Another day, another Sanderson book completed, and another series that he’s started that I already want to read the rest of.  I’m a huge fan of his writing, so it’s no surprise that I’ve already finished reading this book despite starting it only yesterday.  Being on vacation from work for the week also gives me a lot more time to read, which I love.

Book StatsSteelheart

384 pages

Science Fiction

First book in the series


The main character is David, a teenage boy who is living in the ruins of a future Chicago which has been transformed by Epics (more on that later).  David is in many ways a typical 18 year old kid, but he’s quite different in that he’s driven to kill the self-imposed emperor of Newcago.  He’s also somewhat unique among many of the characters that I’ve read in books because he has a tendency to craft extremely bad metaphors, which is a very subtle part of the book, but it’s always good for a laugh when they show up.


At some point in the future there is an event that the characters simply refer to as the Calamity, which led to many people acquiring superpowers.  In most stories where there are people with superpowers, some of them become heroes and some become villains.  Unfortunately in this world there are no heroes, and the regular people are left to the whims of whatever the Epics feel like doing.  As always with Sanderson all of the worldbuilding is well thought out, and never knocked me out of the story.


10 years before the start of the novel, David was at a bank when it was attacked by first one Epic, named Deathpoint, and then another, Steelheart.  During the chaos that follows David sees something that shouldn’t be possible, he sees Steelheart, an invincible High Epic, bleed.  Shortly after this Steelheart kills David’s father, which sets David on a lifelong quest to do the impossible and kill Steelheart.


It’s really interesting having listened to several years of the episodes of Writing Excuses and then reading his books, because I’ve heard him explain so much of his process I can read his books and see a lot of what he’s doing.  It’s also interesting to go through his books and see all of the subtle foreshadowing that he has in place for the ending.  The consistently high level of Sanderson’s writing shows that he really is a master of his craft, and I look forward to being able to read so much more of his writing over the coming years.

Overall Grade

Another solid book by Sanderson with a really interesting take on the idea of superheroes.


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  1. hannahrose42

     /  September 30, 2013

    The book sounds great, and I can’t help but admit I’m jealous that you’ve already read it! I want to read this one quite badly after loving everything I’ve read from Sanderson. What is this Writing Excuses thing? It sounds intriguing.

    • Writing Excuses is a podcast by Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and Mary Robinette Kowal (she just joined the podcast within the past 2 years I think). Every week they have a 15-20 minute podcast where they talk about different aspects of writing. They’ve been doing it for going on 6 years now, and they’ve talked about a very wide range of topics. They also have a lot of guests from time to time who are well known in the writing community, especially the SciFi/Fantasy community.

      At some point or other I’ve listened to every episode of the podcast, many of them multiple times, they’re very informative and usually quite funny. It’s at

      • hannahrose42

         /  October 7, 2013

        Wow, I have a lot of material to explore! Thanks for the link. : ^)

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