Rummanah Aasi
 I had my first book club discussion for this new school year. The students were very excited to read Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. Many of them thoroughly enjoyed the book and are looking forward to hearing more movie news (the book is supposedly heading towards the big screen). While I liked the concept of the book and thought it was a fun read, it left me wanting more.


Description: 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 wills.
  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.


Review: Steelheart is a nice mash up of an X-men like comic and a traditional revenge story set in a dystopian Chicago setting. The formula though not new, Sanderson provides plenty of action and nonstop thrills with plenty of twists and turns until the very last page.
 Twelve years ago, a mysterious event called Calamity began turning random ordinary humans into evil Epics gifted with various combinations of superpowers, however, they are not invincible. The attention grabbing prologue sets the tone for the story as we learn of David Charleston's special vendetta against the Epics, particularly the ruler of Newago, a city cloaked in perpetual darkness and made entirely of solid steel thanks to its ruler, Steelheart, who killed his father 10 years ago. David has become obsessed with Steelheart in hopes he can track down the Epic's Achilles heel. He manages to make contact with a cell of Epic-killing Reckoners led by legendary mastermind Jon Phaedrus who is also known as simply "Prof". 
  We take the high octane ride with David as he tries to wrap his head around the mission of the Reckoners while going on car and motorcycle chases, secret missions, and avoiding huge explosions and hails of gunfire with high-tech weaponry. There is also a bit of a lull in the middle of the book as the Reckoners try to come up with a plan of how to attack Steelheart, but luckily it closes with a climactic battle with Epic Steelheart and a nice twist at the end. David shockingly realizes that not all Epics are evil. 
  While I liked the nice play of ordinary human trying to fight super villains and the fast paced plot, there is not much meat to the characters. I was hoping we would get layers to the characters, particularly that of Prof and Megan who play vital roles in the story, but that never happened. I also thought many of the names of the Epic and their powers were silly and stupid such as Deathpoint, Faultline, Pink Pinkess, and El Brass Bullish Dude to name a few. The book does not end in a cliffhanger, but it does raise several questions that will leave some readers clamoring for more. Definitely recommend this book to teens who love superhero movies, reluctant readers, and to those who are counting down the days until the next superhero movie to hit the big screens.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong violence and some gore in the book. Recommended for strong Grade 8 readers and up.

If you like this book try: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (Reckoners #2), Young Elites by Marie Lu, Darkest Minds byAlexandra Bracken
3 Responses
  1. I'm surprised that there isn't more to the characters. Hm... might wait to see what you think of the next one if you read it. It also might be perfect for a couple of readers I know. :)


  2. Kindlemom Says:

    Glad that your students really liked this.. It does look like a fun different kind of read. I had no idea they were making a movie of it.


  3. Aw it's too bad the characters don't have more depth. And you're right about some of the names being ridiculous. I don't think I'll read this one but will let my brother know about it since he likes superhero movies and books with lots of action.


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