Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Calamity came to Earth ten years ago in the book Steelheart, by Brian Sanderson. David was eight years old when the entire planet was changed by Calamity and the Epics were created. The Epics were ordinary folks who gained superpowers and were transformed into super villains.
The Epics each have specific super powers and abilities. It’s said absolute power corrupts absolutely, and it is never so evident as in this book. The Epics are certainly not using their powers for the good of mankind. But the public has done very little to fight back and as a result is under the rule of these evil creations.
Steelheart is action-packed right from the start. It opens with 8-year-old David witnessing the death of his father at the hands of Steelheart, an Epic with the power of turning everything into steel. This tragic event sets the tone for the rest of David's life. He wants to stop the Epics and in particular he focuses his energies on taking down Steelheart.
When David turns 18, he joins a group of rebels called the Reckoners who fight against the Epics. David is able to persuade the Reckoners that the Epics have vulnerabilities. He has spent years studying them and documenting what he sees as their weak spots. The Reckoners begin to realize that David has made a careful and detailed study of the Epics and his findings are credible.
Of course, he is determined to go after Steelheart to avenge his father's death. Set against the backdrop of Newcago (formerly Chicago), the search for and removal of Steelheart is as challenging as one could imagine. Steelheart proves to be a cunning and brutal adversary. It is not a simple procedure to destroy this super villain.
Does Steelheart really have a weak spot, and is the team of Reckoners capable of eliminating him and staying alive themselves? They are willing to fight to the death. Also, there is the twisted dependency that the citizens have on Steelheart. The entire community has come to rely on him and the question begs to be asked, if Steelheart is removed, what will happen to the citizens of Newcago? Can they survive? Will another Epic move in and take over Steelheart's territory? If the Reckoners are unsuccessful, will the punishment from Steelheart make things worse for the already weakened citizens of Newcago?
This makes for a very thrilling and fast-paced story. The characters are well-developed, and the complex relationships well-defined. In addition to Steelheart, there are other Epics with names such as Conflux, Firefight, and Nightwielder. With a cast of characters like that set against the quirky and clever Reckoners, you have a recipe for a successful story. The dialogue is very natural and entertaining. There are many terrifying moments and plot twists that create a well-written and surprising story. This story kept me going right up until the last word with a twist that I did not see coming.