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Steelheart (The Reckoners, #1)
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Book Discussions - 2018 > Final Thoughts - June

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Leander Public Library | 156 comments Mod
The book for June 2018 was Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. There are tons of spoilers ahead, so beware!

You can post your thoughts, opinions, and any observations you made while reading the book. Can't figure out what to talk about? Below we've posted some discussions prompts collected from Tome Society and Literary Commentary. Don't feel like you have to answer them if you don't want to; they're just ideas for you to talk about!

1. If you could become an Epic, what would you want your Epic power to be and why? What weakness do you think you would have?

2. Do you believe Epics should be held accountable to the laws of regular humans? Would you want to be an Epic yourself after your answer?

3. Why do you think Prof and Megan hid their Epic abilities? Are there any similarities or differences behind their reasoning?

4. John Dalberg-Acton once said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” How do you think this quote applies to the book? Which characters do you think embody this quote the most?

5. David’s main purpose for killing Steelheart is to avenge his father. Prof says to him “You’ve got a passion to kill, but you need more passion to live.” Do you think Prof is right? Is David’s motive of revenge misguided or not?

6. Why do you think Calamity appeared? What do you think it is?

7. Megan mentions that things will be worse with Steelheart gone because he, in a tyrannical way, provided food, electricity, etc. Do you think she was right?

We're excited to see what you have to say about this superhero book!


message 2: by Kristen (last edited Jun 19, 2018 01:56PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristen | 145 comments I've read this book twice (twice!) and never continued on with the series, though I definitely mean to. Superheroes have always been popular, but they are totally in right now. Superhero books are on the rise, and yet this one somehow seems like a "classic" of superhero YA.

1. If you could become an Epic, what would you want your Epic power to be and why? What weakness do you think you would have?
Oh man, the age-old superpower question. I've always struggled to answer this when people ask. Usually I settle on telekinesis, because brains are cool and it facilitates my laziness (why get up to get that remote when you can make it come to you??)

I don't remember the finer details of David's classification system, but I always thought that the superpowers that were seated in the brain (telekinesis, telepathy, and the like) were awesome, and I've always kind of had a soft spot for powers that use illusions and change people's perceptions.

2. Do you believe Epics should be held accountable to the laws of regular humans? Would you want to be an Epic yourself after your answer?
Heck yes I do. Even if you were to say that the Epics were just natural progressions of human evolution, laws are put into place for a reason. We may not always like them, and they may not always make sense to us, but they exist (hopefully) for order and fairness.

Being an Epic -- being powerful -- should not make you immune to the laws of the word. It's idealistic, but I truly think that everyone should be subject to the same rules. While we may want exceptions for ourselves, many of us don't like when someone else gets exceptions, but we don't. Why should that be any different for Epics?

3. Why do you think Prof and Megan hid their Epic abilities? Are there any similarities or differences behind their reasoning?
I think that they hid their abilities for obvious reasons -- no one is going to trust an Epic, regardless of how they present themselves. Even if they claim that they are trying to do good, everyone will believe that there's a malicious undertone to their motives.

4. John Dalberg-Acton once said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” How do you think this quote applies to the book? Which characters do you think embody this quote the most?
This quote is perfect for this book. I wouldn't be surprised if Sanderson said that the quote played a part in how he formed the Epics in the first place.

The obvious people who embody this quote are the Epics -- Steelheart, most of all. They might have started off as good men and women, but the power eats at them until they become something else, lacking in humanity.

While I'm thinking about it, this book actually makes me wonder how power drives these Epics crazy. Does it nullify their soul? Is something taking control of them? Is it just greed and human ambition that wipes away their kindness and compassion?

5. David’s main purpose for killing Steelheart is to avenge his father. Prof says to him “You’ve got a passion to kill, but you need more passion to live.” Do you think Prof is right? Is David’s motive of revenge misguided or not?
I'm actually kind of a fan of this quote. It's kinda perfect for David. His entire life is about getting his revenge on Steelheart. To him, nothing else matters, not even his life. And, in the beginning, he's even willing to give up the lives of others in order to reach his goal.

I think the plot of David's revenge has an overarching theme -- even though David still wants to complete his mission to kill Steelheart, he begins to value his life and the lives of his friends.

6. Why do you think Calamity appeared? What do you think it is?
The vagueness of Calamity is one of those things that I've never really been a fan of in Steelheart. It's just too up in the air for me; it doesn't feel fully well-developed. But with this being a series, I have hopes that it will be explained in later novels.

7. Megan mentions that things will be worse with Steelheart gone because he, in a tyrannical way, provided food, electricity, etc. Do you think she was right?
I think Megan was right to a point. Of course, one has to wonder if her statement derives from the fact that she was in cahoots with Steelheart the entire time, but her statement also carries some truth to it. One thing that people always seem to forget about when there is rebellion is that even though you may not like things that the government (or governing person) does, but many do at least small things for the people.

Taking down that government means that certain necessities and luxuries -- sewage, electricity, and yes, food. Someone has to manage these things, and if it's not Steelheart, there has to be someone else willing to take it up.

I seriously need to read Firefight. Like, seriously. I might need to get someone to be on me to get it done because I'm terrible at self-management when it comes to reading.


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