Thursday, February 27, 2014

Steelheart Review

I'm a little late to the party (as in, this book was released way back in September of last year), but I recently finished Brandon Sanderson's book Steelheart, and thought I would take the chance to review the book today.

But first, a disclaimer - I have never read Sanderson's Alcatraz series, so for me this is my first foray into any of this author's non-fantasy, young adult genre writings.

If you had any doubts of Sanderson's ability to craft amazing and compelling stories outside of the epic fantasy genre, this book firmly puts those to rest. It is set in a post-apocalyptic future Earth, where the world has been taken over by the rise of Epics, which for all-intents and purposes are comic-book-style superheroes - but with one decidedly important twist: these humans with extraordinary gifts are all, technically, super-villains.

This one fact goes a long way from this feeling like some sort of Marvel ripoff. Not only are all of the Epics evil to one degree or another, but their powers don't seem to have direct Marvel or DC Comics counterparts. And even more interesting, each and every Epic has some sort of fatal weakness that, if exploited, allows him or her to be defeated.

Opposing these super-villains are a group called the Reckoners. This is a ragtag group of skilled individuals, who despite the lack of any super-powers, travel the world assassinating the Epics. And when the Reckoners travel to Chicago, which is ruled by an Epic named Steelheart, they stumble across a young man who has witnessed something extraordinary - the seemingly invulnerable Steelheart bleed.

The ensuing tale is very well done. The characters are memorable, the world-building is woven in expertly, and the plot is fast-paced. In typical Sanderson fashion, it ends with an epic (no pun intended) battle, topped off with a series of surprising-yet-inevitable reveals, and brings perfect closure to the central tale, even though the book is clearly the first of several more to come.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I highly recommend this book. Even as someone who is not a major fan of the superhero genre (with several notable exceptions!), I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you are a fan of any of Sanderson's work, of the superhero genre, or even just the science fiction and fantasy genre, you'll love this book. Pick up a copy at Amazon today. You won't regret it.

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