Book Review: Steelheart (The Reckoners, #1)
How are you doing? I hope you’ve got some great Halloween plans coming up. I just had a little game night with some friends and it was so nice to relax after a hellish week of work and grad school.
Anywho, I’m back at it again with another book review!
This time I read Steelheart (The Reckoners, #1) by Brandon Sanderson.
Ironically, before I read Skyward and Starsight, I had purchased Steelheart at the beginning of the pandemic. That’s right. This baby’s been sitting on my book shelves collecting dust for over a year. How dare I!
So, as a momentary palate cleanser from horror, this seemed a perfect little escape from numerous responsibilities. Did it compare to the other books by this author I’ve read? Keep on reading to find out!
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 will.
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.
I am an Amazon affiliate and earn a tiny commission for purchases made through the Amazon links in this post. It’s a great way to help me keep things running on my blog if you’re already intrigued enough to make a purchase.
I was really excited to give this book a try. Unfortunately, this read didn’t pan out as well for me as other Sanderson reads have. There were some good elements present, but several issues that bogged down my experience.
I usually start a review with addressing the characters, and that’s where the biggest issue lies for me. David is our MC, and he’s grown up in a post-apocalyptic world where superhumans control their lessers with cruelty and an iron fist. In a nutshell, his story arc is centered on vengeance/revenge, and that’s where the problem really starts for me.
I forget where I read it, but I’ve heard that basing a character on an arc of revenge ultimately doesn’t work out too well. That’s because there’s usually too much emphasis on what happened in the past and not enough development of the character outside of that. This is the issue I had with David. Throughout the book, we get to know every excruciating detail of his traumatic past, but not very much about him on an emotional level. Surely he would’ve developed as a person since the dreadful event happened years ago, but we don’t really see that in this novel and he comes off as fairly two-dimensional.
Also, David came across more like a 13-year old than 18 if you ask me. Part of that may be due to his traumatic past and I do understand that to a certain degree that can stunt growth, but it wasn’t completely believable to me.
Other characters were alright, but again we get the same issue with them as we did with David. They’re just not developed enough, and there’s little growth or depth to them.
Outside of the characters, the plot was a ton of fun! I was a 90’s kid, so anything superhero themed gets my attention. I liked the dreadful beaten world we get to explore and getting to know more about it. This was more of a heist kind of plot, but there was plenty of action and mystery along the way to keep me entertained and distract me from the character flaws I stated earlier.
I didn’t especially like the ending and how the figuring out of things was (to me) more of a revelation than a realization, but it did provide a fitting end to the first book.
Overall, I did enjoy myself to a fair extent with this book, but without a MC that really sets themselves apart, I will not be continuing this series.
That’s A Wrap!
Well that’s it for this book review. I hope you enjoyed it!
Have you read this book? Are there other similar books you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!
Have a great day!