Review: Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson

15704458 Rating: 4.5 / 5
Genres: Young adult, Action, Adventure, Mystery, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Published: September 24, ’13 by Delacorte
Number of pages: 384
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em>There are no heroes.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics… nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.


Brandon Sanderson never ceases to amaze me. His writing and prose are spectacular and lyrical. He doesn’t use big words, doesn’t beat around the bush, but his words, however simple they may be, still pack a lot of punch. I remember reading his other work, The Emperor’s Soul, and remember being very touched by its ending. I’ve pondered about it for days on end, thinking about the characters and their impact on me. I think it’s very safe to say that this man is one of the best fantasy authors I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Not only does his writing stick to you like glue, his characters are memorable and the world-building in each and every one of his series and novels is unique. I’ve never seen such a big and vast and complex imagination such as his. If I were a scientist, I’d be interested in dissecting his brain and figuring out how he does it! This man’s a genius, I tell you!

Steelheart? Man. It is a stunning book deserving of many accolades. Like many of his other novels, Brandon Sanderson created a whole new world so imaginative, deep and different; a world that completely immerses you in it effortlessly. I mean, the prologue was enough to suck me in! It captures you in its first try and does it so beautifully. The first time I got introduced to the Epics (a.k.a. Supervillains), it was definitely love at first sight. I kept thinking, “Holy shit, only Sanderson can pull this one awesomely!” and I was right. The first few pages was enough to give you a sense of what was to come – a dark world that suddenly found itself at the mercy of new beings, and is helpless to go against it. Who can agains such superpowers? When I was done with the Prologue, I had to stop for a while, breathe, and gush about it to a friend of mine. That’s how good it was.

We all know how awesome Sanderson is, and how his writing is absolutely spectacular, so I won’t repeat myself. Instead, I’ll focus on certain aspects that made this book special to me.

1.) FUN FACTOR. This book is very fun. I am in awe of how Sanderson can make us feel depressed over the bleakness and hopelessness of his world, but still make it a fun ride at the same time. I liked how he shaped the world in a way that made it… endless, you know what I mean? Because every Epic is different, as sometimes they have more than one superpower, and they usually have a secret, hidden power, to be their trump card. I loved how it kept my imagination going, trying to guess what kind of superpower the next Epic we encounter will have. It reminded me so much of my childhood years playing “pretend games” with my brothers, as we tried to come up with various powers to destroy each other. The world-building wasn’t just unique to me, it was also very enjoyable in its entirety.

2.) THEME, PACE and CHARACTERS. In a nutshell, Steelheart is Brandon Sanderson’s love letter to comics, shounen manga, games, and action movies. I totally felt Batman vibes from it, and even felt like I was in Gothic city. Its atmosphere reminded me so much of the comic books I loved to read then. I also loved the Underdog (Humans with no powers) vs. Something Powerful (Epics). This is a common theme in shounen manga (boy comics in Japan) and loved how Sanderson killed it while also taking it to the next level, making me not just cheer for the protagonist but for everyone else, despite the lack of screentime. It’s fast-paced, with ample visually-enticing descriptions of fight scenes and environments, but even with that, it barely comprised character-building. And David! God, David was cool. I loved his geekiness. I loved how he used his smartie wits and knowledge to get his way around. I loved how he was such a nerd and be so adorable at it, too. He was extremely likeable, and I revere the dedication he gave towards his goal.

3.) ENDING. That. Ending. Damn son, that ending. I wish I can tell you more about it, but alas, spoilers have no place here. Still, though. That ending.

There were some things I didn’t like, but that’s just my being nitpicky. For example, while I liked Megan, I didn’t really like the twist that concerned her near the ending. I felt it was awfully cliché and wasn’t something I expected from Sanderson. I felt that David was better without Megan and vice versa. But anyway, like I said, I can be very nitpicky and it’s not a big deal.

Overall, though, this is an excellent book and an excellent start to an excellent series. I am very excited and am eagerly anticipating the next instalment. It has all the necessary elements  to a perfect read, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy the ride every step of the way. Especially recommended to comic, superhero, shounen manga, action fans.

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A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena


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  1. says

    The reviews are so divided. People familiar with his work either love it or are disappointed. I keep seeing it in stores and passing it by, because I’m just not sure. Everyone seems to agree that the world-building is stunning, though. That has always been his forte.

    You’re right about him infusing the funny in his writing. It surprised me when I read The Final Empire (the first book in his Mistborn trilogy), how he could make an epic fantasy so fun to read. It’s amazing how his world-building doesn’t suffer from it either.

    I’m glad you loved it!

  2. says

    Im halfway through the book and I’ve had every one of those thoughts. And the metaphors! Ninja alligators and pimple cleanser and even a buffet of gorillas. I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan and you’ve just convinced me to try out The Emperor’s Soul. Brilliant review!

  3. Sam Chua says

    Wonderful review! It is such an honest review. I love Sanderson’s work! Though I am in the group that’s disappointed with the book. It felt like a rehash of Mistborn. Have you read Mistborn? Hope you review it sometime in the near future. :D

  4. says

    This book sounds really good. I’ve never read anything by Brandom Steelheart, but I love lyrical prose. This book sounds tense and now I’m really intrigued by the ending. Great review!