Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson, is a spin through a dystopian world where an event (the Calamity) has given a small number of humans super powers. The problem is, they are ALL evil. Even though not all ‘Epics’ are equal in power, there are enough that they pretty much carved the world up into chunks they rule with impunity. It’s in this world that we see our protagonist, David. He witnessed Steelheart, now ruler of a large swath of the former United States centered around what once was Chicago, kill his father. David’s dad was one of the Faithful, who believed that with villains around, heroes would come. His father died for that belief…but not before he wounded Steelheart. David is the only one who knows what happened that day, having escaped the purge by Steelheart that followed, and he’s trained himself for years to hunt the villain down and kill him.
To make that happen, David finds and worms his way into a group called the Reckoners. Normal humans who hunt down and kill Epics by studying their weaknesses. Every Epic has one, of course, and it’s their most guarded secret. Our hero believes he’s the only one who can figure out Steelheart’s weakness, since he was there on the one day he was hurt.
This book was quite a bit of fun, even if you’re not into comic books. Steelheart is an obvious ‘evil Superman’ stand-in, though comic fans might feel Black Adam is a closer fit. The world is interesting, I’m very curious about the Calamity and what caused it, why all heroes go bad, and the fate of one of the characters left at the end. The supporting characters (the typical band of misfit rebels of the Reckoners) don’t get far beyond basic characterization, but for a YA novel, that’s not the end of the world. The action is fun, and as a whole I was engaged enough that the plot twists worked on me. 4 of 5 stars. Definitely want to know what happens next. Steelheart is $4.99 as of now on the Kindle and Nook.