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Steelheart

Written by: Brandon Sanderson
Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2013 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC (P)2013 Audible Inc.

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What listeners say about Steelheart

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  • J
  • 2020-11-05

Sparks! Does David plan on fighting the Lord Ruler

The story starts off quickly with a fast-paced prologue then grinds down to a halting pace. I felt the story was less YA and more middle grade. I almost quit it, but it started to pick up speed just past the halfway point. It was at this point the story started to feel more like a YA novel.

The Bad
Starting with the parts that I didn’t like. My first big concern was that the story felt like an X-men story, but only the bad guys have mutant powers. There were also elements of Sanderson’s Mistborn novels in the story. For example, a bad Mutant (read Epic) named The Lord Ruler (read Steelheart) has conquered the world (read Chicago) and changed the environment by creating ash falls (read a steel landscape). The X-men (read Reckoners), led by Professor X (read The Professor), are going to take him on. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I had hope for a more original storyline.

Next on my hit list is the swearing. The characters don’t use modern swear words, instead they swear with works like “sparks,” and “calamity.” This would have been fun it wasn’t such overkill. At times it felt like every fifth word was one of these two words.

Finally, as I’ve already mentioned, the pacing was not great.

The Good
The main character, David, was fun. He felt genuine and his many attempts at metaphors were hilarious. No other character in the novel is as well developed as him. The Reckoner crew was fun, and I enjoyed the fact that there was a Black French-Canadian man on the crew. However, I wish his character, and others, had been fleshed out. The characters could have been so much more interesting than the two-note characters they actually were.

The ending of the novel was enjoyable. I had predicated several parts of the ending, but not the entire ending. I am not sure if I was able to make accurate predications because it was a YA novel or because I’ve read enough of Brandon Sanderson’s novels that I was able to guess where he was taking the story. If you’ve read Mistborn you’ll see a lot of similarities.

McLeod Andrews was a solid choice for the narration of this story. He made David come to life. His comedic timing and his voice really went well with David’s character. He voiced the other male characters well but wasn’t as strong when he voiced the female characters. Also, it sounded like he went back and redid some parts of the story when he wasn’t happy with how he voiced a part. When this happened the volume of his voice, and the pitch, changed enough to take me temporarily out of the story, but I do appreciate the effort he made in going back to redo parts of his narration.
I would recommend this book to readers who like action adventure stories and who are 11-15 years old. If you’re a diehard Sanderson fan you might enjoy it too. I’ve heard the follow up novel is better, so I plan on giving it a try.

6 people found this helpful

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THIS IS AN AWESOME BOOK!!!

This book is X-Men, Hunger Games, and Mission Impossible rolled into one epic (no pun intended) masterpiece. Highly recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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The dialog is unbelievable and cringe worthy

The story is set in current times or perhaps near future in Chicago. As such you would expect characters to speak or act like we do.
However the dialog is written in a very unrealistic and unbelieble manner. Destroys the suspension of disbelief.
It became very hard to listen to, as characters had unreasonable reactions and unrealistic conversations. Had to stop part way through.
Very disappointing since I'm a big fan of Brandon Sanderson. Listened to most of his fantasy books, but seems like he's got a long way to go before writing a good SciFi novel.

4 people found this helpful

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A must-listen.

I found this book initially in a store, and thought the synopsis sounded cool. It belonged in the "Teen Literature" section according to the stickers on it's cover. I bought it, and binged it in one go.
The book is fantastic. Great, likeable characters, a pretty decent story, and an awesome twist on the superhero genre make this an absolute must for anyone with even a passing interest in heroes.

This audiobook is no exception.

The narration is spot on, with various characters having decently varying voices (Fans of David Hayters Solid Snake will love the Prof.), The story is well articulated, and at no point do you get tired of listening to him.

I whole-heartedly recommend this to everyone!
Sparks! You guys! Read this now!

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Love this Author

#Audible1 I am adding a written review in order to get into a draw, but still an excellent book.

2 people found this helpful

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great book

if you liked"the boys" you will like this. great story that is similar but goes against conventional super heros are idolized approach and more feared

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Unique Comicbook-like Dystopia.. 'Mutant Mafia'

Dismissing this book as "Children's" literature would be a mistake. The series actually reminds me of William Gibson in it's creativity.. it won't spawn a genre like 'Neuromancer' did (ie. Cyberpunk), but this very cool future reality/alternate reality reads like a great Marvel graphic novel.. it's extremely engrossing. Brandon Sanderson envisions a world where superpowered beings (known as "Epics") set up authoritarian fiefs like Feudal Warlords and essentially run them like crime syndicates. A class of Freedom Fighters called "Reckoners" work to find & kill Epics (each of whom has a weakness to exploit). Sanderson's protagonist - David Charleston - witnessed the murder of dozens of people (including his father) as a child [they observed the weakness in "Steelheart" - the chief Epic in his home city (Newcago).. so the paranoid supervillain murdered them all].
The topic/scenario resembles a comicbook, the chief character is a teenager, and the dialogue is reasonably sophomoric.. but the plot is well-conceived, well-executed, and well-described. The book is undeniably aimed at a younger audience, but the Fantasy is clever and the writing is creditable.

Unfortunately, the book is let down a little by spotty narration from MacLeod Andrews. His interest in the book is clear (timbre, tone, and cadence are commendable) - but his voice-acting is fairly weak (some of the chosen voices for characters are poorly-accented or cartoonish) and his rate of reading is too slow (listening to this book at 1.25X is highly recommended).

Altogether this is a fun 9.5 star out of 10 book - but the narration brings my rating down to 8.5 stars. Certainly younger teens and children can digest this stuff ('Steelheart' would be ideal for a road trip with the kids), but adult fans of Fantasy/SciFi should certainly enjoy it, too. Can recommend.

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so so

so so. I think it was the made up swear words that annoyed me. probably won't continue the series

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Amazing

I’m not enthused about the performance. Nothing against the voice artist. They did a good job, but I struggled to connect with the way they portrayed the main character at points.

The story is fantastic.

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Sanderson is great as always.

I haven't listened to many books that aren't narrated by Kate Reading or Michael Kramer, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the narrator did such a great job at the different voices. As always, Sanderson is entertaining and writes believable characters in extraordinary situations. I'm usually pretty good at picking out what the twists and plot points before they happen, but he always keeps me guessing. Can't wait to listen to Reckoners book 2!

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  • Don Gilbert
  • 2013-09-26

He got the idea from a near traffic accident

I always find it fascinating where writers get their ideas and, according to an article by Rachel Brutsch of the Deseret News, Brandon Sanderson was cut off in traffic one day and immediately thought of the other driver, “You’re lucky I don’t have super powers because I would totally blow your car off the road.” That immediate thought horrified him; and he thought, “Its a good thing I don’t have superpowers.” Then he pondered, “What if the evil guys had all of the super powers?” That idea was the essence for his new Y.A. series, “Reckoning.”
Steeheart is a super-villain. He is one of many that received their power from a star called Calamity that appeared in the sky one day. Most thought the people that received these new found powers would use them for the benefit of mankind; wrong. With ultimate power comes ultimate corruption.
Steelheart has the strength of 10 men. He’s virtually indestructible, he can fly and when he’s enraged he can turn inanimate objects into steel. He exercised that particular power to transform most of Chicago and part of Lake Michigan before becoming the emperor of “Newcago.”
David Charleston was an eight year old boy when he saw Steelheart murder his father. Ten years has passed and David can think of only one thing; bringing Steelheart down. He is just a normal human and decides to recruit another group of humans, called “Reckoners” to help him. Reckoners study those like Steelheart, to learn their weaknesses.
This is a story that has been told many times, the struggle between good and evil, but this time Superman is not on our side; can good still win?
Its billed as a Y.A. book, and there is some romance that is usually associated with such genre, it does not, however, overwhelms the story; anyone that like Sci-Fi adventure should like this book. It is, after all, by Brandon Sanderson; and, by all indications it is the start of an epic tale.

388 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 2013-09-24

No Moral Compass, An Achilles Heel Exposed...

Of all the scifi/fantasy audiobook genre to be found, one of my favorites is the superhero genre. Of course, it's nothing new - The greeks were all over this eons ago, and the story of Hercules is the penultimate hero, perhaps the culmination, of the genre' in its earliest era.

In this first of his "Reckoners" series, Brandon Sanderson has, as usual, moved into a fantastic departure from the typical. In this universe he's penned, the villains reign supreme, and the old adage "Ultimate power corrupts ultimately" is the norm. There are no superheroes, per se, as the various powers these unique individuals, or "epics," have acquired acquired so suddenly and completely have removed all moral boundaries and ethical limitations. The moral compass has been totally removed from the equation, and brutality rules supreme.

The epic in question, Steelheart, is a juggernaut that has little or no limits to his reign of terror. To him, the futile attempts of the government, rebels and even other epics to destroy him are not even a consideration. He is Hercules without conscience, and to him, we are afterthoughts, mere distractions compared his all-encompasing power and plans.

So, then, you ask, where is the story in all this?

This is a story of revenge, of desperation, of anger. It seems that this Hercules has an Achille's heel, a weakness that one ordinary man has quietly discovered, and is driven to both expose and deliver an end to this epic's reign of terror. This audiobook delivers plans within plans, a rich world with characters with varying motivations, and all at a strong pace, told by Sanderson in his always engaging and very entertaining writing. It's action from the very prologue through the ending of this first Reckoners novel. The narrator, Mr. Andrews, is strong, and worthy of the work.

Single words to describe this audiobook? How about: Engaging, Powerful, Entertaining to name a few?

For those of you who follow my reviews, look at my rating for this audiobook. It's HIGH, and it's EARNED it. It's quite rare for a novel to get this high of a rating from me - I'm BRUTAL in this regard, so when it DOES happen, you can be sure the work is well worth the listen.

And this audiobook is EXACTLY that.

If you enjoy Sanderson's body of writing, you're as excited as I am to see him dive head-first into this genre, and look forward with keen anticipation to the very next novel in the series.

Don't hesitate on this one - This is a "must buy" recommendation for your hard-earned Audible credit.



142 people found this helpful

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  • Mike Naka
  • 2014-04-13

wondrous storytelling

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes, but i couldn't. hey! i have a day job! LOL it took 2 days. after writing a bunch of SQL and LINQ code for 6 hours straight ON A SATURDAY, this story was a welcome reward. even though i had to be up on sunday at 7 a.m., i kept listening until i was finished at a little after 3 a.m. yup, i was totally engrossed!

Any additional comments?


i'm attracted to stories where a person or group of people are up against a seemingly impossible situation, and what's more impossible than trying to kill the most powerful super villain, especially when you have no superpowers yourself?

this is the situation our protagonist, david, finds himself in. david is at the bank with his father the day steelheart decides to take over Chicago. during a melee with another "epic," super-powered human, david's father manages to injure steelheart by accident. as any paranoid super villain would, steelheart decides to utterly destroy the bank and everyone in it to hide the fact that someone as seemingly impervious to any type of attack as he's supposed to be was some how injured. david barely manages to escape, and he knows that steelheart will go to any lengths to protect his secret.

there are layers of conflict in this story. the outer layers are obvious- the conflicts between battling epics for the domination and subjugation of normal humans. the middle layers- the conflicts between characters. the inner layers- the conflicts raging within each character. i can't say much more w/o spoiling some of the story. sanderson seamlessly weaves these layers together, creating a rich depthness of character, and you can't help but wonder what you'd really do. the characters connect with you, and each character's viewpoint is distinct enough that different listeners would undoubtedly decide which character's viewpoint matches their own. i actually found myself wavering between 2 drastically differing viewpoints- prof's and megan's. both are cogent arguments.

the pacing of this story is perfect. the action sequences are exciting, and the dialogue is spot on. it is meaningful and believable. there are a few nice twists and turns in the story.

the narration is great. i have been a fan of macleod andrews since i heard him narrate the sandman slim series. his gritty voice matches our young protagonist, david's. he also does a great job voicing the other characters.

107 people found this helpful

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  • AdaChaDad
  • 2015-12-21

Really fun book!

What made the experience of listening to Steelheart the most enjoyable?

Sanderson has great creativity and twists throughout the book. Hardly any dull interludes are included. The action and descriptions are excellent. MacLeod Andrews does an amazing job with the narration.

What did you like best about this story?

It does a great job of pulling you right in. Within just a few pages the listener is hooked and has a hard time stepping away from the action that Sanderson creates.

What does MacLeod Andrews bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Andrews is superb. He brings the characters to life with vivid color. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job.

Any additional comments?

While I am 30 or so years past the primary target market for this book, I really appreciate how the work was handled. An exciting fantasy that is "clean" is a wonderful thing.

72 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2016-07-26

comicbook based wasn't my taste but narrator great

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

if you like comic book super heros its great just not my taste.

What was most disappointing about Brandon Sanderson’s story?

not well advertised as comicbook style

Which character – as performed by MacLeod Andrews – was your favorite?

I really like this mans ability to run the gambit of voices. I so far like them all. The deep male Russian style accent is my favorite so far.

Could you see Steelheart being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

With the love for comicon, avengers batman etc sure

Any additional comments?

Good book just not for me. Keep up the good work there are plenty out there that love this type of thing.

60 people found this helpful

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  • Steve Woolley
  • 2015-03-31

Captivating but somewhat childish

I liked the story and the characters. However, it is written from an 18 year old perspective and I think this may at times bother older "readers".

50 people found this helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2014-06-26

NEVER TRUST A WEAPONS MERCHANT

THEY SELL TO BOTH SIDES
I am a big Sanderson fan, and I believe he is the hottest author at this time. I like Elantris, Mistborn and The Way of Kings is on my top ten list. This is meant for teens not an old man like me. I should like this, I am not into in superheroes and this is anti-superhero. Doing your homework is stressed throughout the book, as the main character has done a lot of research. I have read plenty of teen books and have enjoyed them. I believe that this has too much discussion. It is talk talk talk and I don't see how anyone could enjoy that. I think after you read this it will be better and better, because you will concentrate on the high points and forget the long boring discussions. I HATE IT WHEN GUNS ARE POINTED AT ME. I guess I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR PREFABRICATED THRILLS.

I put the narrator on fast forward. Other then the characters sounding like mickey mouse, the speed was more natural.

I HAD TO STUDY LIKE A HORSE
KNEES YOU SUCK AT METAPHORS

50 people found this helpful

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  • Cory Welch
  • 2016-08-13

I gave it a chance...

I'm sorry to say after being an avid fan of the Mistborn series and being excited to listen to Steelheart, I was incredibly disappointed. Maybe comic book fans can more readily overlook the plot holes and stupid assumptions, but unfortunately I couldn't really stomach a lot of this book. The "powers" and "weaknesses" were equally ridiculous at times, and overall it was caddy and silly. It did have it's moments, but aside from giving Mr. Sanderson a chance to prove this book's worth, I certainly would have passed. :( I guess when I get to the Alloy of Law series, I'll have to check some reviews first - unfortunate.

37 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 2013-10-11

Not bad, better when it was called "Mistborn"

Brandon Sanderson only seems to have one story in him, but he's very clever about retelling it with different faces and settings.

Here is the story: plucky protagonist with a tragically heroic motivation is stuck in a crapsack world ruled by a villain with godlike powers. Protagonist teams up with a clever band of fellow underdogs who are dedicated to bringing down the Big Bad, even though it is utterly impossible, because it is the Right Thing to Do. The underdogs are largely a collection of personalities defined by quirks and catchphrases. They will banter their way through a series of Ocean's Eleven-escque escapades, using corny made-up swear words (because Brandon Sanderson has this Mormon no-swearing, no-sex rule) while the protagonist spends his time figuring out the rules of the magic system. Then they face the Big Bad and defeat him with the Power of Heart (and the protagonist finding a loophole in the rules).

This describes pretty much all Brandon Sanderson novels I have read so far.

But I liked Steelheart, even if I liked it better the first time I read it, when it was called Mistborn. Because yo, superheroes.

In Steelheart, a light appeared in the sky ten years ago. Called "Calamity," it gave people superpowers. The twist — there are no heroes. All "Epics" are evil.

David watched Steelheart, the most powerful of all Epics, kill his father. Steelheart then took over Chicago, and ten years later, the world is a dystopian hellhole, with "Newcago" being a marginally better place to live than most because there is actually food and an economy and electricity and running water. You just have to live with an invulnerable god-like ruler who randomly kills people to demonstrate his power.

So besides being a retelling of Mistborn ("Newcago" even replicates the sunless, plantless world of Mistborn, as Steelheart literally turned the environment to metal, and one of his minions has permanently blotted out the sun), Sanderson did one other thing in Steelheart: he makes Comic Book Guy the hero.

The nineteen-year-old protagonist, David, is a comic book geek, in a world where comic book characters are real. Despite growing up in a Dickensian dystopia, he manages to collect information about every Epic around and becomes an expert on their powers, tactics, and weaknesses. He's like that guy who memorizes everything in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Never mind that in this world, the characters he's memorizing are real and he has a practical reason for obsessing over them (he wants to kill them); even the other characters call him a nerd.

The fun in Steelheart is mostly figuring out the puzzles. Sanderson leaves clues throughout the story — largely related to how Epic powers work, what is Steelheart's weakness, and who the secret Epic(s) are. I saw all of the twists coming and figured out most of the clues, and I found the good guys' victory at the end to be a bit of a cheat (Lamest. Loophole. Ever.) but meh, it's Young Adult.

It is the first in a series. Of course. I may read the next one if it sounds interesting enough, but it's not a must-read.

Steelheart was a fun read. Brandon Sanderson doing superheroes will appeal to you if you like superheroes and/or Brandon Sanderson and are willing to overlook the limitations of both. It is not his best work, nor is it his worst, and likewise it's neither the best nor the worst superhero novel I've ever read.

32 people found this helpful

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  • GH
  • 2013-09-25

X-Men Except Better -- Get in on the ground floor

Steelheart is a story of special powers and set in a gritty city. The story is told from a first person point of view. The story opens with our hero traumatized. We are barely into the second chapter when Sanderson lays out the plot and titillates us with added complex characters. One interesting aspect is how the seedy aspect of the city is woven into the telling-- it is a much more believable takeoff of X-Men.

Macleod Andrews does a great job narrating and I hope he continues with the series. Based on the assumption that this book one in a series, I think it has lots of legs and interesting plotlines to explore. I listened to the six chapter release on audible before and was intrigued. Given the amount of publicity Audible has been given it, I had high expectations -- and it delivered.

This novel should appeal to listeners of all ages. Get in on the ground floor of this series. I am predicting that you won't be sorry.

28 people found this helpful