"The Final Empire", I knew that the most beautiful fangirl love was blossoming within me (yes, my love knows no bounds, even if it calls for flowery language). I eagerly lapped up "The Rithmatist" and "The Way of Kings", and nearly fell out of my seat when I discovered that Mr. Sanderson was releasing a new YA book last month! I might have even kissed the floor and cried a little. But I digress.
It is now 10 A.C., a whole decade after Calamity came. When a huge burst in the sky erupted and gave select men and women extraordinary powers, the people were in awe. What they didn't know was that these Epics are no friend of man. With incredible powers comes the incredible urge to dominate, even if it means oppression and murder--including that of David's father. David is out for vengeance ever since he saw Steelheart, the most powerful of all Epics, ruthlessly massacre everyone in a bank--everyone but him. But nobody fights the Epics, nobody except for the Reckoners, a shadowy group of ordinary humans bent on assassinating Epics. David wants in. He has something they need, knowledge no one else has. He's seen the invincible Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
One of the (many) things I love about Mr. Sanderson's novels is the incredible world-building that goes on in each and every one of them. Every series has its own unique universe, whether it's the mysterious world of Allomancy or the magical, almost Harry Potter-esque world of Rithmatics. In "Steelheart", Mr. Sanderson concocts a dystopian period in which Epics maintain a tight control over their domains. To me, Epics are kind of like superheroes. Or I guess they're more like supervillains. Their powers are pretty awesome, like moving the earth and creating illusions. But what makes Mr. Sanderson's worlds that amazing is that they involve a certain degree of complexity in them, like in the way every Epic's powers can be organized into categories. It seems like Mr. Sanderson definitely likes organization--looking back, there are always hierarchies and sub-levels and such in all of the worlds he builds! It adds extra oomph and dimension into the story, and it's just mind-blowing how such intricate worlds can pop out from someone's head like that.
The same can be said about Mr. Sanderson's characters, and especially about his protagonists! His main characters always go through some intense and believable development throughout the course of the story, and it's always so interesting to see them grow with each obstacle they encounter. David, to me, is a pretty exciting character to follow in "Steelheart", but I think I'm going to have to say that I didn't love him as much as I did his other protagonists. Don't get me wrong, David's incredibly clever (just don't call him a nerd), determined and brave--all qualities any great hero should have. But I just felt as if I never reached that point of true connection with him, like I did with Vin from the "Mistborn Trilogy". I think this feeling arises from the impression I got while reading the book that Mr. Sanderson was trying a little too hard to make him into a goofy, yet likable and strong character. For instance, there were many times when David would use a really bad metaphor then go on to talk about how bad he was at making metaphors. It's a definite quirk, but I felt like it was a little too forced and too awkward. The same can be said about his crush on Megan. Having said all this, I may be being a little bit too harsh, since I'm probably comparing him to Mr. Sanderson's other characters from his other novels.
The other characters in "Steelheart" were pretty awesome, and definitely added to the story's dynamics and relationships. Prof is an especially interesting character to me. He's that kind of leader who's aloof yet passionate in the inside, with dark pasts that he's reluctant to share with others. Plus he has a cool black lab coat and science goggles--can you spell super cool superhero? The other Reckoners in the team, like Tia, Abraham and Cody, really helped to create that group vibe within their team, each bringing their own personalities and styles to add to the family. And, of course, the apple of David's eye, Megan. I quite liked her character as well. She's tough and passionate, and she definitely has some serious issues going on in her life, but there's also a vulnerability in her. After all, she's just a teenager. And the twist at the end--let me just say here that I knew it! But of course, no spoilers!
Overall, "Steelheart" is a fun read that's almost like a comic book, filled with action and super cool pew pew powers and all that. I wouldn't say that it's the greatest of Mr. Sanderson's books, but it's still worth checking out--it's a fun ride!