Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Steelheart

Steelheart

Brandon Sanderson
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Random House, 2013   ISBN: 978-0385743563

Ten years ago a bright red star or comet appeared in the sky over Earth and soon after some perfectly ordinary people began to exhibit supernatural abilities. They could do a variety of extraordinary things that set them above other humans, and people began to call these being Epics. Unfortunately, Epics did not use their new found abilities for the good of all. Instead, they battled each other for dominance, leaving chaos, death, and destruction in their wake.

   Eight years ago young David went to a bank in Chicago with his father. His father was in conversation with a mortgage specialist when an Epic, Deathpoint, came into the bank. He proceeded to walk around the room pointing his finger at people and thus killing them on the spot. Then another Epic, Steelheart, arrived on the scene. David’s father was sure that Steelheart was there to save them, that he was a ‘good’ Epic who would protect the people of Chicago from the Epics who were violent and cruel. He was wrong. Steelheart came to the bank because he was angry that Deathpoint had dared to trespass on his territory. Chicago was his and he felt that it was his “right to dominate the people” there.  David’s father shot Deathpoint to protect Steeheart and accidentally injured Steelheart in the process. This was a shocking thing to happen because Steelheart was supposed to be immortal. Nothing was supposed to be able to harm or kill him. Steelheart turned on David’s father and killed him.

   Today David is eighteen and he has left the orphanage where he did most of his growing up. Ever since the death of his father David has been gathering information about Epics, waiting for the day when he can be the one bring Steelheart’s reign of terror to an end. Ever since that awful day eight years ago Steelheart has ruled over the city, now called Newcago, with a fist of steel. He used one of his abilities to turn much of the city into steel, including a large part of Lake Michigan, and he has a select group of Enforcers who keep order. He also has some Epics who work for him and who use their abilities to help Steelheart to protect his position as ruler.

   In addition to learning as much as he can about Epics, David has learned as much as he can about the one group that dares to attack Epics. The group, the Reckoners, assassinate Epics and he is convinced that their next target will be Newcago Epic called Fortuity.  He goes to the place where he thinks the hit will take place and quite by chance endsup helping the Reckoners bring Fortuity down.

   Eager to join the Reckoners, David shows them all his research and he also tells them about the plan he has to kill Steelheart. Though David is young and inexperienced, his knowledge of Epics, his determination, and his ability to think on his feet endears him to the Reckoner leader. The leader, Prof, decides to take David in and he also decides that David is right. It is time to kill a High Epic, one of the powerful ones. It is time for humans to show the Epics that they will not give up without a fight.

   As he prepares and fights side by side with the Reckoners David quickly learns that they are not as he imagined they would be. They have fears and secrets, and they are prone to making mistakes, just as he is.

   In this gripping futuristic thriller, readers will meet a likable young man who discovers that avenging the death of his father is not going to be as straightforward as he thought it would be. He has to learn, to adapt, and to grow as a person if he hopes to achieve his goal. He may even have to modify his goal.

   With colorful characters, a constantly shifting plot, and surprises at every turn, this is a book that readers who like science fiction and fantasy stories will greatly enjoy.

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