Thursday, December 26, 2013

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Published:  September 24th, 2013
Steelheart (The Reckoners #1)
By: Brandon Sanderson
ISBN-13:  9780385743563

There are no heroes.

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 had something they need.  Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed.  And he wants revenge.


     David still remembers every detail of the day his father died.  He was a man who believed in superheroes and the good that they could accomplish.  He was excited when people began to gain special powers.  But then Steelheart, an "Epic" in their area murdered David's Dad in cold blood - but not until after he managed to wound Steelheart.  Massacring everyone in the bank vault, except for David who escaped, Steelheart has gone on to take over the entire city and everything in it.  David has spent the last decade studying Steelheart in the hopes of revenge and when the Reckoners, a group that takes down Epics, comes to town he thinks the time has finally arrived.  But how can he figure exactly what drew Steelheart's blood the first time, get rid of all his main henchmen and fellow Epics, before finally striking the fatal blow to the man himself?  And who is the traitor amidst the Reckoners, on the verge of destroying the entire rebellion?
     I read two books by Brandon Sanderson this year: The Rithmatist and Steelheart.  The first one, Rithmatist, reminded me of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon kind of, only with chalk figures/demons instead of digitized monsters and little animals to duel others with.  I appreciated a lot of things about that book, not the least of which was complex world building and some great characters.  I really appreciated and liked it, even enjoyed it, but I didn't fall in love with it.  Steelheart however, is a completely different story!  I have always had a fascination with superheroes ever since I was a child.  I was never really into the cartoons, but I did enjoy the comics and live action films.  Well, this book takes on a whole other side of the normal superhero spin.  What if the people who gained these powers didn't choose to do good things with them and instead decided to take over the world?  Thus a race of supervillains - or at the very least super-assholes - is born!
     Except if things were that easy, than war and peace would be the simplest concepts on the Earth and half the crap in our history wouldn't be as drawn out and gory as it is.  Killing a human being, even one with unnatural powers, is a slippery moral slope with very little high ground.  You are still a murderer, even if your victim is a despot responsible for the deaths of many.  Is killing Steelheart the right thing?  Many cities are in complete chaos but the one he controls is fairly well run and organized.  People have some semblance of a life outside survival in its most basic state.  So to kill, or not to kill?  That is the question.  Also, not every Epic is evil and not every Reckoner is good.  Who is what in the grand scheme of things?  This book is a complete action, thrill a minute kind of book though.  The twists and turns will keep you guessing, until the ending which leaves you with a cliffhanger that will make you want to bust down Sanderson's door for an ARC of #2!  I'm not going to say anymore so as not to spoil, but suffice it to say that this isn't your average superhero paint by numbers, adventure story.  Great characters, plot and flow.  Truly enjoyed this one and I highly recommend it too! :)

VERDICT:  5/5  Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

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