No one really knows where the Calamity came from or what it really was. All they know is that when it appeared in the sky, ordinary human beings started turning extraordinary. In awe of supernatural powers and abilities, people started paying respect to these ‘Epics’ and bowing to their authority. For their part, the Epics craved this authority and power and used it to rule --- rule with an iron fist. Overnight, cities were transformed into wastelands as the Epics put ordinary humans under their judgment and took control.
"The Epics' superpowers are amazing and awful at the same time, and seemingly more amazing is that regular humans (not other superheroes or humans with superpower suits) fight back and fight back well."
A particularly nasty and seemingly invincible Epic rules what was once Chicago. Nicknamed Steelheart for not only his invincibility but also his ability to turn anything into steel, Steelheart keeps his friends close and his enemies even closer. No one dares to defy him, particularly lowly humans. One human being, though, has seen Steelheart bleed, and David is determined to see Steelheart bleed again --- or else. After studying Steelheart and other Epics for years, David thinks he knows how to exploit the mighty Epic’s weakness, but he’s going to need the help of the Reckoners, a mysterious band of ordinary humans who fight back and take down Epics.
Only, David isn’t sure the Reckoners will be willing to let him into their group and be dumb enough to fight potentially the strongest Epic in the world. With no other alternative, though, David decides to force himself onto the Reckoners while they carry out a mission to take out a lower Epic. Naturally, David doesn’t think his half-formed ideas through, and although the Reckoners' mission is a success and David manages to join the group, David is immediately considered suspicious and too reckless for his own good.
What follows after David joins the Reckoners is an all-out tour de force. Bit by bit, both David and the Reckoners set a plan in motion to try and stop Steelheart. This includes multiple run-ins with lesser Epics, arms dealers, high-speed chases, big guns and new gadgets that could only exist in the world of Epics. David will have to prove himself, though, to the Reckoners' mysterious leader, Prof, and one of their special agents, Megan, and it seems everyone is hiding secrets. The other problem is that Steelheart is invincible and no one, not even David, knows what Steelheart’s weakness is or how to stop him. Failure isn’t an option, and David and the Reckoners are willing to give everything --- including their lives --- to bring an end to Steelheart once and for all.
STEELHEART is pure action from start to finish and won’t let you catch your breath. Author Brandon Sanderson doesn’t take his foot off the gas pedal once, and just when you think a high-speed chase or an encounter with an Epic is over, you turn the page and the action picks up right where it left off. The Epics' superpowers are amazing and awful at the same time, and seemingly more amazing is that regular humans (not other superheroes or humans with superpower suits) fight back and fight back well. So strap in and get ready for an adrenaline-filled ride that has only just begun.
Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on September 13, 2013