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 shadow 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.
With great power comes the realisation that you can do anything because the rules do not apply to you!
I love Brandon Sanderson’s writing! He hooked me with the Mistborn trilogy and then with Elantris after which I discovered he was writing more Mistborn stories – The Alloy of Law, which was my favourite fantasy novel of 2011 (it was also the first fantasy western I had read).
Now with Steelheart he has entered into the world of superhumans. Much like The Boys graphic novel series by Garth Ennis, he focuses on the darker parts of human nature and how people would cope with being granted powers beyond those of mortal men.
The prologue was heartbreaking in its intensity, introducing us to the world and to David witnessing the brutal death of his father, in a time when people still believed in heroes.
A decade later and humanity has learned its lesson – there are no heroes – only monsters who do what they will and the best they can hope for is not to be noticed.
Set in the post-apocalyptic city of Newcago (formerly known as Chicago), the story opens with David tracking a minor Epic in the hope that he will be the latest target of the Reckoners whom David has dreamed of joining. We are also treated to a very neatly done introduction to this new, horrific world through David’s point of view. I caught the shout-outs to the creators of superman as David ran down Shuster and Siegel streets and there was possibly one to Neal Adams (or even Adam west) as the bank where the prologue opened was on Adams Street. I need to reread the book just to take notes on the street names as I am sure there are others that I have missed – or maybe I am exposing too much of my comics geek side here… who knows.
Steelheart is not the first novel about super-humans I have read, I have dipped into George RR Martin’s Wild Cards series – and have enjoyed most of them as well as the excellent Sidekicks by Adeline Radloff (highly recommended if you can get your hands on it).
Now I have had a taste of Brandon Sanderson’s magic again, and like before I now have to wait for the second novel. However Steelheart is a book I will be reading again – for like the superhero comics I read when I was (slightly) younger it looks like it will be just as much fun to reread!