From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of the Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson, comes the first book in a new, action-packed thrill ride of a series - Steelheart. 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 wills. 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.
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I always find it fascinating where writers get their ideas and, according to an article by Rachel Brutsch of the Deseret News, Brandon Sanderson was cut off in traffic one day and immediately thought of the other driver, “You’re lucky I don’t have super powers because I would totally blow your car off the road.” That immediate thought horrified him; and he thought, “Its a good thing I don’t have superpowers.” Then he pondered, “What if the evil guys had all of the super powers?” That idea was the essence for his new Y.A. series, “Reckoning.” Steeheart is a super-villain. He is one of many that received their power from a star called Calamity that appeared in the sky one day. Most thought the people that received these new found powers would use them for the benefit of mankind; wrong. With ultimate power comes ultimate corruption. Steelheart has the strength of 10 men. He’s virtually indestructible, he can fly and when he’s enraged he can turn inanimate objects into steel. He exercised that particular power to transform most of Chicago and part of Lake Michigan before becoming the emperor of “Newcago.” David Charleston was an eight year old boy when he saw Steelheart murder his father. Ten years has passed and David can think of only one thing; bringing Steelheart down. He is just a normal human and decides to recruit another group of humans, called “Reckoners” to help him. Reckoners study those like Steelheart, to learn their weaknesses. This is a story that has been told many times, the struggle between good and evil, but this time Superman is not on our side; can good still win? Its billed as a Y.A. book, and there is some romance that is usually associated with such genre, it does not, however, overwhelms the story; anyone that like Sci-Fi adventure should like this book. It is, after all, by Brandon Sanderson; and, by all indications it is the start of an epic tale.
Of all the scifi/fantasy audiobook genre to be found, one of my favorites is the superhero genre. Of course, it's nothing new - The greeks were all over this eons ago, and the story of Hercules is the penultimate hero, perhaps the culmination, of the genre' in its earliest era.
In this first of his "Reckoners" series, Brandon Sanderson has, as usual, moved into a fantastic departure from the typical. In this universe he's penned, the villains reign supreme, and the old adage "Ultimate power corrupts ultimately" is the norm. There are no superheroes, per se, as the various powers these unique individuals, or "epics," have acquired acquired so suddenly and completely have removed all moral boundaries and ethical limitations. The moral compass has been totally removed from the equation, and brutality rules supreme.
The epic in question, Steelheart, is a juggernaut that has little or no limits to his reign of terror. To him, the futile attempts of the government, rebels and even other epics to destroy him are not even a consideration. He is Hercules without conscience, and to him, we are afterthoughts, mere distractions compared his all-encompasing power and plans.
So, then, you ask, where is the story in all this?
This is a story of revenge, of desperation, of anger. It seems that this Hercules has an Achille's heel, a weakness that one ordinary man has quietly discovered, and is driven to both expose and deliver an end to this epic's reign of terror. This audiobook delivers plans within plans, a rich world with characters with varying motivations, and all at a strong pace, told by Sanderson in his always engaging and very entertaining writing. It's action from the very prologue through the ending of this first Reckoners novel. The narrator, Mr. Andrews, is strong, and worthy of the work.
Single words to describe this audiobook? How about: Engaging, Powerful, Entertaining to name a few?
For those of you who follow my reviews, look at my rating for this audiobook. It's HIGH, and it's EARNED it. It's quite rare for a novel to get this high of a rating from me - I'm BRUTAL in this regard, so when it DOES happen, you can be sure the work is well worth the listen.
And this audiobook is EXACTLY that.
If you enjoy Sanderson's body of writing, you're as excited as I am to see him dive head-first into this genre, and look forward with keen anticipation to the very next novel in the series.
Don't hesitate on this one - This is a "must buy" recommendation for your hard-earned Audible credit.