The world has been taken over by Epics. These are humans that years ago were given special powers. An object, which the locals call Calamity, appeared in the sky and certain people changed.
These people, now called Epics, couldn't handle the power and eventually took over. Our setting is in what used to be Chicago, now called Newcago (I hate that name--I think Sanderson could do better.) The main character is David, who 10 years ago watched an Epic called Steelheart kill his father and has studied the Epics ever since, hoping to someday get his revenge. Steelheart then turned the entire city to steel (his superpower) and became the dictator, ruling over everyone and keeping them frightened, hungry, and tired.
There is a rebel group called The Reckoners who fight the Epics and try to kill them. Only the minor ones, though. No one can touch Steelheart or his minions. David works to find out who the Reckoners are, convince them to allow him into their group, and then convince them they should go after Steelheart. With information that David has collected his entire life, the group begins to plan their attack.
Steelheart is exciting and fast paced. There are a lot of surprises, especially at the end. Everything isn't easy for the Reckoners--they must work hard and experience some setbacks to reach their goal. There's plenty of violence and very little romance (although Daniel does have a crush), making this a good choice for all teens who enjoy their adventures a little rough.
I did suspect one of the surprises at the end -- but there was a pretty big hint early in the book. It didn't take away from the story at all. Also, I really hated that they used "calamity" and "sparks" as expletives -- over and over. Repetition usually doesn't bother me, but it took all I had not to get my pen out and start scratching out those words!
David is known for his horrible, awkward metaphors which served to lighten the mood a few times. Apart from that, the characters are distinct, but not really the memorable part of Steelheart.
I'd recommend Steelheart to anyone who likes a fast-paced adventure mixed with some cool superpowers and interesting technology. The second book, Firefight, was recently released and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for The Reckoners.
Published by Delacorte, 2013
Copy obtained from the library
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