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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Credit: Penguin Random House

Can you imagine a world with superhero villains and no superheroes to conteract their evil?

That is the world of Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart. David was a boy when the Epics first appeared. He had seen face-to-face the most powerful: Steelheart. Steelheart's actions during this encounter set David on a 10-year mission of revenge. Without the resources to carry out his plan, he can do nothing but hope. That is until he meets The Reckoners: a vigilante group whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill Epics. What follows is a plot line involving ordinary humans trying to take down the most powerful beings on Earth.

Sometimes we must simply accept circumstances as they happen in life and adjust our plans as our circumstances change. This reader likes that Brandon Sanderson does not explain all the events in Steelheart. Circumstances exist that the characters have to deal with. An explanation of those circumstances would be superfluous. For example, An event called (SPOILER ALERT!) Calamity appears at about the same time as the Epics. Calamity is a constant red fireball in the sky whose origins remain a mystery. (END SPOILER ALERT!) Nor are the Epics and their powers explained. Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they human? How do they obtain their powers? None of that matters. Epics have arrived. They use their powers to enrich themselves at the expense of non-Epics. Life is difficult. While most people accept their lot under these circumstances, The Reckoners have decided to take matters into their own hands. How they handle those matters makes Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart an enjoyable read.

The futuristic, apocolyptic setting of Steelheart is one that few readers, if any, will ever experience for themsleves. However, any reader will be able to identify with the characters as human nature is universal, despite the varied environments in which anyone one of us finds ourselves. The characters' profiles are well written with enough complexity to make them identifiable without being over the top. A reader who enjoys science fiction and comic book superheroes will enjoy Steelheart.