In the acknowledgment section at the back of the book, Sanderson gives a nod to "Dan 'I Wrote Postapocalyptic Before You' Wells". And I have to say I can see some synergies between Dan Wells Partials trilogy and Sanderson's work here. They are very different stories, but both resonate with musings about the human condition. Questions of "what makes us human?" and "how dire does life have to be before we lose our humanity" abound in both stories.
However, Sanderson's story is set in a postapocalyptic world where the apocalypse is of uncertain origins. A strange star has appeared in the sky at a point where some humans start manifesting super-powers that turn them into evil dictators (who then take on weird names for themselves). Steelheart is one of the most powerful and feared of these super-powered beings who are generally referred to as "Epics". Our young hero, David, has made it his life's mission to kill Steelheart as revenge for Steelheart's very public and cold-blooded murder of David's dad.
There are tons of really sophisticated twists and turns in the plot and several big reveals at the end (all but one of which I guessed, but I had to keep thinking about it so it's not a criticism of the writing). I was so engaged in working out the mysteries that it was fun and challenging to guess how it would all work out. Sanderson kept dropping consistent clues but they were little clues and the reader had to concentrate to put the puzzle together.
While this story wraps up nicely, there is enough that I still want to know about this world and these characters to tune in for the sequel, Firefight, which comes out later this year.