Thursday, May 1, 2014

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson is a fast-paced adventure in an alternate Chicago where humans with superpowers rule the world.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

About ten years ago, Calamity appeared in the sky and certain ordinary humans gained superpowers. Now, the most powerful of these Epics, as they are called, control cities and territories, and the less powerful form alliances with the great. Normal humans are little more than serfs, trying to live out their lives without getting in the way of the Epics. In the city of Chicago, now called Newcago, an Epic named Steelheart rules. With the power to turn any nonliving substance into steel, the ability to fly, superhuman strength, and invulnerability to bullets and all other weapons, Steelheart seems almost godlike in his powers . . . but eighteen-year-old David has seen him bleed. When Steelheart first arrived on the scene, he had a showdown at a bank with a lesser Epic. David, just eight years old at the time, was at the bank with his father. In the ensuing battle, David's father was a casualty, and David was the only survivor -- the only person who can remember what happened at the bank, when a bullet grazed Steelheart's cheek and left a trail of blood. David has spent all of his spare time since the bank incident in single-minded pursuit of revenge, studying the Epics and learning their weaknesses. He has a plan to get to Steelheart, but he'll need the help of a resistance movement known as the Reckoners, and they don't accept strangers into their group. Can David prove to the Reckoners that he belongs with them -- and even if he does, can he convince them to go after Steelheart?

This was a gripping, exciting read. Plenty of plot twists meant that I was able to predict some things, while others came as a complete surprise. I listened to the audiobook, and I thought narrator MacLeod Andrews was an excellent match for the story, and the production values were high. This is the first book in a projected trilogy; I look forward to reading the next two.

(Reviewed from an audiobook borrowed through my library system.)

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