Author: Brandon Sanderson

Publication: 2013, Delacorte Press

Pages: 384

Overall Rating: bth_4-star-rating_zps38e772a0[1]

Rating for Action: bth_5-star-rating_zps467d5332[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_5-star-rating_zps467d5332[1]

Age Category: 13+

Brief Summary: David lives in Newcago, a city in ruins ten years after the rise of the Epics – people with superhuman powers and a near universal desire to dominate and destroy. David’s dad was killed by Steelheart, the powerful ruler of Newcago. And in the years since, David has been driven by a single desire – revenge. He wants to team up with a band of underground assassins known only as The Reckoners. They don’t generally take new recruits, but David has something they need. He’s the only person alive who’s ever seen Steelheart bleed.

Age of Main Character: 18

What I Liked the Most: Sanderson turns the traditional superhero story on its head. There’s no shortage of villains with souped-up powers here, but the heroes who have to face them are ordinary people surviving off wits, planning, and a bit of epic-inspired technology.

Sanderson does an excellent job of spinning out the clues, dropping just enough hints to let us guess at Steelheart’s weakness, and at the secrets kept by some of David’s closest friends among the Reckoners, without giving away the truth until the very end. Plenty of suspense, and I thoroughly enjoyed trying to guess what was coming next.

Finally, while this may be a story of vengeance, Sanderson does take the time to step back and have his characters question whether going after Steelheart is really the right thing to do. It’s an honest, heartfelt discussion that makes their decision to continue with the plan all the more meaningful.

What I Liked the Least: David has an odd quirk. He’s bad with metaphors. It’s an interesting enough quirk to have, but the unfortunate downside is that the book is peppered with tons of intentionally awful metaphors.

How Good was the Action? Freaking awesome. The last hundred pages isn’t quite non-stop, but it sure comes close. There’s a motorcycle chase that’s got to rank among the top chase scenes in fiction – fast and dripping with energy. And the final showdown with Steelheart is something to behold. There’s no question that when it comes to action, Sanderson is a master.

How Engaging was the Story? I blazed through it. Sanderson’s peppered the story with lively characters – especially Cody, the free-spirited southerner with the heart of a Scotsman. And while David is sometimes a little too intense to really be fun his single-minded determination to get Steelheart does drive the story forward. And the task the Reckoners have set for themselves is so monumentally difficult it’s hard not to get caught up in.

Overall Assessment: Good, explosive super villain fun, with a cool premise and relentless action.

Profanity: Little to none.

Sex: None – though there are quite a few references to fellow Reckoner, Megan’s, curves and how beautiful David thinks she is.

Violence: Absolutely. People get shot is large numbers. There are fights and beatings. There’s not a huge amount of blood, but there’s nothing tame about this book either.

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