Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
September 30, 2013 | 4:41 pm
By Juli Monroe
Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. While almost everything he writes would be classified in the fantasy/sci-fi genre, he manages to make everything he write fresh. So when I saw he was going to tackle superheroes, I knew I was in for a good ride. And he didn’t disappoint. In Steelheart he addresses the question, “What if there were no superheroes? Just villains?” It’s an intriguing idea, and he didn’t disappoint.
The main character, David Charleston, witnesses the murder of his father when he’s eight at the hands of Steelheart, one of the Epics–as super-powered people are called in the series. Not only does he witness the murder, he also sees Steelheart bleed, which is noteworthy because the Epic is supposed to be immune to all damage.
David spends the next ten years studying Epics to learn about them: their powers, weaknesses and personalities. He has one goal. To kill Steelheart. When the story begins, he’s finally devised a plan to kill Steelheart, and he tracks down the Reckoners, a group of humans devoted to killing Epics. He presents them his plan, and they decide to go after Steelheart.
It may sound like a typical revenge plot, and it is. What makes this one special is the skill with which Sanderson put it together. He drops clues and weaves ideas together until they all come together in the end. As you’re reading, remember that Steelheart was written for young adults, but it’s not your typical YA book. While completely accessible to the intended audience, it has more than enough depth for adult readers.
I caught many of the dropped hints and managed to work out some of what was going on. My husband, who is better at it than I am, picked up on a couple more, but neither of us figured out the big reveal: Steelheart’s vulnerability. Even though all the clues were there. So don’t be worried that it’s too simplistic. It’s not.
Morality. What it is to be human. The emotional effect of revenge. All these were covered in the book, but none of it was heavy-handed. It’ll make you think, while entertaining readers with an interesting plot and some fantastic fight scenes. It’s a great book, and I’m going to give it my first 5 e-reader rating! It’s as close to perfect as I’ve seen. To be certain, I waited until my husband finished it, to see if he noticed a flaw I’d missed. Nope, he agrees with me. This is one fantastic book.
Good thing there’s a sequel coming next year. I can hardly wait!