I read, I write; I listen
I always find it fascinating where writers get their ideas and, according to an article by Rachel Brutsch of the Deseret News, Brandon Sanderson was cut off in traffic one day and immediately thought of the other driver, “You’re lucky I don’t have super powers because I would totally blow your car off the road.” That immediate thought horrified him; and he thought, “Its a good thing I don’t have superpowers.” Then he pondered, “What if the evil guys had all of the super powers?” That idea was the essence for his new Y.A. series, “Reckoning.”
Steeheart is a super-villain. He is one of many that received their power from a star called Calamity that appeared in the sky one day. Most thought the people that received these new found powers would use them for the benefit of mankind; wrong. With ultimate power comes ultimate corruption.
Steelheart has the strength of 10 men. He’s virtually indestructible, he can fly and when he’s enraged he can turn inanimate objects into steel. He exercised that particular power to transform most of Chicago and part of Lake Michigan before becoming the emperor of “Newcago.”
David Charleston was an eight year old boy when he saw Steelheart murder his father. Ten years has passed and David can think of only one thing; bringing Steelheart down. He is just a normal human and decides to recruit another group of humans, called “Reckoners” to help him. Reckoners study those like Steelheart, to learn their weaknesses.
This is a story that has been told many times, the struggle between good and evil, but this time Superman is not on our side; can good still win?
Its billed as a Y.A. book, and there is some romance that is usually associated with such genre, it does not, however, overwhelms the story; anyone that like Sci-Fi adventure should like this book. It is, after all, by Brandon Sanderson; and, by all indications it is the start of an epic tale.
Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL
yes, but i couldn't. hey! i have a day job! LOL it took 2 days. after writing a bunch of SQL and LINQ code for 6 hours straight ON A SATURDAY, this story was a welcome reward. even though i had to be up on sunday at 7 a.m., i kept listening until i was finished at a little after 3 a.m. yup, i was totally engrossed!
i'm attracted to stories where a person or group of people are up against a seemingly impossible situation, and what's more impossible than trying to kill the most powerful super villain, especially when you have no superpowers yourself?
this is the situation our protagonist, david, finds himself in. david is at the bank with his father the day steelheart decides to take over Chicago. during a melee with another "epic," super-powered human, david's father manages to injure steelheart by accident. as any paranoid super villain would, steelheart decides to utterly destroy the bank and everyone in it to hide the fact that someone as seemingly impervious to any type of attack as he's supposed to be was some how injured. david barely manages to escape, and he knows that steelheart will go to any lengths to protect his secret.
there are layers of conflict in this story. the outer layers are obvious- the conflicts between battling epics for the domination and subjugation of normal humans. the middle layers- the conflicts between characters. the inner layers- the conflicts raging within each character. i can't say much more w/o spoiling some of the story. sanderson seamlessly weaves these layers together, creating a rich depthness of character, and you can't help but wonder what you'd really do. the characters connect with you, and each character's viewpoint is distinct enough that different listeners would undoubtedly decide which character's viewpoint matches their own. i actually found myself wavering between 2 drastically differing viewpoints- prof's and megan's. both are cogent arguments.
the pacing of this story is perfect. the action sequences are exciting, and the dialogue is spot on. it is meaningful and believable. there are a few nice twists and turns in the story.
the narration is great. i have been a fan of macleod andrews since i heard him narrate the sandman slim series. his gritty voice matches our young protagonist, david's. he also does a great job voicing the other characters.
I was shocked at how much I really like this book. At first I was worried it would turn out to be only so-so, but it totally wasn't. The surprise twists and character development and underlying moral lessons made this a fantastic book. I really hope the author does a sequel to this book soon.
Of all the scifi/fantasy audiobook genre to be found, one of my favorites is the superhero genre. Of course, it's nothing new - The greeks were all over this eons ago, and the story of Hercules is the penultimate hero, perhaps the culmination, of the genre' in its earliest era.
In this first of his "Reckoners" series, Brandon Sanderson has, as usual, moved into a fantastic departure from the typical. In this universe he's penned, the villains reign supreme, and the old adage "Ultimate power corrupts ultimately" is the norm. There are no superheroes, per se, as the various powers these unique individuals, or "epics," have acquired acquired so suddenly and completely have removed all moral boundaries and ethical limitations. The moral compass has been totally removed from the equation, and brutality rules supreme.
The epic in question, Steelheart, is a juggernaut that has little or no limits to his reign of terror. To him, the futile attempts of the government, rebels and even other epics to destroy him are not even a consideration. He is Hercules without conscience, and to him, we are afterthoughts, mere distractions compared his all-encompasing power and plans.
So, then, you ask, where is the story in all this?
This is a story of revenge, of desperation, of anger. It seems that this Hercules has an Achille's heel, a weakness that one ordinary man has quietly discovered, and is driven to both expose and deliver an end to this epic's reign of terror. This audiobook delivers plans within plans, a rich world with characters with varying motivations, and all at a strong pace, told by Sanderson in his always engaging and very entertaining writing. It's action from the very prologue through the ending of this first Reckoners novel. The narrator, Mr. Andrews, is strong, and worthy of the work.
Single words to describe this audiobook? How about: Engaging, Powerful, Entertaining to name a few?
For those of you who follow my reviews, look at my rating for this audiobook. It's HIGH, and it's EARNED it. It's quite rare for a novel to get this high of a rating from me - I'm BRUTAL in this regard, so when it DOES happen, you can be sure the work is well worth the listen.
And this audiobook is EXACTLY that.
If you enjoy Sanderson's body of writing, you're as excited as I am to see him dive head-first into this genre, and look forward with keen anticipation to the very next novel in the series.
Don't hesitate on this one - This is a "must buy" recommendation for your hard-earned Audible credit.
Below is my review of the story, which I recommend strongly. First let me speak to the narration -- this is a strong reading and I found the narrator was overall a great fit. There is one challenge of the American South + Scottish character but the voices are distinct and clear and nicely arranged around the point-of-view character of David.
Sanderson’s Steelheart introduces us into a world where, after a mysterious light appears in the sky, a few people emerge with super-powers. However, with these super-powers comes incredible anger and greed, and the “Epics” as they are called become tyrannical rulers of near-future earth.
In Chicago, now called Newcago and whose streets have been turned to steel by the power of its Epic lord Steelheart, we find young David, who as a child witnessed Steelheart’s rise to take control of Newcago. Now, David watches and learns the powers and the weaknesses of the Epics, hoping to take them on directly. He’s not alone, the Reckoners are a team of others who also work to overcome the incredible powers and corruption of the Epics.
Overall the story moves fast and remains fascinating as David learns secrets of the Epics and of the Reckoners and battles Epics directly and indirectly. Two pieces felt slow to me -- there is a ton of detail around each gun and weapon available to mere mortals. While the detail adds authenticity, it feels like people are talking a heckuva lot about gun mechanics all the time. There’s also a philosophical debate regarding how to deal with the Epics -- makes for interesting discussion but felt like it bogged down in repetition.
Like other Sanderson novels, there’s a lot of buildup and sudden overdrive in speed, tension, and twists at the very end, where many pieces come together and we have a satisfying conclusion. This payoff works well here, and I enjoyed every second of the endgame, and can’t wait for the sequels, which will no doubt explore more about the Epics and their mysterious powers.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. The story itself was novel (for me, anyway), and well written. I love a book that really gets me invested in the characters and between Sanderson and Andrews, this story was really brought to life. Andrews' narration was exemplary. As this is the start of a series, I really hope he reads for the next book, as well. I usually listen to books while running and I found myself listening to this one also while driving, cooking, cleaning...I couldn't walk away from it. Very enjoyable read and I would highly recommended it.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
I was a little worry about this one just because I don't like reading 5 stars reviews on a title that I'm interested in, but I can totally see why that "Steelheart" is getting raving reviews from avid readers that like science fiction. Brandon Sanderson is an awesome writer and I need to read more from his list. If his other books are just as good as "Steelheart", I really need to keep this author on my radar.
I really enjoy reading sci fi. It helps me take a break from the norm and lets me escape and let my mind drift to another universe. This is why I love sci fi. Sanderson is a solid writer. Instead of building up mindless fluff, he writes his characters to be bad to the bone. Steelheart was like watching an action movie, expecting explosions at both ends.
I can't wait for more upcoming books to this series. I can't wait to read more of future days combats. It's like reading a graphic novel with many words.
This is definitely a YA book, and it shows. I read it because it was highly recommended based on some other books I've read, and while the concept was interesting, I found the story to be simplistic - to the point of being borderline childish - and highly predictable. I found myself getting frustrated waiting for the characters to catch up with what I already knew was going to happen, and the "twists" weren't a surprise for me. I finished it, but I can't imagine recommending it to an adult and I certainly won't read any further into the series. I'd maybe recommend this for my 13 year old nephew.
It clearly wasn't written for adults, so any recommendations I'd make would fundamentally change the nature of the book. I gave the story three stars (average) in deference to that fact.
I thought the narration was very well done, and entertaining. He did very well with the material.
It's written as #1 in a series, so a follow-up is a given.
Brandon Sanderson is a masterful writer and I look forward to anything he publishes but I hesitated to jump on Steelheart because Super Hero fiction is not at the top of my favorite genre list. However, it is a Brandon Sanderson story so I could not stay away for long...
A burst in the sky known as Calamity knocks society into a post-apocalyptic world ruled by Super Villains known as Epics. The story takes place in Newcago (formerly Chicago) where an Epic known as Steelheart ruthlessly establishes his dominion over both humans and lesser Epics. Everyone knows Steelheart is invincible and even the Reckoners, a group of humans rumored to hunt and kill Epics, won't mess with him.
However, young David Charleston has a secret that he has kept hidden for the last 10 years. He has witnessed something that no other living person ever has - he has seen Steelheart bleed. He hopes to somehow use this knowledge to exact revenge on Steelheart for killing his father but he knows he will never be able to do that by himself. That is where the Reckoners come in....
In true comic book superhero fashion this story is a thrill ride full of impossible situations and long odds for the good guys. Although it isn't very deep, the story kept me interested and Sanderson's characters all have unique and interesting personalities. MacLeod Andrews is excellent and he does a great job on the character voices. Although I may have been slow to start this series, once I finished Steelheart I did not hesitate to move on to the short story Mitosis and book 2, Firefight. If you are reading this review then I would suggest it is time for you to play catch up as well.
Note: if you a fan of Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines then I would think you would enjoy this book as well and vice-versa.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
I'm a Sanderson fan, but I might not sound like it here. Perhaps I grade him harshly because some of his other work is so good. I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it, particularly for a YA audience, but not-so-Y adults will enjoy it as well.
Sanderson does well what he always does well:
-Characters have very cool magical powers.
-Fight scenes with magic are fast and plentiful.
-The "all super villain / no super hero" premise is great!
-The post (ongoing?) - apocalyptic setting is interesting with plenty of room to develop. Though this last is full of anthropological and incentive-based paradoxes that you are better off not thinking too deeply about.
In my mind, these are enough to carry the book. These alone make it good enough. Unfortunately, there are some issues that are uncharacteristically slapdash. The general narrative is just too convenient. The plot never really derails, the characters have already planned everything out and nearly always find what they are looking for. Any twists are very forseeable. Sanderson drops too many clues. I'm horrible at figuring these things out and even to me it seemed plain as day. The characters are pretty wooden. There are some exceptions. Ok, one. Cody. But the rest are underdeveloped.
Lastly, the "boy meets girl" piece is achingly contrived. I know Sanderson wanted wanted a young love element. But, come on, of course the crack team of hardened super villain assassins is going to include a pretty girl his own age who resents him at first, and warms to him later when he demonstrates his quality. Of course it does. While I can suspend disbelief to fit a villain-created forever night in a steel-fossilized Chicago, the love interest character is a bit too fantastical.
The reader was good. Very well cast to do a young man narrator. His accents were ok as were his characterizations.
NOTE: As of this writing there is a free short story available on Audible as an interlude to the series. The next full novel that has not yet been published.