This review was originally posted on Wilders’ Book Review.
In Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart, we are introduced to a world where life as we know it has been forever altered by Calamity, the bright red sun or comet became a permanent fixture in the sky. Since it’s appearance, the other change to the world was Epics. People that suddenly have a variety of unique powers that all defy physics, explanation or understanding. The common thread these Epics have, besides the scientific implausibility of what they can do, is their disinterest and mistreatment of humans.
Our story centers in just one city of what is now known as the Fractured States. Newcago , which pre-Calamity, used to be known as Chicago, is a place void of light, happiness and normalcy. And this is one of the better towns. One epic, Nightwielder, keeps the city in perpetual darkness. Neither sun nor star shines down for the people of Newcago.The reigning Epic, Steelheart has the ability to turn materials to steel and is ruthless, he will kill on a whim, he’s impervious to fire and bullets, and any other weapon that a human would have access to.
Our protagonist David has been planning (obsessing about) revenge for 10 years, since he was just 9 years old. Living underground, an orphan and happy to be raised as a child laborer at a factory, he has been waiting for his chance.
Which brings the question, how do regular people fight to take back what is theirs when they are up against the impossible? How can someone fight against Epics that have the ability to turn anything to steel or darken the skies day and night. How do you hurt a creature that is essentially a Super-Villain when you have no powers of your own? This is the dilemma that our characters face. I particularly like this premise for a YA book. It’s not only an insanely paced page-turner of a story, this is also an empowering tale for people (particularly young adults) who maybe feel either complacent or discouraged about their current position in their world. There is always cause for hope. There is always a solution for change. You just have to stand up and do what you can to make it happen. In this story, there is also hope for good epics and hope for a way to defeat the evil ones. Just because all Epics that they have seen have been evil, does that mean that there can never be an Epic that could bring good?
But I don’t want to get too deep here. Because while there are lessons to be had, this ultimately an insanely thrilling action packed book. The suspense was unbelievable. I really enjoyed the protagonist’s adventure and highly recommend reading this if you are looking for a an edge of your seat action-packed story.