“Where there are villains, there will be heroes,” my father said. “Just wait. They will come.”
Steelheart, The Reckoners Book One, written by Brandon Sanderson, is a YA sci-fi dystopian-esque tale of revenge. The ravaged world is controlled by Epics, people with fantastic abilities and massive egos. All the Epics are evil, concludes the main character, David. As a child, he barely survives an encounter with Steelheart, the Epic who eventually becomes the lord and master of Newcago, where David lives. Epics destroy and kill on a whim. When David’s father shoots Steelheart’s rival and saves Steelheart, his gracious act is repaid with violence. Steelheart kills him. David spends the next ten years plotting his revenge.
All Epics have a weakness and discovering Steelheart’s is the key to taking him down. David follows a group of rebels called The Reckoners, in the hope they will let him join them in their goal of removing evil Epics one by one. David is captured by one of The Reckoners, a pretty maiden named Megan, and they accept him into their group. David inspires them to shift their focus from destroying minor Epics to destroying the strongest Epic of all, Steelheart.
Questions arise. Are all the Epics completely evil? Or, as David’s father hoped, can they be good? Is killing Steelheart the best thing to do? What will happen to Newcago after his removal? Won’t another evil Epic just take his place, causing the cycle of violence and repression to start over? And the most important questions: What is Steelheart’s hidden weakness? How do they use it to kill him?
Everything David thinks he knows about Epics will be challenged. This fast-paced, action-packed revenge story sprinkled with bad metaphors and adolescent angst is a fun ride. It’s certainly geared toward adolescent males who are into guns, action, and all things geeky. This was my first Brandon Sanderson novel and I mostly enjoyed it, despite not fitting into the target audience mold. The ensemble of characters entertained with interesting and nerdy dialogue. David’s struggle with forming a decent metaphor throughout the book felt like an inside joke from Sanderson to other writers and made me chuckle out loud repeatedly. Sanderson’s writing style is comfortable and sufficiently detailed. The plot twists weren’t shocking. (I really should have guessed them—but that’s no fun!) I still read it to the end and am eager to start the sequel, Firefight.
“Wow,” I said. “It’s like…a banana farm for guns.”
“A banana farm,” Megan said flatly.
“Sure. You know, how bananas grow from their trees and hang down and stuff?”
“Knees, you suck at metaphors.”
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