Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson basically flawed me with its intense, indiluted awesome. Until now I hadn’t read a superhero book that lived up to the films. But this?!? This is everything. If you’re a superhero geek, TRUST ME — you need this book in your life. The plot twists! The adorkable narrator! The guns! The action! The car chases! The explosions! It had everything.
The story is about David, whose father was killed by the infamous super-villain Steelheart, and David’s life is basically: revenge revenge revenge. He joins up with a small rebel force, called the Reckoners, and they make a plot to take down Steelheart.
It’s about superheroes and villains. In fact, super “hero” doesn’t so much enter the story, because the premise is those with powers are all EVIL. It’s like “what if Superman appeared and was a jerk and liked to kill people and be terrifying?” But it turns tropes on its head and impressed me a million percent.
I absolutely adored the protagonist: David. He’s such a DORK. And a NERD. He is absolutely the worst at metaphors and he has the BIGGEST dorky crush on one of his team mates. He tries so hard. He’s a shaker and a stirrer — a visionary. And while he’s totally hellbent on revenge on Steelheart, it doesn’t turn him into a bitter mushroom. Which was a pleasant surprise to read!
A quick run down on the Reckoner team?! (They go from city to city in the destroyed American states and kill supervillains).
- Proff: He’s the “leader” so the gruff, commanding, type who is full of secrets and probably a tragic mysterious backstory. He honestly was not my favourite, but he did lead his team well.
- Tia: She’s the hacker and the behind-the-scenes intelligence.
- Abraham: He’s French/Canadian and seriously AWESOME. He’s like soft spoken but carries this HUGE MACHINE GUN and I believes in the Faith.
- Cody: He’s the comic relief and is like American, but also Scottish. Um, it works. Somehow. He’s always talking about devils and pixies and cracking everyone (aka me) up.
- Megan: She’s the seriously coldhearted, better-than-thou girl on the team (that of course David crushes on) who is just AMAZING at everything she does but really hard to make friends with.
Also the superheroes were admirable because they had unique powers. It wasn’t all just “he can fly and is invisible” blah blah. They had ones who could turn the sky dark, or controlled with shadows, or made illusions, or could predict attacks or could regenerate or etc etc. It was so interesting and I loved that.
Also another thing that stood out to me was that: I appreciated how the adults were running the show. I mean, David might’ve been a bit of a suppressed genius there, with his plans on how to take down Steelheart, but the ADULTS were the ones with the big weapons and getting things done. And it felt super realistic. It’s still YA and David was still doing so much cool stuff. But I appreciated the realism.
Also the whole mystery aspect of “what is Steelheart’s weakness??!” drove me CRAZY wanting answers. And you don’t get to know until the end!
Also I cannot recommend the audiobook enough. (Which you can purchase here!) The narrator captures David’s personality perfectly and is just extremely pleasant to listen to! He also captures the accents of the rest of the team and makes the whole experience like a movie in your head.
If you’re looking for a superhero/villain book that’s unique and exciting and complex — this is for you. It’s realistic and talks science and gun mechanisms and sets up clever masterminded traps. It’ll make you laugh! And then have you clutching the pages hyperventilating over the plot twists. Oh and the cliffhanger? Let’s just say you’ll want Firefight on hand.