Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Monday, 9 February 2015 04:06
Title: Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publication Date: September 26th, 2013
Genres: Science fiction, Young adult
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

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


Initial Reaction before reading:

(Introducing the Bitmoji version of myself!)

Oh god, this is something I would have never expected even in my wildest dreams. Super bad superheroes? I'M IN! Say no more because I'm already hooked. Give me, give me, give me, give me, give me, give me!

Numerous reactions while reading:

WHAT A PROLOGUE! This is so frickin' good!




Final Reaction after reading:


So, this sequence tells you how I felt during the entire process of reading this book. Need I say more? Okay, I will :D

Steelheart is basically a comic book in novel form. It was so good that at times I felt like I was dreaming because how come I had never gotten to this book before? I mean, come on, it's a Brandon Sanderson novel! How could there be any hesitation?! Well, my past self just missed some amazing stuff! And right now, my present self is gloating in happiness.
"I've seen Steelheart bleed."

There was no possible way I could have ever stopped myself from reading further after that. As this is my first ever Sanderson book, I can now relate to how people rave over his works. If he can pack a punch in just one line, then what brilliant stuff the entire book would hold!

I, for one, am a huge fan of superheroes and antiheroes. I love them more than any other supernatural creature out there. I don't need to be in the mood for them. I'm always ready to read anything superhero or antihero related. You can understand how easily this book clicked with me. It was love at first sight. It was magic, whatever you want to call it! I fell for this book. Hard.

The whole story is set in a post apocalyptic world, in a city called Newcago which is the newer version of Chicago. Calamity, an astronomic phenomenon appeared in the sky and from then on, random people got super powers. They were called the Epics. 

These Epics were ruthless, fighting continuously for dominance and more power. They wrecked a lot of major cities and ruled them. Newcago is ruled by Steelheart. A mighty Epic who has an ability to turn all non-living matter around him to steel and also send energy blasts from his hands. If you've read Injustice by Tom Taylor, then he's a bit like Superman turned bad. The only difference is Steelheart's way, way badder. 

Since he's so unbeatable (several Epics had tried to challenge him and failed miserably), he demands obedience from all the people of Newcago and in return Newcago will have electricity, food and all the other essential stuff. So, the people don't really have a choice. 

Before he became so mighty and famous, years ago, he destroyed a little boy's father right in front of him because somehow the little boy's father made a scratch on him. When thousands of bullets didn't leave a single mark on him, the father's bullet did. He was so enraged he destroyed the whole scene and killed everyone there. That was a mark of his rising power. The boy survived though. His name was David.

David dedicated his whole life researching about Steelheart and other Epics and how they can be killed. All Epics have certain weaknesses. You need to observe them really well to find out what they fear the most. He also spent his life researching and searching for a group of people called the Reckoners. 

The Reckoners fight against these evil Epics. They kill them and create rebellions. They are hope to the people, that the people still have a chance of defeating these Epics. David wants to join them. And he wants to make Steelheart bleed again.

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

You would think that this is one of those super fun books with lots of action only and nothing else. You're wrong on one part, it is super fun but it also has a lot of depth. This book actually does raise a lot of philosophical questions. Why are all Epics bad? If one has superpowers, does that make them bad? And how can they just appear due to Calamity and defy physics itself? There's a lot of room for pondering like this. And I love books that leave me thinking.

The world building was excellent. Newcago is completely steeled. As in, everything is purely made out of steel because of Steelheart. His anger when David's father made a scratch on him turned everything to steel. He also had an underground city called the Steel catacombs to be built but it was so vast and confusing, he gave up on finishing it. 

The excellent world building with Sanderson's brilliant narrative skills let my mind visualize the scenes and the world he was talking about. I didn't even have to try to visualize it. As I read the words, the pictures just conjured themselves in my mind. His narration was that great. I especially enjoyed visualizing the action scenes. (A little side ote: This might be something really embarrassing but I sometimes imagined myself to be in those fighting scenes, killing Epics with victory music playing on the background. It made me feel so badass!)
“You can't be so frightened of what might happen that you are unwilling to act.”

Coming to the characters, David was a super nerdy and a super fun main character. He wasn't kickass and he wanted to be kickass and fight Epics like how I sometimes envisioned myself to which was really great for me because he was so much more easy to relate to. Each one of the Reckoners were unique and very interesting to read about. There wasn't a lot of characterization since like I mentioned it's a comic in prose form but that wasn't really a problem for me. The characters had this comic book vibe to them, you know. 

The best part about this book was obviously the Epics.First awesome thing about the Epics was their names. Deathpoint, Steelheart, Nightweilder, oh my god, these are such cool names! Secod awesome thing about them was their powers and weakness. The Epics were also very, very intriguing.

I also enjoyed the parts where the Reckoners found more clues leading to Steelheart's weakness. I loved how they planned and schemed to take down Steelheart and not one part bored me. I literally couldn't put it down. 

I read this book while I was attending my cousin's wedding and every bit of free time I got, I read this book. I rarely slept during her wedding which was a total blast by the way and while I was on my way back home, I avoided sleep to read this book even though I felt really tired and sleepy. I never do that. For me, sleep always comes first. I was really surprised with myself for putting off sleep and reading this masterpiece. And I'm really glad I did!

To conclude, the plot was engaging, fast-paced and action filled, the characters were total badasses, I eluded sleep to read this book which basically means that Steelheart is one of my top favorite books and I'm gonna force everyone to read it.

P.S: I'm coming for you Firefight!


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