Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

By Clinton Williams

Steelheart is the tale of David Charleston, a young man living in a world of superhumans,better known as Epics. An astronomical abnormality called Calamity appeared granting powers to a select, but large, group of individuals. Now, people can do everything imaginable from the vast world of comic books. David and his father were not granted powers, but David’s father had faith the Epics would rise to be heroes. The tale opens up with 8-year old David sitting in the bank with his father trying to obtain a loan from a bank when an Epic calling himself Deathpoint enters the bank. Deathpoint uses his Epic power, which appears to be flesh disintegration, to murder people he chooses to, simply to make a statement. Why steal the money, when he can take whatever he wants due to the destructive nature of his Epic power? Deathpoint shows no mercy as he takes life after life by simply pointing his finger.

Steelheart appears at the bank door, described as “Herculean.” Comparable to Superman, he flies into the room and confronts Deathpoint.  Steelheart gives the lesser Epic an ultimatum: serve him or die. This shocks David, yet his father retains faith in Steelheart. Soldiers burst into the bank in a futile attempt to end the situation. Amidst the commotion, Deathpoint approaches Steelheart from behind, in an attempt to kill the most powerful Epic. David’s father fires on Deathpoint, grazing Steelhearts cheek, but still hitting and killing Deathpoint. Steelheart’s rage is severe. He kills everyone in the bank that day, and later the rescue crews. He then uses his Epic power to transform the entire city of Chicago into steel. Steelheart declares the dominance of all Epic beings over human beings. He also establishes his dominance over all Epics. David is the only one to survive the destruction of the bank.

For 10 years Steelheart rules with an iron fist. David studies everything known about Epics,  their weaknesses, all of their Epic powers, as well as their daily habits. He also compiles knowledge on the only known human resistance, known as the Reckoners. David is able to find the Reckoners, as well as persuade them that Steelheart himself can be defeated and killed. David may be the only living person to see the invulnerable Steelheart bleed. The problem is, he has no idea how.

This book initially reminded me of the ABC hit series Heroes. That notion changes drastically as I continued to turn the pages. Brandon Sanderson does an excellent job unfolding the tale in a way to keep readers interested and engaged. The characters come to life as they hold true to their values and motivations. David truly wants Steelheart dead, and he will do anything to bring down who many view as an immortal. The guy is pretty much Superman, but with the added ability to change inorganic items to steel. The risks David is willing to take keeps you on the edge of your seat as you contemplate every possibility for his survival. And did I mention the powers? Wow! Sanderson’s powers and their descriptions live up to the name Epic.These guys would give characters from DC and Marvel a run for their money! The storytelling is great and fun to read. If you enjoy world ending due to humans getting superpowers, well, read Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart today to see it the fate of mankind.

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