Book Review: “Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson

(This won’t be a full book review because I don’t want to get into spoilers)

I had been reading Steelheart for the past month; it was a Christmas present from my sister and I was determined not to take a year finishing it (like I did with Mistborn). So I started reading it, a few chapters at a time, nothing serious. My depression was king of bad this month so I was more interested in drowning my sorrows in YouTube than a good book. But last night my internet wasn’t working, and while I waited for it come back on I grabbed Steelheart and figured I’d read a few pages. Those few pages turned into a hundred and I finished the book.

I couldn’t put it down. It started getting later a later but I had to know what happened. Granted, I was reading the last big chunk of the book so a lot of exciting things were happening. But I also realized that I couldn’t put the book down because Brandon Sanderson is such a good freaking writer.

Steelheart is about a world where superheroes (or Epics, as they’re called in the book) are inexplicably born as a second sun (called Calamity) rises in the sky; they begin terrorizing non-epics (essentially, humans that didn’t get any superpowers when Calamity showed up). A team of human rebels called The Reckoners take down low-level Epics with varying degrees of success, but have never tried to take down anyone as powerful as Steelheart, the Epic that runs Newcago (a steel Chicago turned thus by Steelheart’s powers ten years prior).

The story centers on David, a kid with a vengeance. When he was eight years old Steelheart killed his father, and he spent the last ten years learning everything he could about Epics in an attempt to take them down. David is good with a gun, but a bit crazy when he improvises during a battle. He eventually catches the eye of the Reckoners and they begrudgingly bring him onto their team because of his advanced knowledge of the guys they’re trying to take down.

The characters are standard, lovable and interesting Sanderson characters: David, the main character who, even though he’s seeking revenge, keeps a positive attitude while making terrible metaphors; Megan, the beautiful and angry Reckoner that David can’t seem to get out of his mind; Prof, the leader of the Reckoners and the brains behind every operation, who seems to have something dark in his past; Tia, a hacker with an obsession with Cola drinks; Cody, a man humorously torn between his southern and Scottish roots; and lastly Abraham, a French-Canadian gun-lover who’s quiet strength and belief in potential good Epics help show David that there’s hope in the world.

I really, really want to go into details (plot spoilers, let’s be honest) about the twists and turns the characters get into—the big reveals at the end of people who you thought were one person and turns out they were another—but I don’t want to ruin the book for you. Just promise you’ll go out today and get a copy of Steelheart as soon as you can. I already have plans this weekend to get my hands on the sequel, Firefight.


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