I kicked 2017 off with a bit of a reading slump. Stemming from one hard-to-read, disappointing novel out of the ol’ TBR, the aftermath was a struggle to reinvigorate the need to read. I searched for methods to combat it, like rereading major favourite, Ready Player One, which worked temporarily. But, going on an adventure you know you love is like trying to fool your brain. The truest cure is finding new stories that enthrall and capture. Something to invoke all the emotions that remind you of the wonder of reading. For me there are a couple of authors that are certain to initiate this in me. Brandon Sanderson easily sits near the top of that list, for his amazing world building and easy to fall into writing style. Unfortunately, I have devoured every adult book he has written that ties into his all-encompassing Cosmere series. Lucky for me though, Sanderson takes his job seriously and provides his audience with plenty of amazing books. At a convenient time and after a long search I had finally acquired all three hardcovers to Sanderson’s YA trilogy. It was time for me to dive in and see what the Reckoners were all about.
Steelheart is the first book of the fantasy Reckoners trilogy, released in 2013 by Delacorte Press. The book is not to be confused with the 90’s hairband of the same name. Debuting at #1 on the New York Times YA Bestsellers list, Steelheart gained instant praise for being yet another solid edition to an impressive bibliography. The Reckoners series, unlike Sanderson’s typical fantasy worlds, is set in a dystopian future of Earth, but is still very much a new, creative and unique world.
What personally attracted me to this story, above others, is this is a book about superpowers, with a twist. Sanderson and superheroes! This is a book right up the Green Onion alley. Although, this was a risky move considering it was a superhero novel that initiated my reading drought. I’m not naming names… A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King.
Steelheart follows a young man named David, who grew up watching the world fall apart. Twelve years before the story takes place an object named Calamity appeared in the sky over Earth. Emitting a radiation that gave unnatural powers to a select group of people. These super-beings dubbed Epics took to evil, crime and tyranny. Uncertain if this was a side effect from the powers, or the power corrupting, the unchanged humans were defenceless against these awesome powers. Left only to hope that Epics may one day change their ways. David holds the secret to one of the most powerful Epics weaknesses and dreams of an opportunity to fight back. His only chance is to join an underground resistance group trying to help the people and assassinate Epics, known as the Reckoners. But David might find out the Reckoners aren’t all that he thought them to be.
The book is true to Sanderson style. Strong, straightforward storytelling, with an honest look at where the story is heading, but no clue on how it will get there. A major climax, that seems all but hopeless going into. A core of unique, interesting characters, each with their individual quirks and secrets. And of course, creative, amazing world building. Everything you could hope for from a Sanderson novel. The author has a magical way of letting things come across as simple, but as you get deeper the layers peel back into a complex, unforgettable journey.
Steelheart did exactly what I needed it to. It brought me deep into the narrative and captured my imagination. Parts were predictable, and a major plot twist had been spoiled for me days before I read it, but it doesn’t matter. You could enter this world knowing everywhere it was headed but the road, the characters, and the prose, captivate. 4/5, for another homerun from the seemingly flawless author. I highly recommend this book to established Sanderson fans, or anyone looking to get into the wildly popular writer but are not prepared to enter the enormous Cosmere series. Honestly, I think this is a book anybody could enjoy. It is worth the ride, and I cannot wait to continue this series as I longingly await the next installment of Stormlight.
Thanks booknerds, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.