Review of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart (Reckoners #1)
By: Brandon Sanderson
Release Date: September 24th 2013
Publisher: Delacorte
Barnes and Noble

Thank you Stephanie (Inspiring Insomnia) for letting me borrow your copy!

My Rating:

Summary (via Goodreads):
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.

The Story:
Steelheart is the first Brandon Sanderson book I’ve read. I’ve heard everyone singing his praises and after reading this I can see why. This book was fast paced (though I did struggle just a tiny bit a third in due to a reading slump) well written and action packed.  I absolutely loved Sanderson’s take on people with enhanced abilities and the ways that being ‘epic’ might just make those gifted lose their humanity. The beginning line, “I’ve seen Steelheart bleed” was so powerful and central to the entire story. I loved how Sanderson was able to transport me to the bank and seeing everything through David’s ten year old eyes.

There is a trend lately of showing the point of view of the villain or focusing more on those that could be heroes doing more for dark than good. Sanderson incorporated this idea by showing what would happen if all our traditionally thought of ‘heroes’ were actually evil and concerned more with themselves than the good of man. Super strength, invincibility, flight, teleportation–all of  these powers would be terrifying in the hands of the wrong people. What would it be like to live under the rule of only villains with no heroes to swoop in and save the day?

The world and landscape Sanderson described seemed plausible and incredibly interesting. He was able to draw in details and really give an unforgettable impression of a city under the strict rule of a dictator and people doing anything to stay alive. We only venture into Steelheart’s city but references are made of worse places where there is absolutely no order. I think we’ll see more about them in later books.

The Characters:
Seeing the first scene through David’s young eyes immediately had me rooting for him and immersed in his story and life. The side characters were interesting especially the details of the Epics and their powers. I hope we get to learn more about them in more detail.

There is a small glimmer of romance, only shown in vague interest between David and a Reckoner. This book focused on the action and the bigger themes on a person’s humanity and what it means to stand up for more or try to just get by.

The Reckoners were very well drawn out and I could picture them and their headquarters vividly. I wished I could have connected a bit more with the members of the team.

Final Thoughts:
Sanderson created an action packed and beautifully crafted book. The writing is seamless and the action vividly drawn out. The only problem I had was in connecting with the secondary characters though they did seem to be well rounded I just never got attached to them. I look forward to more from this series and will be picking up more of Sanderson’s books.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson will be available September 24th 2013 by Delacorte


  1. says

    I also thought this sounded interesting and a new take on the superpowered people and after reading your review I’m gonna be adding it to my TBR list for sure!
    Great review!

  2. says

    The first scene was incredibly powerful and memorable, It truly does set the tone. I enjoyed the book a lot too, and I agree that the secondary characters were’t the most fleshed out yet. I mean, I like them, but I’ll love them more with the sequel. That being said, I still loved this book because the premise was done right.

  3. says

    I’ve never read a Sanderson before either, but WOW this book sounds amazing! The world building sounds absolutely incredible!! And I do like how it seems that the book is focused more on action and adventure rather than on romance. I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for this one!

  4. says

    Great review I thought this book was so insane! i loved it and I can’t wait to see the rest of the world either I hope we get to explore in the future books. And I love how he made it a world corrupted by power. Superhumans would definitely take advantage in most cases I would think so it was a realistic depiction. Glad you loved it, too! 🙂

  5. says

    I love that first line, even though I have no idea what it means. I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I’ve yet to try anything by Brandon Sanderson, but I’ve heard such fantastic things about this book, so I can’t wait to give it a try myself. I’ve already ordered a copy. 🙂 Lovely review, Kristen!

  6. says

    I’ve started this one, but other books got in the way. I can’t wait to return to it, though. This world is insane! I’ve always heard great things about Sanderson, and I’m glad to see that they’re true.


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