Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

steelheartWhat would happen if suddenly, hundreds of random people across the world got incredible super powers including flight, control over the elements, invulnerability, precognition, and hypnotism?

David Charleston has spent his whole life researching these super humans, or Epics as they’re widely called, and may finally get his chance for revenge on the Epic who killed his father, Steelheart. But if it’s going to work, he needs the help of The Reckoners, a group of undercover agents who kill off Epics by using technology, wit, and sometimes their own two hands.  Oh, and it helps when they’re facing their imminent death with absolutely no chance of survival. But even so, Steelheart is the toughest target that they’ve ever gone after and it will take everything that they’ve got, and a little more, to have a chance at taking him down.

I enjoyed reading this incredible book, because, like Gone by Michael Grant, it provides many deep ideas with little explanation, giving the reader a larger impact over how they picture the story.  It was extremely fun to read and extremely hard to put down.  I loved this book so much that I finished it the day after I got it.  I recommend this book to comic nerds, and fans of Gone, Doctor Who, The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, Divergent, I Am Number Four, The Giver, and any other science fiction novel.  The only problem is that, once started, it will be practically impossible to think about anything else until you’re done, and even then, you’re going to want the sequel!

-Evan G., 6th grade

Book Review: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

firefightFinally, the wait has drawn to a close. On January 6, Firefight by Brandon Sanderson, arrived in bookstores for its hungry readers. Having read the advanced copy before the official publication date, I can assure you that this thriller lives up to the high expectations set by the first book, Steelheart.

After the Calamity, ordinary people around the world gained a variety of super powers. Almost immediately, society crumbled. The elite class of people called Epics subjugated and ruled over the ordinary people. After David and the insurgents of ordinary people called the Reckoners killed the ruthless High Epic, Steelheart, they showed the world that no Epic was safe.

Enter the sequel. Having met Firefight, an Epic struggling to turn good, David is no longer sure of the Reckoners’ vow to kill Epics. Seeking clarity, David travels to the city Babylon Restored, where Firefight was rumored to be. While the rest of the team is focused on taking down any enemy in their path, David must overcome his ethical problems and decide who the enemy is for himself.

Firefight emphasizes that there are always good people out there, which is more optimistic than Steelheart. The first book had convinced us that power inevitably leads to corruption, but now we’re thinking twice. One of the biggest revelations was the fact that gaining and using powers changes the mind of an Epic, forcing them to become violent and ruthless and filled with rage. If they truly can’t control themselves, then who is at fault? Is killing Epics an act of mercy for a doomed human? Much of the story involves David struggling to find a sense of purpose in the wake of these questions.

From start to finish, this story is really fun to read. Sanderson’s imagination and detail comprehensively describes the shape of society after Calamity. Many cities and ways of life have been altered by the powers of a single Epic. For example, the streets of Manhattan became canals and waterways when the Epic Regalia raised the sea level. The mysterious wielder of plants, Dawnslight, supplies the city with an abundance of food. Our protagonist David’s storytelling is realistic. He voices every thought that flits across his mind, as if we were really there. All in all, Firefight is yet another thought-provoking book that will keep you hooked. Look for it!

-Phillip X., 9th grade

Book Review: Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson

steelheartAt last, the age old question is answered: “What if you had superpowers?” In Brandon Sanderson’s postapocalyptic novel, Steelheart, a flash of light appear in the sky, giving random people across the world superpowers of all sorts, nicknamed Epics. With the arrival of newfound power, governments fall and chaos ensues. Powerful, invincible, the strongest Epics lay waste to their enemies, and stake their kingdoms across the Fractured States. Only the Reckoners, a band of ordinary people, dare to fight back. They carefully planned and assassinated the epics.

Steelheart, a brutal and undefeatable Epic, rules his city Newcago with an iron fist. When he kills David’s father, Steelheart sparks an obsession. For his entire life, David studied and theorized how to kill Epics, particularly Steelheart. The Reckoners came to Newcago, and his dreams were finally within reach. When he joins the insurgents, he joins the fight.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, having sped through it immediately after the book fair. Steelheart was kind of a twist on what I would have imagined. Rather than powers being used for the good of all, the people destroyed their own society. Would that be similar to a real life scenario? Maybe every child would think twice about their imaginative birthday wishes. I’d want powers anyways.

Steelheart is written very well, once again proving Sanderson’s skill as a writer. The story is fast paced, exciting, and creative- all the marks of a great thriller. Every scene was carefully detailed and engaging. It was interesting to see how people without powers could stand up against impossible enemies and odds. Also, the story was creative and original. Every time a new Epic was introduced, I could count on a new and unexpected power.

The characters! David constantly adapted to his surroundings, but never changed at heart. His determination, humor, and quirkiness were fun to read about the entire time. Even though he seemed casual on the surface, he knew what to do when the time came. The Reckoners crew provided a variety of characters, from the serious and calculating strategist to the goofball who loved jokes. The only character that was somewhat one-sided was the villain, Steelheart. Still, he made a pretty good bad guy.
All in all, read it! It’s a good book as any, with an awesome storyline. While you’re in the pages, you’ll feel heroic too.

-Phillip X., 9th grade