The Reckoners’ Plot to Kill Steelheart

“Every single person who manifested powers — we call them Epics — turned out to be evil.”

David Charleston has devoted his young life to the study of Epics. He has a clue about the weakness of one of the most powerful Epics ever — Steelheart — and he wants the Reckoners to help him assassinate the invulnerable Emperor of Chicago.

Remember, if you are interested in this book, click the mouse on the book cover to order it from your local CLEVNET library.

Book cover for Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

TITLE:

STEELHEART

WRITER:

by Brandon Sanderson

SERIES:

The Reckoners Series #1

GENRE:

Fantasy, Dystopian Fiction, Superhero Fiction,

DESCRIPTORS:

Superheroes, Super Villains, Dystopian Society, Revenge, Assassination, Criminal Activities, Justice, Powers, Weaknesses, Freedom Fighters, Coming of Age, Terrorism,

SUMMARY:

Since Calamity burst in the sky, the world has had super powered people called Epics. They are all inhuman monsters who have no regard for human life. The weakest epics become scary villains while the strongest become tyrants.

David Charleston, our narrator, hates Epics in general and Steelheart in particular. Ten years ago, Steelheart killed David’s father while the boy watched.

Now a young man, David finagles his way into a cell of the Reckoners — humans who kill Epics.

I have a goal. I’ll see Steelheart dead. That is all that matters.

Known for killing low level and occasionally medium level epics, the Reckoners aren’t too keen on attempting to kill Steelheart who is one of the most powerful, invulnerable epics ever.

But David has a clue to Steelheart’s weakness as well as notebooks crammed with information about epics in Newcago (formerly Chicago) and elsewhere in the Fractured States. With that, the possibility of killing Steelheart and dismantling his tyrannical government seems to be just within the Reckoner’s grasp.

Of course, you know an all-powerful invulnerable Epic isn’t going to go down easily . . .

WHY I LIKED IT:

I enjoy superhero stories, especially when they aren’t the standard superhero fare found in the comic books of Marvel and DC comics. Steelheart is a superhero novel without superheroes.

Light, breezy and fun to read — I love a narrator prone to creating metaphors that fail in amusing ways — this story can work for adults as well as teens.

However, if there’s one fact we can hold on to, it’s this: every Epic has a weakness.

Brandon Sanderson is a master at ratcheting the tension. You’d think that would be easy with ordinary humans taking on super powered epics but he isn’t content to let it lie there. Complications always crop up and it seems David and the Reckoners will come to a bad end long before they get their chance to kill Steelheart.

Brandon also pays attention to creating memorable characters. Each Reckoner is different and reacts to David’s presence among them differently.

The Epics aren’t just generic stand-ins for Marvel or DC comic superheroes. They have an odd and varied assortment of powers and each has at least one weakness that can be exploited. And all of them appear to have no moral compass or human empathy.

The novel does not end on a cliff-hanger, but there is obviously more to the story. Mr. Sanderson also left teasing hints to questions — such as ‘How did the Epics come to be? Why are there no good Epics? What is Calamity and where did it come from?’ — questions that will hopefully be addressed in future books.

NOTES:

If you like ebooks, you can get a copy of Steelheart from the CLEVNET eMedia Collection in both EPUB (Nook) and Kindle formats.

Steelheart is available as an audio book on compact disc from the CLEVNET library system. Macleod Andrews does an excellent job narrating this story. It sounded like he had a lot of fun with it.

READALIKES:

If you enjoy Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart, you might like some of the other super-hero genre novels published in the last few years. One of my favorites is Soon I Will be Invincible by Austin Grossman. Doctor Impossible, a super genius villain, launches one last plan for world domination. Meanwhile Fatale, a cyborg, gets a shot at becoming a member of the Champions as they search for the missing Corefire — Doctor Impossible’s nemesis. Humor mixed with adventure and suspense makes for a memorable tale.

You should also try The Liminal People by Ayize Jama-Everett. Taggert can heal or hurt somebody with a touch of his power. He works for a super powered Moroccan criminal lord to whom he owes fealty. Until, that is, he gets an urgent call from a woman he loved and lost back in the United States. Their daughter has been kidnapped. He risks everything to get to the States and begins hunting down the young woman only to discover she may harbor even more raw power than he does.

I made a list of other books with super-heroes and villains as central characters for this blog titled: In and Out of Capes: My Superhero Reading List.

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