Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pizza and Pages: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Type of Book: Sci-Fi

Plot Summary: From Goodreads: "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 wills.

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."

Average Teen Rating: 8.6
The teens really liked this one! They loved the action and the world-building. They didn't so much like the romance between David and Megan and that led into a great discussion about using romance in YA books in general. This is a great pick for teen book clubs.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. 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.” Is Prof right? Is David’s motive (revenge) misguided or not?
  2. Why do you think Calamity appeared? What do you think it is?
  3. In the story, scholars theorize that Epics were a new stage of human development or evolutionary growth. Do you agree? Or do you have another theory?
  4. Epics had a distinct, even incredible, lack of morals or conscience. That bothered some people, on a philosophical level. Theorists, scholars. They wondered at the sheer inhumanity many Epics manifested. Did the Epics kill because Calamity chose—for whatever reason—only terrible people to gain powers? Or did they kill because such amazing power twisted a person, made them irresponsible?
  5. Megan mentions that things will be worse with Steelheart gone b/c he in a tyrannical way, provided food, electricity, etc. What do you think about that?
  6. After Steelheart dies, what do you think happens to Newcago?
  7. In the Reckoners, everyone has their own role:the leader/manager, the techie, the researcher, the odd jobber, etc. What would you do if you were a part of the group? What job do you think is the most important/essential?
  8. Do you think people harvesting and selling the Epics mitochondria/blood for research purposes without them knowing is ethical? Why or why not?
  9. What do you think of Megan as a character? Is her attitude towards David justified? Did you guess she was an Epic early on or were your surprised?
  10. Why do you think that Prof and Megan were so hesitant to give in to their powers? How do you think it changes them?
  11. Do you think Prof accidentally killed his students?
  12. How far in the future do you think the story takes place?
  13. What do you think of the different book covers? Which one is better/more effective?
  14. What do you think happens in the sequel? Will you read it?

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