Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published Date: September 24, 2013
Synopsis: 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 will.
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.
Rating: Steelheart is a unique look at superheroes with a fantastically interesting world, but it lacks the heart that Sanderson fans have come to expect from his characters.
Steelheart is unlike anything I’ve read from Brandon Sanderson. Though Steelheart is superhero dystopian instead of the typical high fantasy, it is easy to identify this as a Sanderson story. The effortless world building, straight forward prose, and never ending snark that we’ve come to expect from Sanderson are all here.
The story focuses on David, whose father was murdered before his eyes by Steelheart, one of the mysteriously super powered individuals called Epics. Epics treat the world as their personal playground for indulging in all their worst desires. Instead of superheroes, we are plagued with super villains. The world is torn apart by the Epics’ power plays and humans are left to meek out an existence without drawing the random ire of their local Epic.
The setting for Steelheart is fantastically interesting. Sanderson has always been a master in world building, but it still astounds me that he could build such a world. The book starts with a small slice of life moment that quickly snowballs into a horrific dystopian reality. I was left wanting more of this world. Not because it was lacking in the book, but because I was so intrigued that I wanted to explore and research every aspect.
My criticism comes from the characters. I didn’t really care for any of them, nor was I able to empathize with them. One of the things I love about Sanderson’s characters is that they stick with me long after I’ve finished the book. But I don’t get that with the cast of Steelheart. Heck, I couldn’t even remember the main character’s name. I think half of this is personal (some of the characters had personality traits that I don’t like) and half of this is light character building. Considering David is joining a clandestine group, secrecy of identity and past makes some sense, but it is hard to care about a character who isn’t much more than a name, physical description, and snarky remarks.
My issues with characters aside, Steelheart is a great read. This book is mostly a story of revenge that evolves into more and definitely hooked me into wanting to read more. I look forward to books that explore the origin of Epics and more growth of our core characters.