Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Brandon has written another fantastic book. Brandon is well known for his fantasy and unique magic systems.
He takes it a step farther in this post-apocalyptic action novel with Super-Villians with amazing superpowers. The only people fighting them are the “Reckoners” who study these super-powered people and search out their weaknesses.
Steelheart is the name of one of the main villians and this is the story of how a boy who saw Steelheart bleed once searches for a way to kill him in revenge for the death of his father.
Setting: Some sort of cosmic burst gave some people extraordinary powers. And, in this world, absolute power corrupts absolutely. These super-people (called Epics) desire to rule over people and to crush their will. They have destroyed cities and created their own little kingdoms within a post-apocalyptic America. The story happens in what was once Chicago. The descriptions of the ruin and squalor are so realistic I had to keep looking out my window
Characters: David is a very interesting character. As a boy he saw Steelheart kill his father (this is not a Spoiler because it is on the jacket sleeve and it happens in the prologue). David studies the Epics and wants to become a Reckoner because he wants revenge. Brandon does not shy away from this motivation, even addressing it head-on with some dialogue between the characters. We also get to know some other characters – members of the Reckoners. Megan, who is beautiful and dangerous and close to David’s age. The leader of the group, a guy with a lot of science to help them in their fight. And other members of the team, an arms dealer, security people, and even a little bit about the Epics (not in first person POV, but in some unexpected ways).
Plot: The main plot is about trying to learn about Steelheart and his super-partners in order to try to kill them. There is also a plot line for romance and friendship and trust. Things get pretty complicated by the middle of the book. And by the end, you’ll be blown away as Brandon keeps ratcheting things up every step of the way. So, in some ways, it is superficially similar to caper plot of Mistborn. Yet, it is more about fighting your inner demons.
Conflict: Obviously, the biggest conflict is with the Reckoners and the Epics. And with David and Stellheart and the Reckoners. And then David’s revenge. And then the motivations of the team of Reckoners. And then the conflict between living with the known bad versus pushing for a change that could be worse. And . . . there’s a lot to thing about in this fairly short (by Brandon’s standards) book.
Text: I loved the different super-powers and how the weaknesses fit in with those. I loved the character interactions and the great dialogue as well.
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