I recommend the Audible edition -- the narrator adds great atmosphere and tension to the all dialogue episode. Even though it's short, it stands alone as an emotional and fascinating story.
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.
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