Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte Press/ Gollancz
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.
Steelheart is an action packed thrill ride from the first page to the last. Sanderson has created a seemingly straightforward world where super powered villains (Epics) have taken over. As with any Sanderson novel, he’s crafted an intricate world, compelling characters, and managed to make the reader think.
The main character, David, is an 18-year-old kid who has dedicated this entire life to studying the Epics. David is socially awkward, headstrong, and annoying at time. At the beginning of the novel, I had a hard time connecting with him. I had an even harder time liking him as a character. I found him annoying and young. This isn’t to say Sanderson’s writing is subpar or mediocre. Steelheart is a young adult novel and David is a reflection of the demographic this novel is written for. In that, it’s a success through and through. However, by the end of the novel, David matured and grew into a different version of him. A version I was better able to enjoy.
As I get older, I noticed that I don’t enjoy young adult fantasy like I used to. I find everything about those novels lackluster and missing key details and depth. Luckily for Steelheart, it is NOT missing any key detail, depth, or world building. Sanderson is a master at his craft regardless of the age group he’s writing for. Steelheart on its surface appears to be a straightforward superhero and super villain story, but interesting changes to the typical narrative, questions asks, and philosophies introduced created a truly unique novel for just about any reader.
If you’re on the fence about reading this novel, read the prologue. The prologue is easily one of the best parts of the novel because it sets up the tone, direction, and reader expectations. Once you start reading, you will not be able to stop.
Also, check out my review of Mitosis (The Reckoners 1.5)