Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
This is a superhero book . . . that’s not another superhero book. The story has loads of amazing action, cool characters, sweet gadgets, outstanding writing, basically everything you’d want from a superhero book. However, again, this isn’t that. Well, it is, but it isn’t.

In the futuristic world of Steelheart, the USA is full of regular people and special ones called Epics. These are humans who have been randomly given superpowers by a mysterious red star called Calamity that simply, out of nowhere, appeared in the sky one day. The Epics have various powers with different degrees of strength, usefulness, effectiveness, etc. And they each have a unique weakness. Steelheart is one of the most powerful superheroes in the world, called a High Epic. He ruthlessly rules “Newcago” and most of the USA by dominating people with his unstoppable powers and killing anyone, at any time, for any reason, or no reason. THIS is why the book is no regular superhero book.

The Epics are bad guys and life under them is full of terrible danger and many seemingly unanswerable questions. Where did Calamity come from? How does it choose who becomes Epic? Will there ever be good superheroes? Why are ALL the Epics bad? Actually, ARE they all truly evil? And most importantly, how can these awful monsters by stopped? To answer these questions, we look to the book’s main character, David, and the band of Reckoners he teams up with, a group of highly-skilled vigilantes who will stop at nothing to wipe out all the Epics. No matter the chaotic consequences that may occur. Their ultimate goal: kill the un-kill-able Steelheart AND his inner circle of awesomely powerful, probably unstoppable High Epics.

This is such a cool, amazingly imaginative, uniquely written book! As I mentioned at the top, the characters are all intriguing, from David and the band of rebellious Reckoners to all the different Epics they cross paths with. Mr. Sanderson expertly develops each character and weaves them all together effectively and believably with plenty of fascinating plot twists. And the many, many action scenes are top-notch page-turners. You can see everything unfolding in front of you as Sanderson puts you right there with the brave, desperate Reckoners as they use all available resources to fight the Epics. Chase scenes, fight scenes, stealth missions, and more--it’s all in there. Also, “Newcago” is an excellent setting for the story. A strange, dangerous city that’s carefully and cleverly described bit-by-bit, as the action unfolds, helping us readers fully visualize the story’s futuristic surroundings.

I highly recommend Steelheart to all avid readers, probably from early high school and up. Obviously comic book lovers and superhero fans will surely dig this fresh, unique take on that genre. The main character David is around 18 in the book, so expect writing focused on someone at about that age. There are guns, bombs, energy blasts, fistfights, blood spilled, things like that - but nothing is overly graphic or offensive. No sex, nudity, or other uncomfortable mature scenes. I feel it’s best for older readers just because it is violent and it’s quite complicated with all the characters and different Epics running around. Plus it’s a pretty long book. However, the immersive world, non-stop action, and enthralling story will certainly keep hold of readers and have them finishing quickly.

And when you get towards the end and learn what makes the Epics evil, get ready for an awesome “WHOA” moment!

Lastly, in the end of the Kindle version I read, there’s an informative interview with Sanderson in which he describes his ideas for the book, how he thought up the Epics, why he made the Newcago setting the way he did, and how he brought this book together over a long period of time. This was fascinating and really added to my enjoyment/appreciation of Steelheart. Particularly when the author talks about how he and his editing team worked really hard to think up new, unique superheroes both in name and in power. I dig it when a writer really goes all in on a book and completely thinks through all aspects of his or her whole story, thus making the reader’s experience the best it can possibly be.

Look for reviews of “Firefight” (book 2 in the series), and “Calamity” (book 3) soon. Yes, it’s a trilogy, and the whole EPIC saga is sure to be fantastic!

Happy Reading!