Book Review: Steelheart


Title: Steelheart

Author:  Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 5/5 stars

Series: Yes.  1 of 3.


Oh my goodness this book was so fun!  If the rest of my reads this August is as entertaining as Steelheart, I’m in for a treat this month!

I know I was harping on about how I was sick of dystopia just like one review ago.  This book is a post-apocalyptic type scenario but I loved it so much, here’s all my reasons why.  SPOILERS:  It’s because Brandon Sanderson is a freaking genius.

Silhouettes + Cityscape Vectors from Freepik.


Epics had a distinct, even incredible, lack of morals or conscience. That bothered some people, on a philosophical level. Theorists, scholars. They wondered at the sheer inhumanity many Epics manifested. Did the Epics kill because Calamity chose—for whatever reason—only terrible people to gain powers? Or did they kill because such amazing power twisted a person, made them irresponsible?

Since an event known as Calamity, numerous humans throughout The Fractured States developed superpowers.  Instead of following down Spiderman’s path and exercise the whole ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ stint, all of these mutants – now called Epics – just kinda went ‘Hey, screw the rest of mankind, I’m gonna enslave you all’.  You know the old adage, ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

“I’ve seen Steelheart bleed.
And I will see him bleed again.”

The villain of this piece is Steelheart, a High Epic with super strength, impervious to all assaults, shoots lasers out of his hands, and oh… he can turn everything into steel.  No one’s ever seen him vulnerable, except for our young protagonist: David.  David witnessed Steelheart bleed when he was 8, right before the Epic ruthlessly killed his father. He’s been plotting his revenge ever since.

All of the different Epics and their varied super powers + corresponding weaknesses: there’s Faultline who can cause earthquakes, Nightwielder who can hold an entire city in darkness, Fortuity with precognitive abilities, all must be taken down by a different method.  I’ve always admired Brandon Sanderson’s magic systems, despite set laws so much is possible!  The plans our protagonists have to devised to take down each Epic is particularly fun.

If you loved the X-men, you’ll adore this.  If you liked superheroes, you’ll adore this.  Heck, even if you’re sick of Marvel’s cinematic sea of sameness (like myself), you’ll adore this!

2. Worldbuilding

It’s always dark in Newcago. Because of Nightwielder there are no sunrises, and no moon to speak of, just pure darkness in the sky. All the time, every day.

I loved the atmosphere of the book.  Newcargo has been turned into a steel jungle, with the majority of humans forced to live underground and in the darkness.  The setting of the book was described in vivid detail. There’s also the mafia mobster set up, with each High Epic reigning over certain area as cruel dictators.  We only saw Newcargo in this book, apparently a city with the most organised societal structure – and it was still pretty darn messed up.  I hope to see different locations in future books. I would also love to see more of the other humans in the book and how they live, as we spend a lot of the time seeing things from the Reckoner’s point of view.

Aside from the Epics, there was also all of the technology and weaponry the Reckoners (a human rebel alliance of sorts) used – I love all these Bond-like gadget thingymabob.  I appreciated the attention to detail Brandon Sanderson pays to explaining how these high tech equipments work, it’s something that’s so often glossed over.

3.  Endearing Characters

“Where there are villains, there will be heroes. Just wait. They will come.”

In many stories with a large group of characters, I often find it hard to differentiate between the sidekicks, but I liked that in Steelheart, they were all given flavours of their own.  Firstly, we have David, our nerdy (don’t say that to his face, though) narrator who’s been harbouring lofty hopes of vengeance for most of his childhood. He’s dedicated his life to studying the Epic in minute details to find each of their weaknesses. When he’s not doing that, he pores over The Reckoners’ activities as he hope to join them one day.  I admire a hero who can use his brain, so I adored David.  The fact that he makes these clunky metaphors make me like him even more, I never understood why all heroes were so unfailingly witty. Here’s just one example of his adorably awful metaphors.

“He was right. I was letting myself get distracted, like a rabbit doing math problems instead of looking for foxes.”

I also love the other characters.  Megan, a sharpshooting member of The Reckoners who’s more than just a designated love interest.  Prof, our stand in for Charles Xavier, who clings to hope for humanity while he fights larger than life evil.  Tia, the brain of the operations.  Abraham, suprisingly gentle gruff bear.  Cody, endearing Scotsman with tall tales for days.  The only thing I’d fault about the characterisation is the depiction of The Epics.  They were a bit cartoonish in their unabashed villainy.

Overall this is one thrilling, entertaining and addictive book.  If you feel in the mood for action and heroic feats, check it out!  However, do not make the same mistake I did and look up the name of the sequel inadvertently… it ruins the ending for you *SOBS*

Have you read Steelheart? Thoughts?  Please recommend me some more superhero/villains type reads – I’m only aware of Vicious & the upcoming Zeroes.

61 thoughts on “Book Review: Steelheart

    1. I’m so glad Steelheart is an amazing read! I’m not into the superhero thing but I’m in for a nerdy (sorry David) protagonist!

      Even though I said that I’m still not sure if I’d read it, but if I were to read it it’d probably for David and to find out about that weakness! Soooo curious.

      Great review Aentee x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My blog definitely does not get enough comment to warrant you saving the first post omg haha ❤

        This one is great it's basically a Hollywood summer blockbuster in a book! Super fun and highly recommended ❤ thanks for commenting ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well better safe than sorry! And don’t worry, at your rate right now the competition for me will surely rise soon enough. 😉

        It actually feels that way now that you mention it! This sounds like a fun summer read (Brunei is all year round hot and gross- I mean humid so its basically appropriate to call it 12-months-read than a “summer” read xD)


  1. I was unsure about reading this book up until I read your post. Anything superhero/villain related is immediately right up my alley! Hopefully I get to this as soon as possible this month. (:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PLEASE DO 😀 if only because I love reading your reviews the most you make the most unique observations ❤ PLUS THIS BOOK IS PURE FUN!!


  2. Ugh. This was going to be my next read. And I was headed to my local library to borrow their only copy. Then I find out SOMEONE GOT TO IT FIRST. So now I wait again. I need me a Sanderson fix though. Glad you liked Steelheart!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH NO THATS THE WORST! I hope you get your hands on it soon! Steelheart made me want to go on a mad Sanderson spree but I’ve already read most of his books. I guess there’s always the sequel 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve only finished the Mistborn trilogy last summer, and that alone turned me into a convert. Thankfully he’s a crazy prolific writer so I still have quite a bit of his books to read!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I really liked Elantris as well. I haven’t read The Stormlight Archives though cos the size scares me a little haha. I’m such a slow reader it will devour me.


    1. I’ve read it years ago but seriously need a reread! Especially as the new book is coming out.

      Yesss I think you will enjoy this one f you liked the superpower element in Red Queen- it’s like that but better!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ohmygosh, this sounds epic! AND THE VILLAIN TOO. i can slowly feel my TBR get out of control while I do nothing to stop it. Not that I’m complaining of course XD Bring on all the books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, blogging and blog reading has turned my TBR pile. I’m all “omg I have to read that” to every second post on my feed XD IT’S THE BEST!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay I hope you’ll like it if you do get around to reading it. Everyone needs a bit of Brandon Sanderson magic in their life!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have read The Final Empire series by Brandon Sanderson and I was blown away by his writing style! I completely agree with you that he is a genius! I think I am ruined for all other fantasy series. I am already dying to read something else by him. I was thinking about picking this one up or The Warbreakers. Great review! I saw your blog mentioned over at Paper Fury!


    1. Ooo I really liked Warbreakers as well, this one is funner but Warbreakers have so much delicious drama! Thanks so much for visiting Theresa! I owe Cait for that mention, my pageviews spiked up overnight, the power of Paperfury is great haha!


  5. Hi, new blog reader here! I found your blog through Sarah at The Reading Petal. 🙂

    This book was already on my to-read list, but now I’m even more excited. I like books with a great group of characters, and who doesn’t love a good villain? I read The Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price last month, and it sounds like it’s right up your alley. It’s another book featuring a diverse group of characters with awesome superpowers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the book rec THE FLIGHT OF THE SILVERS sound exactly like my kind of thing!

      Eternally grateful to Sarah for linking me in her post! And thanks for visiting Maraia 🙂 hope you enjoy this book when you read it!!


      1. Sarah is great, isn’t she? I forgot to mention that Juliet Marillier is one of my all-time favorite authors, so I was very excited to see her mentioned on your About Me page. 😀 Which books of hers have you read?


    1. You need Brandon Sanderson in your life Vane! His dedicated worldbuilding is admirable — hope you read one of his many books soon 😉


    1. Yay thanks for the rec I will definitely look into it!! Glad you also enjoyed it 🙂 can’t wait to read Firefight!


  6. I NEED TO READ THIS!!! I have heard nothing but AMAZING things. And a guy I worked with has been bugging me to read it since the moment it came out. I need to, I have no excuse for why I haven’t got to it yet. I think a part of me wants all the books to be out, so I don’t have to wait for any of the books as I get far too impatient.


    1. The guy at your work is a definite good egg for recommending this, go read it immediately haha! The last book is out soonish I think 😉


  7. Oooh, I’ve heard about Steelheart on other blogs, but I wasn’t that interested until I read this post. Supervillains? YES. YES PLEASE. I’m really excited about it now… but I can’t understand how anyone could be sick of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. True, it disappoints every once in a while, but overall, they do a wonderful job imho. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So many supervillains, get into it! The writing is very cinematic as well.

      I still like The Avengers because how can I not?! But my bf’s disdain for marvel’s lack of creativity rubbed off on me a little hahah.


  8. I make it no secret that I am a Brandon Sanderson fangirl, I adore both his adult and YA books. So glad you liked this! I think you’re going to have a great time with Firefight too, I liked it even better than Steelheart. And have you read The Rithmatist or might be planning to check it out?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I basically stalk your old reviews so I knew you were a fan haha 😉 I haven’t read Rithmatist yet- but I loved Mistborn and I’m planning a reread of Warbreaker cos I just saw the UK cover! So pretty!!


    1. I really hope you enjoy Mistborn, it’s such an amazing series and the reason why I started loving Brandon Sanderson 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. YES, start with this one because it’s really short! Heaps of villainy things here, the villains are a bit flat but their powers (and weaknesses) more than make up for it!


  9. Oooh you make this one sound so good Aentee! Is it a standlone or start of a new series? I have heard so much about Brandon Sanderson and I can tell that the world building, characters and plot are completely unique – I love the whole steel jungle and supervillians thing! It sounds absolutely fantastic, love the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a series, three books + one small novella. The third book isn’t released yet though. But yesss if you like superheroes at all you need to get into this one, it’s so fun, like a movie or a game in a book 😀


    1. You should definitely give it a go, it’s really fun and quite a quick read 😀 The plotline largely resolves in one book, too, so you don’t have to read on if you decide to ditch it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Can you believe I’ve never ever read a Sanderson book in my life?! I need to change that asap! I think I’ll start with this because your 3 reasons were very convincing.
    I love a good epic villain and the one in this one sounds exactly that. And yes to great world building! I really do appreciate it when an author takes their time to detail it out for you so that you feel like you know it inside and out. The characters also all sound pretty fabulous. I’ll add this to my TBR soon!
    Lovely review and that graphic!! So pretty as always! 🙂

    P.S Is there a way to change your comments setting so I can get an email when you respond? I love reading your responses and I don’t want to miss out on any! 🙂


    1. I will look into how to change that setting just for you Nick 😉 ❤ I AM CLUELESS THOUGH.

      The villains are admittedly a bit flat but omg their superpowers, their weaknesses, and their arrogance are freaking awesome. There's also a movie/tv show or something soon I believe, all the more reason to board the hype train before it goes full steam ahead 😀 AND YOU NEED BRANDON SANDERSON IN YOUR LIFE, if you have any love for fantasy. This is true. *NODS*


  11. Oh, goodness gracious, this book was complete amazeballs! Brandon Sanderson is my real-life literary superhero and I’m glad that you loved this one. I wasn’t really a fan of the romance though but the side characters, the complexity of the villain (at least the main one was for me… although I initially thought he was the good guy… HAHAHA). You must read his other YA, The Rithmatist, and his masterpiece, The Stormlight Archive. Amazing books, all of them.

    Faye at The Social Potato

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! I’m blown away by Brandon Sanderson’s brilliance and detailed worldbuilding everytime. He makes fantasy seem real! I really have to read The Stormlight Archives!!


    I’ve been trying to get more into superheroes for a while. So far, I’ve only succeeded in reading two comic books and watching a few Marvel movies. But I loved Vicious and if this is a whole series about superheroes, I definitely want to gobble it up! I didn’t like Sanderson’s The Rithmatist but I did want to give his books another try so this would be perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I think you will have so much fun with this if you are after some supervillains!! I would love to read Vicious sometimes in this month it sounds amazing 😀 You can also try the Mistborn series with Sanderson, it seems universally loved!

      Liked by 1 person

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