Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
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There are no heroes.
Ten years ago, abortion 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 wills.
Nobody fights the Epics… nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, help they spend their lives studying Epics, about it 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..
I do have to say one thing that really bothered me about the novel, and its this: what on earth is Calamity? I mean, we briefly get told that it appears in the sky, and then the Epics come but other than that, it just really confused me. Especially when David would look up into the sky and see Calamity and I’m just like, okay, but what IS it? Is it a space ship? Is it a big ball of…something? Maybe this is a question that is going to be answered in the second book (which is titled Firefight, and is due sometime in fall of 2014), but it was something that drove me nuts. Like I said, maybe this was done on purpose, to increase the mysterious of Calamity and the Epics and where they came from, and how they got the way they did, etc, and in that case, I applaud it immensely because that left me feeling incredibly confused.
That being said, I thought this was an interesting take on the idea of superheroes. When I read Brandon’s acknowledgements in the back of the book, and how it was a story idea that he had for awhile, but he never wrote, and he put aside other ideas to focus on this, I thought that was kind of interesting. The premise of this story grabs at you, and I can imagine as the writer to come up with it, it had to be extremely compelling and probably a little irritating to have that story in your head, begging to be written.
The thing is, the idea of people with powers that abuse their powers isn’t anything that new. But the idea that they go around giving themselves names, and identities, like Steelheart or Firefight is just sickening when you realize all the terrible things they do. Its like watching Batman and Superman and Spiderman using their powers to take us over. Its just freaky. I don’t know why but the idea that they name themselves like superheroes just freaks me out. It makes them seem even more demented and cruel.
Because they are so CRUEL. They don’t even really work together as villains either. They’re completely driven by power and greed, and they take each other out in the quest for more power. They use each other, and abuse each other. And Steelheart is almost the worst of them all. He is in power over a city that really has it so much better than others. They’re fed, educated, they have electricity. They aren’t exactly happy but they’re so much better off than others. Its like, just because a tyrant takes care of you, doesn’t mean that tyrant is right, and David and the people he meets through the course of this novel, really see that, and even though its so unlikely and its so little against so many, they’re determined to take Steelheart down.
And the story is addicting the entire time. The people in this novel are action people. They’re intelligent and ready and determined and so while they plan, they also are people of action, and the action keeps you gripping your book the entire time because you honestly have no idea how anything is going to turn out. These are smart and well prepared people but you never know when things are going to go wrong. Honestly, this book would make an absolutely incredible movie. Between the drama, the tension, the planning and the action, it would make a seriously amazing movie.
Oh, the cliffhanger? Thanks Brandon Sanderson. Thanks for having a nice big reveal and then just leaving us hanging here! I can’t be the only one who is now anxiously waiting for Fall 2014, and all the amazing that is going to come with that.
4 out of 5 stars