy breaking and entering, a touch of back and forth flirting, and at least two good plot twists had me immediately downloading the second book in the series to start listening to. Highly recommend this novel, and not just for readers of the YA genre, my dad loved it too!
Per usual, here is a looksie at the UK cover for Steelheart. I am obsessed with this color scheme, and since I only listened to this book and lack a physical copy, looks, like I will be heading to Book Depository sooner rather than later to add this beauty to my shelf. Thank you cover artist for blessing our eyes with your work!