Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart (Reckoners #1)
Author:  Brandon Sanderson
Publisher:  Delacorte Press, 386 pages
Publication Date:  September 24, 2013

From Goodreads:
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.

I really enjoyed Steelheart, which is a mash-up of fantasy, dystopian, and science-fiction.

What I liked:
1.  World-building.  Loved this.  This world was basically our world until a star or something (it's a red thing in the sky) came and gave some people super powers.  However, instead of becoming heroes, they all become villains (they're called Epics) and they basically fight each other to dominate the regular people.  Now the world is comprised of different territories led by different Epics.  Their powers vary, from Epics who can create illusions to Epics who can point and turn people into dust.  Then there's Steelheart, who can blast people using only his hands and nothing can kill him.  He's supposedly invincible, unlike the other Epics who have weaknesses.   

2.  Characters.  David is a great main character.  He's awkward, goofy, sort of a nerd, who for the past 10 years has been studying the Epics because he wants revenge against Steelheart, who killed his father.  The book is told from his POV and I enjoyed his voice, which was filled with humor in an otherwise grim book (there's a lot of bad metaphors from him).  I also liked the members of the Reckoners, a rebel group who kill Epics.  

3.  Fast-paced, there's non-stop action in this book.  Heart pounding, life or death action.   A ton of chase and fight scenes.  There was basically no way to stop reading this book.

4.  The ending.  The book wraps up the main plot, but at the same time, there are twists (some I predicted, others not) that make me excited to read the next book.

What I didn't like:
My only complaint is that the book is almost too fast-paced and filled with action.  That may seem like a strange complaint (and I know I listed that as a positive), but I wanted more of the characters, more inner dialogue, etc. and the fact that there was no down time at all prevented that.  I need those quiet scenes in between all of the action so that I feel more of a connection with the characters.

I recommend this book, it's a fun and entertaining read.

Posted by:  Pam


  1. This sounds like a really interesting read. I like the mashup of genres. Great review, Pam.

  2. I've never read anything by this author but I know he's extremely popular. Love a male narrator, especially with a relatable voice. Glad this had some surprises and that it doesn't end on a huge cliffy. I think I need to research this author more and try him out.

  3. I think you might enjoy the second book more. It's still fast paced but I think we get to know the characters a little better!

  4. Glad you liked this one. I think this would be a great read for boys too. There aren't always books that boys and girls could equally love and I think this is one that they could.

  5. I definitely need to jump on the Sanderson bandwagon. Everyone raves about him and his books sound so freaking good. I love the twist on the whole superpower villain instead of hero thing. Great review!

  6. I have yet to read a single Brandon Sanderson book but it doesn't surprise me that you loved the world-building and characters. I've heard that echoed a lot about his books, and the world you described would prove for interesting ways to develop those characters. I think that the book could be too fast paced and full of action -- that makes me think of a lot of books that are more plot than character based. Most of my favorite books are character-oriented, so they have more to develop the characters, whereas the plot-oriented ones are exactly as you described.

    " I need those quiet scenes in between all of the action so that I feel more of a connection with the characters." -- Also exactly why I don't like a lot of action flicks.