Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Steelheart series
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
Rating: 4/5 stars
I copy a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program for review. It was a very well done science fiction/post-apocalyptic/dystopia/superhero type of read. I enjoyed it, but still enjoy Sanderson’s fantasy book quite a bit more.
Ten years ago Calamity came and gave certain men and women extraordinary powers. These men and women are called Epics and they didn’t use their powers for good, but to enslave and control the rest of humanity. David is an ordinary boy who lives in a city ruled by the Epic called Steelheart. Steelheart killed David’s father but right before that David’s father did the unthinkable and made Steelheart bleed. Now David wants to take Steelheart down, but in order to do that he needs to be accepted into the Reckoners. The Reckoners are a rebel group intent on killing all Epics.
This is a well done super hero/post-apocalyptic/dystopia book. The whole classification of Epic powers is very Sanderson, it is very detailed and somewhat complex. Also with the Epics there is one rule, every Epic has a weakness. The problem is finding out that weakness.
The book is very fast-paced and there is a lot of action and fighting. David works right from the beginning to become part of the Reckoners. After he meets up with the Reckoners it is one mission after another to take down certain Epics. All of this is leading to the big showdown between the Reckoners and Steelheart.
The world building is well done and very dystopia like. Basically humans are all subjects of Steelheart and make their livelihoods at his whim. Some humans live underground and off the grid. The whole city is made of Steel after Steelheart turned it that way. Also the city is eternally in darkness because of one of Steelhearts enforcers who has used his power over darkness to block out the sun.
David is a decent character but I had some trouble engaging with him. His one goal in life is to destroy Epics, particularly Steelheart. He has no goals or considerations outside of that. He is an absolute fountain of random Epic information. However, he is hard to relate to because he just hasn’t done anything except for plan to kill Epics. He does grow some as a character as the story continues and I hope in future books he becomes easier to engage with.
We meet a number of other characters among the Reckoners. They are all a bit stereotypical. You have the Professor, who plans things. A comic-relief guy and a girl who is mysterious and deadly and has secrets.
We meet a ton of Epics as well. They are somewhat interesting, but their weaknesses are all a bit random (and at times kind of corny). For example there is an Epic who can only be hurt by someone who is 37 years old.
The whole deal with this story is to try and piece together how the Reckoners are going to take down Steelheart before they do it. The whole time you are trying to guess and piece together whose weakness is what and unravel all the secrets of the Reckoners before Sanderson spells it out for you.
Overall an interesting start to a new superhero based dystopian young adult series. I honestly like Sanderson’s fantasy better. I thought these characters were a bit hard to engage with, partly because we meet so many characters. The Epics were a bit corny in very super-villain like ways, but still interesting. It’s a fun read and there’s some good world-building here. The system of Epics powers is very Sanderson in the way it is explained and classified.
I would recommend to those who love reading about superheroes. At times this reminded me a bit of Peter Clines Ex-Heroes series, except everyone who has super powers is bad in this book and there aren’t any zombies. I will definitely read the next book in the series, Firefight.