Steelheart is a "post-apocalyptic" type story where in the future, somehow (I believe it is intentionally left vague), certain humans begin to form superhero-type powers. Instead of a world where these superheros protect the average people from bad, they all tend to be evil. It starts off with one of the most powerful of these super-humans, Epics, trying to assert his territory over another Epic in front of a young man, David, and his father. As David grows up, he wants to be a part of the only group that tries to stand up against these Epics, the Reckoners. The book follows David in is quest to befriend a group of Reckoners, find his revenge, and validate the beliefs of his father.
It's part superhero story, part coming-of-age story, and part action-thriller. David is a wild kid, he's often flying off and doing crazy things. He thinks on his feet and only plans for the next step ahead of him. He joins up with a group of Reckoners who carefully plan out every move, plan contingencies upon contingencies, and don't take unnecessary risks. David grows up in the book by gaining role models and adult figures that challenge his thinking and lifestyle, somewhat developed due to his experiance as an orphan. It is an amazing read.
Steelheart has to be the best book I read all year. It's really hard to describe what made it so great other than, you connect with the characters, empathize with their situations, and find their struggle...your struggle. Sanderson does an amazing job by flowing in action components that aren't there for simple jollies, but fleshes out various characters and define their trains of thought. The dialog is very conversational, real, and natural. And the plotting is done well. Due to the superhero nature of the story, Sanderson does make a few leaps in logic, but they still fit within the nature of the story being told so they do not feel outright misplaced.
The last thing I want to say about this book is that the reader chosen for the audiobook was perfect. Macleod Andrews perfectly fits the storytelling from David's perspective. The other characters are well done without anyone of them being too campy.
Any Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan should pick up Steelheart and give it a read. There's a companion story out that I just finished reading and it has developed my excitement for the series all over again. I really think I will be reading this one again in 2014 just to re-experience the story.