Series: Reckoners #1
Published by Gollancz on 24-09-2013
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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.
Despite being a huge fantasy fan, I have a confession – Steelheart is actually the first Brandon Sanderson book I’ve read. I bought the audiobook of The Final Empire but I hated not being able to visualise how names were spelt etc, so I returned it. I picked up Steelheart instead because the plot looked great, and there were normal names so I hoped it’d work on audio for me. And it really, really did!
David’s father was killed by an Epic, and ever since, he’s sworn revenge against the Epics. The Epic who killed his father though, is none other than Steelheart, the reigning Epic, said to be invincible. Since his childhood, David has been learning everything he can about Epics – their strengths, their weaknesses, their abilities – and now, he’s trying to convince the Reckoners, the infamous group who takes down all Epics, to let him join them.
David, our main character, is great. Despite his protests to the contrary, he is, at heart, a geek – he’s like a walking, talking Epic encyclopaedia, and he could talk about them for hours. He’s got drive and ambition to kill the Epics for certain, but what he’s got above all is passion, and that’s something that made it impossible for me to dislike him. Combine that with his terrible metaphors and the fact that his point of view on the world will have you laughing out loud, and he’s a definite winner.
The Reckoners are a bit of a mixed bunch, but I really liked them. Cody is a bit silly at times, putting on Scottish accents and talking about leprechauns and so on, but he’s a good guy, and he and Abraham, the more serious of the two, balance each other out perfectly. They’re like Ari & Janco (Maria V. Snyder), Silk & Barak (David Eddings) or even Tyrion & Jaime (Game of Thrones) at times. Basically, I loved them! We also have Tia, the brains behind the operation, and Megan, the girl David can’t stop eying up, but who’s far more interested in working on the Reckoner’s mission. Finally, the leader of the group, Prof, the guy who makes the decisions and provides the Reckoners with the tech they need to even the fight with the Epics a little. I didn’t mind any of the other characters, but David and Cody were definitely the stand outs for me (though Megan was pretty kick-ass so points for that).
If you like superheroes – and really, who doesn’t? – Steelheart is definitely worth picking up. It had action, drama, serious moments and funny ones, a little romance and a great protagonist….what more could you really need?
If you’re considering it on audiobook, I can also say that MacLeod Andrews did a great job, and since finishing Steelheart I’ve gone actively searching for other things he’s narrated (though in my head, he IS David, so I’m not sure how well that will work!).
Buy it? This one would be worth buying in my opinion.
In a nutshell: A dramatic superhero story with a great main character and plenty of funny moments.