Steelheart: The Reckoners, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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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 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.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 42 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||September 24 2013|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #541 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1 in Arts & Entertainment for Teens
#1 in Superhero Fiction
#1 in Superhero Fantasy
Top reviews from Canada
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I guessed one thing one and a half maybe, I guessed that Megan was an epic it was obvious to me after she died and Abraham was pointing out how she couldn’t use tensors and I thought that it was because she was an epic, I also didn’t believe it when she died. The other thing I guessed was that Steelheart could be harmed indirectly, it was wrong but David did think that was the case. I don’t know why but the final scene where Steelheart died by his own hand didn’t feel satisfying to me, it was a smart conclusion but I just didn’t feel anything in that moment
There’s a lot of preparation to be done by our heroes, and a lot of excellent character development by Mr. Sanderson. It does run dangerously close to being too slow. But the pacing was done well, bringing in just enough suspense to keep me turning pages.
It’s a slow build, but at the end of ‘part 3’ (there are four parts total) the book kicks itself into overdrive and continues at that break-neck speed until the end. In fact, the final scene in part three is probably my favorite scene in the whole book. It seems like it came straight out of a Marvel movie. It’s the kind of scene that makes you put the book down (just for a moment) to process and catch your breath.
The characters are fun, yet remain a little mysterious throughout. Some in serious ways, like hidden secrets from the past that might come back into play. While others are mysterious in ways not nearly as serious, like why does Cody use Scottish nomenclature with his southern accent?
My only picadillo had to do with the dialogue. Besides the Scottish-Southerner Cody, everyone was written the same way. Not only that, they all used fairly unnatural dialogue. To be honest, it really didn’t take away from the story.
Although this book has extra appeal to fans of comic books (and superheroes in general) I still think it has something for everyone. The main characters are in an extraordinary situation, but they themselves are very ordinary and relatable.
At the very least, give the prologue a read. If you feel like putting it down after that, it’s probably for the best. But I have a feeling you won’t.
So on release I saw this randomly on the Amazon store and said why not? I am a huge Brandon Sanderson fan might as well read it and support him ( WANT WORDS OF RADIANCE NOW),, so downloaded my kindle copy and will go out tomorrow to buy a (hardcover) a read it again on the weekend.
So I bought it, started reading it... and didn't stop. Here I am 6 hours later writing my thoughts and for me that it one of the strongest compliments I can give a book, also one of my reasons for being the huge Sanderson fan.
Some of my lack of excitement was because I'm not really a fan of superhero/villain stories (probably because I don't read them much). But this was awesome..
The plot was well structured, and the roller coaster ride had a few surprises, and twists and turns... some I saw coming from miles away... some I figured out right before the character did. **SPOILERS***(The biggest one for me was Steelheart's weakness, I guessed all of the characters guesses before there planning session, when they mentioned each of them I knew Sanderson wouldn't have use any of them as a weakness, but in the end when it was revealed it was so obvious. The other twist was Megan another surprise (of course Brandon mention all of the foreshadowing when he reveals it. The most obvious twist was the Prof's.
The characters are standard Sanderson fare... but every time he gets better at creating them and this is no exception.
All in all I read books to be entertained, to be awed, to be transported to another place. Thank you Brandon Sanderson for doing it again. A true master story teller.
Though in this Sanderson is also evil... I have to wait for the next book in this series... the Stormlight Series... and basically all his other planned Cosmere books. (very selfish of me I know....)
One of my favorite Sanderson novels... only behind Way of kings, and Emperors Soul..
Note: This would probably be the best Sanderson novel to adapt to film. Way of Kings (would have to be stripped bare)... and Mistborn is more like a videogame.
These are billed as "Young Adult" books. The plotlines are well-planned and executed, but less intricate that the typical Cosmere series. Given the "Young Adult" description however, this is to be expected. The plots are still as good as I would expect from a typical professional author.
I am fan of Brandon. Read all his books and find it light yet intense, fun yet engaging. Style of writing is clear, smooth flow, well written. Lots of research added in to make it realistic.
I strongly recommend this new entertaining series. Great read!
Top reviews from other countries
It’s been a while since a Fantasy novel has truly engrossed me, but Brandon Sanderson is a magician amongst mere mortals. It’s usually within pages that I will be able to determine whether a novel is going to submerge me within its world, whether I mould between its pages…I was a goner by page two. Brandon Sanderson had my heart beating at a staccato rhythm and my imagination on red alert. He is the master of foreshadowing, a breaker of wills and the puppet master of emotion. This book was all kinds of awesome. Why on earth has it taken me so long to read Brandon Sanderson’s work?
Calamity has visited the earth and brought with its cataclysmic effects. It has in its wake created Epics, an evolved human if you will. They have superpowers, there is no rhyme or reason to the who or the why, but these epics are not the heroes the world is expecting. They use their powers for bad…they use it to control and manipulate. Their rule is absolute, and it’s done with an iron fist. Life is drastically altered for the average human being. They no longer have the luxuries and things they took for granted is no long gone. Things will never be the same again. The rule and policing from the United States Government has collapsed like a deck of cards. In its wake we have super epics making the rules and controlling the fractured states, some doing a better job of it than others. One such fractured state is the destroyed city of Chicago, now known as Newcago, ruled by an extremely powerful Epic, called Steelheart. This Epic has a mysterious past with non-epic human, David who will spend years plotting his revenge…
I have seen Steelheart bleed.
David has witnessed Steelheart at his most destructive and soul-less. The death of his father was at his monstrous hands. Killing him was nothing, no guilt, no remorse. It was necessary. After all, his father was the only one to make Steelheart bleed. David has dedicated ten years of his life researching the Epics powers and what can kill them. His research is the only thing that he cares about. He dreams that one day he will be the one responsible for ending Steelhearts vicious rule. He acquaints himself with a vigilante group, known simply as the reckoners – they have one job – to kill every Epic they can get their hands on, to provide hope, and faith to humankind that this rule can end. The group is made up of five members – Prof, Tia, Cody, Abraham and Megan. An intriguing group made up of the very existence of the human condition. They are fuelled by emotion, strength, an iron will and a badass attitude.
Just how do you kill an all-powerful being seem to defy physics and time. Epics than can create illusions to confuse their enemies. Epics that can power entire cities with the raw power they can harness. Epics that can harness the darkness to kill its prey. One thing that David continues to prove time and time again though, is that they all have a weakness. That one thing that can be used to kill them. But, how do they discover what that is?
David’s dogged determination is what gets him taken into The Reckoners fold. He has lived for nothing else but to take down Steelheart. The fact that he has seen him bleed has their immediate attention, no one has known why Steelheart got that scar, not even his right-hand men. Not everyone is enamoured with the new member but what is the reasoning behind it?
“Sometimes, son,” my father said, prying my fingers free, “you have to help the heroes along.”
A True David vs. Goliath story. The story encapsulates pedal to the metal. This is exactly how Young Adult should be written. The ending ensured I was in this for the long haul.
Sanderson has a good imagination and constructs workable mythologies - everything makes sense and fits together, which is actually uncommon I find in sci-fi novels. (Spoilers) This is, however, basically the Matrix in structure and characters. The Matrix itself was compiled from other sources I know so can't complain, but the lack of originality - amongst the great originality - is quite noticeable. You have a small team of revolutionaries in a sci-fi setting trying to take down some super powerful bad guys. There is a muscley black dude who carries machine guns, a wise mysterious leader in a long black coat, a nerdy one who orchestrates the operation, a hot girl, and our hero the outsider who becomes crucial to the team and learns superpowered skills. They all run around underground tunnels, speed around on motorcycles, etc etc.
There is too much dialogue throughout, and seeing as each team member has one main character trait we keep hearing about, it begins to get a little tiring, but you do root for them and it's a page turning read. I downloaded the next novel straight away and am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next installment.
I liked this book, it was written well, in the sand that it was written in a very engaging and easy to read style. It's written in first person, which I'm always a bit way of, but it was OK. A few things David said grated on me a bit, the metaphors and such. But generally it was OK. The story was good, it moved on at quite a good pace and we got to know all the characters quite well. The world building was also great, I felt as though I knew a lot about the world while reading, but didn't feel overwhelmed by all the information we were getting.
There were however a few things I didn't like about this book. The plot, while interesting was quite predictable. The pace also grated me, there so much build up! But the big fight that the characters were talking for most of the novel, only took place in the last 10% of the book! Which made it a little underwhelming I feel.
But I did enjoy this book, I'm not 100% sure that I will carry on with this series, I have heard so many wonderful things about Sanderson, that I feel a little cheated that I didn't love it! But perhaps this book is solely a YA read and if you are a bit older as I am, it doesn't enthrall you as much as it should do. So I think I may read another of Sanderson's books from another series, before I return to this trilogy.
Imagine a world full of super-humans. But instead of great power bringing great responsibility, it only brings corruption . . . and evil. Only a dedicated band of humans, calling themselves the Reckoners, work to find a way of defeating them; the Epics.
David is the only person alive who has seen Steelheart, the Epic who rules over Newcago, bleed. He hopes that secret will be his passport to joining the Reckoners. He has spent the last ten years studying the Epics for a chance at vengeance, a chance to make Steelheart bleed again and avenge his father's murder. However, David didn't fully understand what that would entail until he is caught in the middle of a hit on an Epic. David must survive long enough to prove his worth to the Reckoners and somehow convince them that he can defeat the most powerful Epic in the world; Steelheart.
This is essentially a revenge story set in a post-apocalyptic world caused and now ruled by superheroes. Whilst there seems to be a good effort to classify and explain the various superpowers on display, it lacks the hard edge theoretical science to be true SF. The characters themselves comment on this by stating that no one really understands why these people have become supers, though it is alluded to that a huge red comet stuck in the Earth's orbit has something to do with it, and that the powers and weaknesses are somewhat illogical. The story is entirely contained within Newcago, formerly Chicago until Steelheart, in a rare display of his powers, caused most of the city to turn into metal. Steelheart rules his domain with an iron-fist, destroying anyone who defies his rules, with the highest crime being acts of attrition against any Epic. However, in comparison to other parts of the world, Newcago is a veritable haven, with people generally protected from attack from anyone other than Steelheart's inner circle, plus running water and electricity and a police force to ensure law and order. The ground level and the high-rises are reserved for Epics and those humans that serve them, e.g. accountants, scientists, engineers, etc. Most of the rest of humanity live underground in subterranean levels burrowed out by people "gifted" with the ability to burrow through metal. "Gifting" is one of the cooler innovations Sanderson has attributed to a rare few Epics. Its kind of the reverse of David Farland's Runelords, or if you like, the opposite to Rogue's (X-Men) powers, i.e. an Epic can gift one of his abilities for a limited time to a normal human being.
The story is told in the first person, with David as the viewpoint protagonist, filling in the reader with his encyclopedic knowledge of Epics. David has been shaped by the traumatic experience of watching his father murdered before his eyes by Steelheart and then spent the next ten years of his life gathering as much intel on Epics, whilst trying to keep his head low and working in a weapon's factory becoming an expert in guns. The supporting cast is made up of the Reckoners, with Megan, a red headed femme fatale that favors pistols over rifles, Cody, a Scotsman from Tennesee with a penchant for wild stories, Abraham, a French-Canadian who provides the voice of reason and superior marksman skills, Tia, a tech wizard with a sweet-tooth for Cola and Prof, the enigmatic leader of the Reckoners.
The writing and dialogue is solid and functional, telling the story well enough with little artistic flair. But perhaps that isn't so important in the bigger picture of presenting an interesting take on the superhuman mythos. The plot really does come into its own after David has become a fixture within the Reckoners. I found some of the twist perdictabe, nevertheless the execution of these twists and the pacing is faultless, with the big reveal at the end still worthy of the time invested in the book by the reader.
Sanderson supposedly developed the original idea in 2007, but it is difficult not to draw parralells with the plot of Injustice: Gods Amongst Us, in which Superman is tricked into killing Lois Lane by the Joker (just like Herucles was tricked by Hera), who then kills the Joker in cold blood, then goes on to establishing his dominion over the world and all the other superheroes and villains. The Reckoners sound a lot like a dispersed and under-funded version of Batman Inc, with the Prof even doing a good impression of the Bat in his black lab coat and apparell. There are even a few nods in the story to Superman, with David's dad wearing a Superman tshirt when he is killed by Steelheart, who incedently could be a dead-ringer for the last son of Krypton, and Abraham wears an "S" shaped locket around his neck. Despite these similarities and homages, Steelheart still comes across as an original take on the superhero mythos and will definitely appeal to fans of Tom Reynold's Meta and the Double Helix series by Jade Kerrion. There is a good chance that Steelheart will be picked up by Hollywood and will grace the silverscreen in the not to distant future. What I would like to see is a video-game adaptation of this book. Would I read the inevitable sequel? Most definitely, yes.
- The beautiful girl who initially hates the hero but is initially won round to become his doting lapdog - looked like it would happen but didn't!
- The legendary mentor who for no reason has to take a back seat to the young inexperienced protagonist (Gandalf anyone?) - looked like it would happen but didn't!
Only real criticisms would be that the dialogue is a little clunky and the Reckoners are a little too quick to start listening to their new rookie's suggestions and theories.
I am eager to continue by reading Firefight, and it's not often the first book of a trilogy/series inspires me to keep going with it.