Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
On the heels of his YA debut, The Rithmatist, Sanderson opens another series for teens with an ultraviolent yet playful entry into the superhero genre. More than a decade ago, a mysterious event known as Calamity created Epics-powerful beings straight out of the comics, complete with both incredible abilities (invulnerability, illusion, transmutation) and silly weaknesses (smoke, UV light, being attacked by someone exactly 37 years old). Thus far, the Epics appear to be wholly corrupt, with villains rising up to subjugate humans and take over the world. David's father was killed by a ruthless Epic named Steelheart, and David, now 18, has waited 10 years for revenge, certain that he holds the key to Steelheart's weakness. Hooking up with a ragtag group of rebel Epic-killers, David and crew knock off Steelheart's subordinates and lure him out. Although readers may not be surprised at the twists that arise, the near-constant action, Sanderson's whiz-bang imaginings, and a fully realized sense of danger (the brutal opening scene alone will hook many) make this an absolute page-turner. Ages 12-up. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-After the appearance of Calamity, a mysterious celestial force, ordinary humans began to exhibit superhuman powers. They became known as Epics and used their powers to control others. When David was eight years old, he witnessed his father's ruthless murder at the hand of Steelheart, one of the most powerful Epics in the world. Ten years later, David lives in Newcago (once Chicago) under the tyrannical rule of Steelheart and his inner circle of Epics. David has spent the last decade researching everything he can about Epics: their habits, their powers, and their weaknesses. He wants to join the Reckoners, a secretive group of humans dedicated to killing Epics, and convince them to take on Steelheart. However, even after all his study, David has not figured out the seemingly invincible Epic's weakness-without that knowledge, his plan for revenge cannot succeed. MacLeod Andrews's understated performance of the first-person narration is highly effective and makes the engaging action scenes stand out in contrast. He transitions easily among characters who vary in age, background, and status within the world of humans and Epics. Revelations in the climactic battle add layers and substance to the story, and listeners will look forward to more in future installments.-Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* From the day eight-year-old David Charleston watched Steelheart gun down his father, he has vowed revenge. All Epics are powerful Steelheart the most invincible of all but each has a weakness, and David thinks he has found Steelheart's: he has seen him bleed. Now 10 years later, with this experience and years of studying each Epic's patterns and weaknesses, David worms his way into the Reckoners, a courageous group determined to take down Epics in an attempt to return the Fractured States to some semblance of normalcy. Sanderson has written a riveting dystopian adventure novel replete with awesome tech tools: pen detonators, gauss guns, gravitronic motorcycles, mobiles (smart phones on steroids), and tensor gloves to tunnel through steel. Each Reckoner has his or her own talents: Tia, research and planning; Cody, intelligent grunt work and comic relief; Abraham, weapons and ammunition; and Prof, leader and prime inventor-scientist. Oh, and there's Megan, new girl with an attitude especially when it comes to David's relentless pressure on the Reckoners to stay in Newcago and kill Steelheart. Snappy dialogue, bizarre plot twists, high-intensity action, and a touch of mystery and romance it's a formula that sucks readers into the prologue, slings them through one tension-filled encounter after another, and then, at the strange and marginally hopeful conclusion, leaves them panting for the sequel, Firefight, due in 2014. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A multiplatform marketing campaign, with promotions happening every month in 2013 leading up to the pub date, has already kicked into high gear for New York Times best-selling Sanderson's latest.--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book Review
When the Calamity gives some people superpowers, no heroes arise, only power-mad villains. Ten years later, Jonah buys his way into a group of human resistance fighters with information about how to kill the seemingly invincible Chicago tyrant Steelheart. Despite trite interpersonal dynamics, the epic scale of conflict and savvy subversion of superhero tropes give readers much to ponder and enjoy. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
A straight-up Marvel Comicsstyle action drama featuring a small band of human assassins taking on costumed, superpowered supervillains with melodramatic monikers. It's certainly a tried-and-true formula. Twelve years ago, a mysterious Calamity began turning random ordinary humans into evil Epics gifted with various combinations of superpowers (and also, always, some Achilles heel). Now, 18-year-old David Charleston manages at last to make contact with a cell of Epic-killing Reckoners led by legendary mastermind Jon Phaedrus. Then it's on to a nonstop thrill ride that begins with the killing of David's father 10 years before and roars through car and motorcycle chases, secret missions, huge explosions and hails of gunfire with high-tech weaponry to a climactic battle with Epic Steelheart. He's bulletproof, shoots energy balls, has transformed the entire Chicago area into solid steel with a wave of his hand and wears a stylish silver cape. Shockingly, the book closes with the stunning revelation than not all Epics are evil through and through. As further sign that Sanderson (Rithmatist, 2013, etc.) isn't taking any of this too seriously, the cast of Epics includes not only the likes of Steelheart, Faultline and Deathpoint, but Pink Pinkness and El Brass Bullish Dude, and some of their powers are equally silly. Stay tuned for sequels. There's violence and gore in profusion, cool gear, hot wheels, awesome feats, inner conflicts on both sides--all that's missing are the pictures. (Fantasy. 11-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.