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'Steelheart' by Brandon Sanderson: Fabulous fantasy for teen readers

Wonderful middle grade/YA fantasy
courtesy of Delacorte Press

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

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"Steelheart" by Brandon Sanderson is a book that will entice even the most reluctant readers to stay the course and finish the story. It's a look into a futuristic society where some humans have been endowed with superhuman powers. They don't use those powers for good, though.

Unlike the middle grade books by Matthew Cody ("Powerless" and "Super"), the super-humans, also called Epics, in this story are all evil. One of the most evil, Steelheart, is the Epic who can change anything that is not living into steel. The reader meets this super-villain at the beginning of the story when he kills David, the protagonist's father.

The story is equal parts mystery (why was David's father able to wound Steelheart?) and action. David ended up in a Factory, working and learning the basics at school. His life-long goal ever since his father was killed when he was only eight-years-old has been to get revenge for his father's death by killing Steelheart.

In pursuit of that dream, he has spent the ten years since his father's death collecting and buying information about all the Epics and their weaknesses. He also is determined to join a group of humans called the Reckoners, a group trying to kill Epics.

David is a great character -- he's clever and quick-witted. He is determined and brave. And he's also kind and loyal, a perfect role model for readers of this book. Sanderson does a fine job making the first person narration sound like a teenager who is a bit of a geek, and embarrassed by that fact.

There are lots of weapons, lots of action, and lots of quirky characters. At the end there are many clever twists and turns that reveal some characters to not be what they seemed to be. All in all, the book will leave its readers eagerly anticipating the next book in the series, "Firefight," to be released in January, 2015.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Delacorte Press, for review purposes.

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