Thoughts on Steelheart

27 September 2013 08:22

This morning I finished reading Steelheart. Yes, yes, I know a lot of you will grumble at me reading instead of writing during my commute, but I just couldn’t stop!

Regular readers will know I am a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s work, so when I heard he was doing a book on supervillains I immediately pre-ordered it. The premise of Steelheart is pretty simple: ten years ago a great burst in the sky granted superpowers to a significant number of people. And instead of using these powers for good, as we often see in the superhero genre, pretty much every "Epic" as they are called is corrupted by their power (interestingly, Brandon did a guest post on John Scalzi’s blog explaining the motivations for writing this story).

The protagonist of the story is David, a man who has dedicated his life to studying the Epics and their weaknesses after Steelheart (the Epic who rules Chicago, or rather, Newcago) killed his father. He gets in touch with a group of men and women known as the Reckoners, the only humans willing and capable of taking down epics. Together they decide to go after Steelheart, to show the world that they can fight back against the Epics. The only problem is that Steelheart is impervious to pretty much anything.

I started reading this book on Tuesday evening, and finished it this morning. While by no means a record for a book this size (the record is held by The Elves of Cintra by Terry Brooks, which I finished in less than a day), it is below the average. This is usually a good sign.

So, what did I think about this book? As I said� before, I couldn’t stop reading. While this doesn’t always mean I really like the story (it can also happen when I really really need to find out how something ends so I can finally be rid of a book), it does happen most often with books I enjoy. Steelheart is no different in this regard: I absolutely loved it. The book is very suspenseful. From the get go, I wanted to know the secret behind what happened when Steelheart killed David’s father, what his weakness was, and how the story played out. Whenever I felt things were going a bit too easy for the protagonists, something unexpected would happen that thrust things back into action. The only thing I didn’t like was the unresolved story thread regarding Firefight, but when I turned to the last page I found out that a sequel is coming out next year, titled… Firefight.

I can definitely recommend this book.