Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

steelheartLynn:  I LOVED Marvel Comics when I was a kid and have retained a great fondness for caped and costumed superheros fighting evil.  So Brandon Sanderson got me from page one of Steelheart (Random/Deleacorte 2013) when the evil Epic strolled into the bank and started vaporizing people.  8-year-old David watching in horror witnesses the death of his brave father and also sees something that may be an important clue for the future.  Steelheart demolishes the bank and everyone in it but somehow David miraculously survives, keeping his secret knowledge safe and swearing revenge.  Sanderson’s terrific page-turner of a book delivers the powerful punch of a comic book without a single illustration!

After the Calamity, a strange burst of light in the sky, a few humans called the Epics started developing strange powers, have carved up what’s left of the United States, and subjugated the population.  Steelheart turned much of Chicago to steel and now rules Newcago.  It’s ten years later and David has grown up in an orphanage, yearning to find and join a group called the Reckoners, the only humans fighting back against the Epics.  Each Epic has an Achilles heel and David is convinced that he knows Steelheart’s weakness.  An encounter with a small band of Reckoners, gives David the chance he needs and he gets his chance and joins the fight.

Hang onto your capes and tights because it’s an action-packed roller coaster ride from beginning to end.  Sanderson fills the pages with spectacular fights, narrow escapes, fantastic gadgets and a hum-dinger of a plot.  He never takes himself too seriously either and there’s plenty of humor and snappy dialog.  Epics, their odd powers and odder weaknesses, are everywhere.  There’s Fortuity, Nightwielder, Deathpoint and Conflux but then there’s the Pink Pinkness too.  David tries hard to impress Megan, a fellow Reckoner but as she says, “You suck at metaphors,” and the mangled metaphors are really fun to spot.

There’s a lot of gore, a lot of heart, a lot of surprises and a whole lot of fun with a cliff-hanger ending ripe for the sequel coming in 2014.  Can’t wait!




About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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