By Brandon Sanderson
Available now from Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House)
The day I read this book I was very, very into reading it. This is not an unusual occurrence, but I was notably reluctant to do such things as put down my book and eat food. (Eating is an activity widely recognized as good for continuing to live.) This led to the following bit with my dad:
Me: So you know how it's a common premise in stuff for something to happen and people suddenly have superpowers?Basically, STEELHEART is about the world in which Superman is a bad guy, running the place, and there is no Batman with a Kryptonite-laced plan to stop him. The only person who has any inkling of how to stop the invulnerable Steelheart is David, an eighteen year old living in Newcago who saw Steelheart bleed on the day he killed David's father ten years ago. (This happens in the chilling prologue that sets the tone for how impossible it is to put STEELHEART down.) Now David is trying to team up with the Reckoners, the only non-Epics who fight back, to try to stop Steelheart's rule.
Me: What if something happened, and there were just supervillains?
Him: No superheroes?
Me: No superheroes.
STEELHEART is a fantastic book, whether you're into comic book-style stories or not. It's got great, memorable characters. Best of all, their physical abilities are second to their smarts. How else do you take down someone who has superpowers? David, in particular, is a massive nerd. And it's up to the nerds to save the world. The ratio of male to female main characters isn't perfect, but I do love that the love interest Megan is extremely competent and laughs at the hero when he absolutely and totally fails to be smooth.
I loved the plot, which keeps things rolling, but throws several curveballs into the seemingly perfect plan and has enough breathing room for the characters to question what they are doing and why. In fact, I never thought much about some of their motivations until the book brought it up. I might've questioned them after finishing, when my brain shifted back to pure analysis, but no need since they're addressed on the page.
Brandon Sanderson is a talented science fiction and fantasy author, and I am quite happy he's writing some YA now as well. Especially when that YA is as good as STEELHEART! And let me tell you, I wish I did not have to wait for the next book. If I had a superpower, it would be to will sequels into existence faster.