Reviews for Steelheart

Booklist Reviews 2013 September #1
*Starred Review* From the day eight-year-old David Charleston watched Steelheart gun down his father, he has vowed revenge. All Epics are powerful--Steelheart the most invincible of all--but each has a weakness, and David thinks he has found Steelheart's: he has seen him bleed. Now 10 years later, with this experience and years of studying each Epic's patterns and weaknesses, David worms his way into the Reckoners, a courageous group determined to take down Epics in an attempt to return the Fractured States to some semblance of normalcy. Sanderson has written a riveting dystopian adventure novel replete with awesome tech tools: pen detonators, gauss guns, gravitronic motorcycles, mobiles (smart phones on steroids), and tensor gloves to tunnel through steel. Each Reckoner has his or her own talents: Tia, research and planning; Cody, intelligent grunt work and comic relief; Abraham, weapons and ammunition; and Prof, leader and prime inventor-scientist. Oh, and there's Megan, new girl with an attitude--especially when it comes to David's relentless pressure on the Reckoners to stay in Newcago and kill Steelheart. Snappy dialogue, bizarre plot twists, high-intensity action, and a touch of mystery and romance--it's a formula that sucks readers into the prologue, slings them through one tension-filled encounter after another, and then, at the strange and marginally hopeful conclusion, leaves them panting for the sequel, Firefight, due in 2014. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A multiplatform marketing campaign, with promotions happening every month in 2013 leading up to the pub date, has already kicked into high gear for New York Times best-selling Sanderson's latest. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
When the Calamity gives some people superpowers, no heroes arise, only power-mad villains. Ten years later, Jonah buys his way into a group of human resistance fighters with information about how to kill the seemingly invincible Chicago tyrant Steelheart. Despite trite interpersonal dynamics, the epic scale of conflict and savvy subversion of superhero tropes give readers much to ponder and enjoy.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 June #2
A straight-up Marvel Comics–style action drama featuring a small band of human assassins taking on costumed, superpowered supervillains with melodramatic monikers. It's certainly a tried-and-true formula. Twelve years ago, a mysterious Calamity began turning random ordinary humans into evil Epics gifted with various combinations of superpowers (and also, always, some Achilles heel). Now, 18-year-old David Charleston manages at last to make contact with a cell of Epic-killing Reckoners led by legendary mastermind Jon Phaedrus. Then it's on to a nonstop thrill ride that begins with the killing of David's father 10 years before and roars through car and motorcycle chases, secret missions, huge explosions and hails of gunfire with high-tech weaponry to a climactic battle with Epic Steelheart. He's bulletproof, shoots energy balls, has transformed the entire Chicago area into solid steel with a wave of his hand and wears a stylish silver cape. Shockingly, the book closes with the stunning revelation than not all Epics are evil through and through. As further sign that Sanderson (Rithmatist, 2013, etc.) isn't taking any of this too seriously, the cast of Epics includes not only the likes of Steelheart, Faultline and Deathpoint, but Pink Pinkness and El Brass Bullish Dude, and some of their powers are equally silly. Stay tuned for sequels. There's violence and gore in profusion, cool gear, hot wheels, awesome feats, inner conflicts on both sides--all that's missing are the pictures. (Fantasy. 11-14) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 July #3

On the heels of his YA debut, The Rithmatist, Sanderson opens another series for teens with an ultraviolent yet playful entry into the superhero genre. More than a decade ago, a mysterious event known as Calamity created Epics--powerful beings straight out of the comics, complete with both incredible abilities (invulnerability, illusion, transmutation) and silly weaknesses (smoke, UV light, being attacked by someone exactly 37 years old). Thus far, the Epics appear to be wholly corrupt, with villains rising up to subjugate humans and take over the world. David's father was killed by a ruthless Epic named Steelheart, and David, now 18, has waited 10 years for revenge, certain that he holds the key to Steelheart's weakness. Hooking up with a ragtag group of rebel Epic-killers, David and crew knock off Steelheart's subordinates and lure him out. Although readers may not be surprised at the twists that arise, the near-constant action, Sanderson's whiz-bang imaginings, and a fully realized sense of danger (the brutal opening scene alone will hook many) make this an absolute page-turner. Ages 12-up. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary Agency. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 July

Gr 8 Up--This fun, fast-paced, futuristic science-fiction superhero story is the first in a projected series. When David was six, an unexplained explosion in the sky caused perpetual darkness and ordinary people to gain supernatural powers. These people became known as Epics. Two years later, in a bank in what was once Chicago, now called Newcago, David witnessed Steelheart, one of the most powerful Epics of all, murder his father. In the 10 years since his father's death, David has made it his mission to learn all he can about Epics. Everyone thinks they are invincible, but he knows otherwise. He knows that each one has a weakness, and he's seen Steelheart's. Steelheart can bleed. David intends to get his revenge. A cowed populace accepts the fact that Epics control their lives and the strongest among them are in a constant battle for dominance. Only one shadowy group of ordinary humans called the Reckoners dare fight to eliminate them. David persuades the Reckoners to let him join their ranks after proving he has unique knowledge about Epics. This enjoyable read focuses more on action than character development and is perfect for genre fans who love exciting adventure stories with surprising plot twists. Readers will be rooting for David, a super geek with a love of weapons, who can hold his own against Epics with names like Nightwielder, Conflux, or Firefight.--Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library,Trenton

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VOYA Reviews 2013 August
Ten years ago, a mysterious event called the Calamity gave ordinary people extraordinary powers, turning them into Epics. Unfortunately, the great powers did not come with a sense of great responsibility, so the world is now ruled by a small number of obscenely powerful Epics fighting for control while the ordinary people cower fearfully in the streets below. One of the strongest is Steelheart, a near-invincible Epic who rules Newcago (the former Chicago) with an iron fist, alongside his lieutenants, Nightwielder and Fireflight. From the understreets of Newcago comes David Charleston, a teenager whose father was killed by Steelheart shortly after the Calamity started, and who has spent the past ten years watching and learning, trying to spot Steelheart's weakness and exploit it in order to kill the Epic. In this quest, David will attempt to become one of a mysterious group called the Reckoners, ordinary humans who are targeting Epics in order to bring them to justice. Can these Reckoners actually win in a battle against Epics The story is told entirely from David's perspective, and allows the reader to follow his journey from a frightened eight-year-old to a junior member of the Reckoners. The story examines what might happen if ordinary people were to attempt to throw off the yoke of superpowered individuals. The plot is generally well paced, leading to an exciting climax in one of Chicago's landmarks. Astute readers will pick up several references to superhero stories, from Steelheart being a thinly disguised version of Superman, to Nightwielder's take on Batman's Dark Knight nickname, to a pendant whose shape will be recognizable to any comic book fan. The book deals with the themes of the nature of heroism, the importance of teamwork, and the question of whether power corrupts. The ending makes it clear that this is meant to be the first in a series. This book should appeal to teens looking for a more developed take on the "superhero" mythos.--Jonathan Ryder 4Q 4P S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.