All the comics in the world couldn’t have prepared you for David’s world in Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. The heroes we have read about, flying through the skies with their metallic capes, abilities to deflect bullets, predict courses of events, and turn things into steel or dust, are not heroes. The only thing they have become are villains. These villains have taken society by a choke hold, rooting fear in every normal persons heart, and driven them into the catacombs beneath the street’s. Above the catacombs, the gone-bad superheroes have taken possession of the city, and they are called Epics.
The Epics are exactly as the name implies. Their abilities go above and beyond the more well known incredible men of our present days: those born with mutations in their genetics which allow their skin to stretch further than the normal person, or giving them superhuman flexibility, allowing them to charge electricity through their bodies that would normally have stopped the human heart from beating.
No. The Epics in Sanderson’s book are more than that. Genetic mutations are nothing in comparison to their powers.
These Epics defy physics. They defy natural order. They defy everything.
If you’re human, the last thing you want to do, is defy an Epic, especially if that particular Epic happens to govern and rule the city you have unfortunately been born into.
David was just a little boy when the high-Epic Steelheart took hold of his city. It was during a time when Epics were causing mass hysteria and openly killing innocent people for the thrill. It was also a time of gang-like wars between Epics, fighting for territory amongst each other like deities or gods.
David’s father, who had believed that not all Epics were cruel and heartless, made the mistake of saving Steelheart’s life during one of these turf wars between his beloved Epic and another high-Epic. And Steelheart showed his gratitude by killing David’s father right in front of him.
Since the death of his father, David has devoted his life to understanding Epics and discovering their weaknesses, in hopes to destroy Steelheart, the epic who cannot be harmed by any device across the world. Steelheart, as implied by his name, has the ability to turn anything into steel, which he does to the entire city of Newcago. With the help of other Epics, Steelheart has draped the world of Newcago in perpetual darkness.
The only way David believes he will ever get revenge, is by joining a group of orchestrated fighters, called the reckoners, who fight against the powerful Epics. In order the get what he wants, David must join these freedom fighters to seek vengeance on Steelheart, the powerful epic who destroyed his life in one day. But can simple humans with guns and explosive toys take down Steelheart? Can anyone?
This another one of those books that involves some pretty graphic violence and gore. If you tend to shy away from anything that may be too bloody or violent, it may not be the read for you. I, for one, tend to shy away from books that involve graphic rape or suicide. It’s not my thing and it does make me very uncomfortable at times. So, if you feel that way about gore and violence or war, I’d maybe get this from the library and see if it’s your thing before purchasing. I did the same thing for Lucky by Alice Sebold.
As I have said in other posts, Sanderson has a fantastic gift for world building. This story was real and believable, even with all of the superheroes gone rabid. He effectively describes all of the scenes, the weaponry, the tactics, and the mechanics, in such a way that it does seem as if it is all real. The research he must of put into the technology and how it works makes me think that his writing room would probably the holy grail for science fiction geeks like me. I imagine myself going through his drawers, shuffling through his notes, finding blue prints and designs, beyond my feeble brains imagination. I’d love to pick this authors brains for a few hours.
Now, I’m not very biased in this review. This is the first book I’ve read that has anything to do with the basic stereotype of superheroes. However I’m not unfamiliar with Marvel Comics. I loved all the super hero comics. These are some of my favorites:
I did find certain plot twists were kind of predictable. The twists, of course, I will not be sharing in order to avoid any spoilers for anyone who is interested in giving this book a go, which I do recommend firmly. However, I’m going to be honest and tell you that this book took me a while to get through. It was a breath of fresh air, the be able to read this, put it down for a few days, and come back with full understanding of what was going on.
In regards to the plot twists, I did find that they were a little too predictable for me. Unfortunately, these were twists that were at the heart of the plot and I was a little disappointed to have known what was happening. I usually revel in being right about things, but I’d like to walk away from a story feeling like I was slapped in the face by the twist. It took the main character, David, a realistic amount of time to catch up to these realizations and for that I give props to Sanderson, because everything was done naturally. Throughout the book, I found myself being one of those annoying people in the crowd at a movie theater, screaming at the screaming banshee in a horror film, to just turn around.
The sequel to Steelheart is Firefight. It’s out and in stores now, so I’m definitely going to pick this one up. Despite some of the predictability, it is just such a fun read. I can’t wait to be back in David’s head and turning the world on it’s axis to fight for the freedom of mankind once again. I didn’t even read the prologue at the end of Steelheart for Firefight because I don’t want to spoil myself. I don’t do that. Ever. So that is a very good sign on my end that I’m hooked.
I’m hooked. I’m hooked. My brain is cooked!
Until next time 🙂
Please, let me know if you’ve read Steelheart and let me know what you think? Do you love it? Hate it? Can’t live without reading the next installment?