Instead of a hero or group of heroes trying to stop an apocalypse, Steelheart is after the apocalypse. It's like a Michael-Vey-the-Elgen-won world where the universe is ruled by Dr. Hatch's millions of super powered pets and all that remains of the rest of the world is a group of nerds who must become stunt performers, making it quite an edgy YA sci-fi flick. Let me explain: Ten years ago, David Charleston watched his father die at the hands of Steelheart after he somehow made him bleed during an off-the-charts creepy bank prologue. Steelheart was supposed to be immortal, indestructible, and David's father gave his life to prove otherwise, even if he didn't mean it. For ten years, David has been living in a world where there is no sunlight, has lived in a factory called, well, The Factory, and has been studying up on every Epic in the city and he's going to try to use this knowledge to join The Reckoners: the mini group of rebels fighting to kill off these Epics. Before you accuse The Reckoners of being some sort of group that was against the Civil Rights Movement or something, the Epics are people with all sorts of superpowers, none related in any real way, and they're used to taking whatever isn't theirs and getting away with it no charge.
Now, something I loved about this book is the protagonist characters. Just like Michael Vey, you can tell apart each character, and each of these characters has a specific use for The Reckoners: You have a girl named Megan who is a kind of inside woman and interest, you have Cody who always keeps his religion of Australia and Scotland bubbling up the team, you have a dark-skinned Abraham who is humungous, friendly and is the best with guns. You have Tia, who is an expert hacker and probably only drinks soda-pop. You also have Prof, a professional inventor and leader. At first, I was worried that it would be some sort of mini Cherub Academy where you had to fight till your bones were broken or else you were out, but this team works amazingly together, except maybe Megan, who has a bit of a grudge towards David for no apparent reason. Together, they have to uncover what Steelheart's weakness is because even after ten years, nobody knows what it is; not even David, and he knows the Epic Nightwielder's weakness loud and clear. This adds what is perhaps one of the biggest mysteries in the history of teen fiction, there are so many possibilities. There are also many questions, like Prof's motivations, Megan's stubbornness, and I was worried about all this at first because this is from the same company that published Elsie Chapman's Dualed, and here I could see some similarities in what the Reckoners were doing, but here they go towards a goal and the action is never turned down. Oh, and Brandon Sanderson really understands firearms. He seems to know everything about the models and ammunition and names. Is there such a thing as a gauss gun? I've never heard of it. And the conclusion is, as James Dashner said too, something I'll be thinking about for a long time. It is unpredictable on every level!
Readers will keep reading the book because I don't see how anyone can resist the Steelheart mystery and how the Reckoners will perform their goals. Surrender is no option here.