ARC REVIEW #171: Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Steelheart
Series: Reckoners #1
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Pages: 384, Hardcover
Source: ARC obtained at BEA

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

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

Dang, Brandon Sanderson can write some serious fantasy! 

So there are these crazy Epics who are pretty much just evil superheroes. They have a variety of powers, usually more than one, and very few weaknesses. Since they are pretty impossible to beat, they have claimed territories and rule as tyrants. Ordinary humans have more or less surrendered to them, most serve them. And they all live in fear because the Epics tend to kill at random. (Sounds fun, right?)

Steelheart is the leader of Newcago, and not without earning his right to be at the top. He is one of the most powerful Epics and has no known weaknesses. He has friends in high places too. Nightwielder keeps the city in constant dark, Conflux provides the power for Enforcement, and Firelight -'ll see. There are many more but these are the big players. 

Then there are the Reckoners. The Reckoners are the ones who fight back. And David has dedicated his life to learning about the Reckoners and Epics both so that he can become one and defeat the other. He's got big plans for Steelheart, and won't stop until Steelheart is dead, or he is. This story is more or less about his fight. 

This book was nonstop action. It starts off on a high note and really doesn't slow down. It's just one battle/obstacle/challenge/surprise/mission after another. If this is your kind of thing, than this is the book for you. And it is not without surprises. One big one in particular at the end will drop jaws for sure. I can't wait to see what happens next. 

This is in fact a plot driven book. The characters are interesting enough but I haven't really formed strong connections with any of them. I didn't find myself bothered by this all that much, but it's why I took away half a star. As much as I enjoyed this book, it didn't cause me to run around the house screaming with feels like other books have. 

It's really not surprising that I loved this book. For those of you that know me fairly well by now, I am a total sucker for a good fantasy. This one had me fired up and I was definitely rooting for David and the rest of the Reckoners. 

I without reservation recommend this book to fantasy lovers. For readers who typically don't read fantasy, I would still recommend this book if you are looking to test the waters. There aren't many better alternatives in the genre for YA!

Sidenote - if you've read Brandon Sanderson's other YA let me know how they are/compare! I am definitely looking to read his other books after enjoying this one so much. 



  1. This book sounds awesome! Why don't I have a copy of it? Seriously, this sounds like the kind of book that I would love, and who doesn't love a big, jaw dropping twist? Great review!

    1. Thanks! It was definitely an exciting read! I think you'll like this one :D

  2. I do love a good fantasy, and especially an action-packed one. Too bad there couldn't have been a bit more character development so that you felt more emotionally invested in the characters. It sounds like I'll still like it anyway...great review! ~Pam

    1. I just meant I didn't love the characters as much as I have in other books. It was all about the action to me. But it's still great!

  3. This book caught my attention right from the get go. It sounds so very good, and the cover is fantastic. Every new review that I read for it, the more excited I get. I honestly cannot wait for it!

  4. Thank you for giving me another fantasy novel to read! I never know how to find them since I don't read them often but I know I can always turn to you for ideas. This book sounds really good, I'm a big fan of action packed awesomeness. I have added it to my TBR pile. :)

    1. I do love my fantasy! I just hope I don't lead you astray since I have been known to wear blinders ;). I don't think that is the case for this one though.

  5. I haven't read any Sanderson yet, but I've heard mostly positive things about his newest book and exclusively positive things about his Mistborn trilogy. From my (very limited) understanding, Mistborn is much more high fantasy, while this is more a superhero sort of fantasy. Maybe slightly urban? Almost sounds a bit paranormal. I do love all types of fantasies, and this one sounds like it has the potential to be a great introduction to this newest series. But for now I think I'm starting with Mistborn. I think that's his most famous book, so that may be a good place for you to go next. Regardless, I look forward to starting his works!

    1. I don't think you can go wrong with either choice :) I definitely want to read Mistborn too!


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