Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart Brandon Sanderson“Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson, New York : Delacorte Press, [2013]

A bank robbery is in progress. A lunatic is senselessly killing hostages. What are the people of Chicago to do? It all starts about two years ago when Calamity hit Earth. No one knows exactly what happened that day, but it caused unexpected changes to many people across the world. These changed people, called Epics, were gifted supernatural abilities that could be such things as super strength, generating electricity, or illusory abilities.

On the fated Day of Annexation, young David and his father are simply at the bank to take out a mortgage when Deathpoint decides to enter and vaporize people at will with a simple touch. Then out of nowhere, the famous Epic Steelheart enters in time to stop Deathpoint. Impervious to bullets, fire, and physical injury, Steelheart can easily overpower a lesser Epic like Deathpoint. Instead, Steelheart makes him an offer: “Give me your loyalty or die.” David’s father chooses to stand up to these Epics when others were afraid. David can only watch while he shoots at Steelheart and Deathpoint. Killing the latter, and surprisingly scaring the former, Steelheart retaliates by brutally murdering David’s father in front of his eyes and laying waste to the entire bank. After a miraculous escape, David vows revenge on Steelheart for that day.

Ten years later, Steelheart’s city of Newcago has been shrowded in darkness and covered in steel since Annexation. His Epic enforcers Nightwielder, Firefight, and Conflux help govern the city which runs as normally as the world can now that the Epics have seized control of the world with governments being left powerless to control them. This is where the Reckoners come in. A small rag-tag group of rebels who have made hits and eliminated several lesser Epics over the years, but haven’t tried to take on any of the powerful Epics.

Led by the mysterious “Prof”, David accidentally joins their ranks while helping the Reckoner, Megan, on a job to kill an Epic called Fortuity. The Reckoners, with the addition of both a new member and new information that David has gathered over the years, formulate a plot to try to figure out Steelheart’s weakness and overthrow him. Needless to say most assume he’s indestructible, but David is the only one alive that saw Steelheart bleed that day. Prof says to David, “You can’t be so frightened of what might happen that you are unwilling to act.”

Steelheart is a dystopia in a sense. With superheroes being forefront in the media today, what would the world actually become if average people gained superpowers?

Ray King is a Circulation Assistant at Graham Public Library. He can be reached at rking@alamancelibraries.org