Steelheart Review

By Brandon Sanderson

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Print Length: 386 pages

Release Year: 2003

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.13

Available on Amazon and B&N

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 will.

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. (Goodreads)

Brandon Sanderson only took one book to make it on my favourite authors’ list. Now, I aim to read every book he’s ever written. While I’m very excited to start reading the Mistborn series, I decided to start with The Reckoner’s trilogy because I could acquire the first book, Steelheart, for only a dollar. I had high expectations going into this book, and gods bless Brandon Sanderson for delivering! 

Steelheart presents an interesting view of the superhero genre, arguing that “absolute power absolutely corrupts.” Sanderson takes this idea and just goes for it full force, introducing us to a unique world where those with powers are exclusively villainous. For modern-day readers, this series is a lot The Boys in its depiction of a corrupt superpowered society and the anti-hero vigilantes that seek to change it. This unexpected take and the plethora of twists woven throughout make this one of the best YA superpower stories I’ve ever read. 

I’ve grown to expect Sanderson to do the unexpected, and this book didn’t fail me. Sanderson is great at making everything go wrong for our characters, forcing them to rely on their abilities to get them out of certain situations. This often leads to near-death experiences because no person can succeed at everything. These catastrophic character failures made me fall in love with Sanderson’s writing. He does the unexpected, and he always manages to catch me off guard. You won’t find much– if any– dues ex machina here.

This being only the second book I’ve read by Sanderson, I don’t really have the best frame of reference to compare it to. The other book I read, Skyward, is his most recent foray into the Young Adult category. Skyward is exceptional, one of the best YA science-fiction books I’ve ever read. Steelheart, having been written almost 20 years ago, is only proof to me that Sanderson is one of the best writers of our time. I feel this wasn’t his best work, and if I’m right, I don’t know how I will handle the greatness that I’ve yet to discover.

Subjective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Objective Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Final Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.


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