To welcome 2016, I stayed indoors snuggled under a blanket reading Firefight, the sequel to Steelheart in Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series. If that sounds familiar, it might be because I wrote about the first book for Twin Cities Geek in November—the review can be found right here. I promised a review of Firefight as soon as I finished it, and that happened last week. So let’s delve back into the psychotic world of the Epics, the disastrous superhumans. (Side note: This review may contain mild spoilers to Steelheart, so read at your own risk.)
David Charleston proved his worth in the previous installment of the series. This time around, the Reckoners who battle the Epics are brought to a city named Babylon Restored, a run-down version of New York City with a slight twist. Almost three-quarters of the skyscrapers and the city itself are underwater thanks to the newest villain, Regalia, who can control the water. She is a villainous mutant who has no sympathy for others. I thoroughly enjoyed the new setting for the story because it felt new and different; sometimes sequels sort of drag on or aren’t as thrilling as the original books they follow, but I didn’t feel that way with Firefight. It’s still a unique reading experience, building off the world that was created in Steelheart.
David is also introduced to the Reckoner team in Babylon Restored, including Mizzy the sharpshooting engineer, Valentine the team leader, and Exel the larger lumberjack informant for the team. There is some diverse representation in the story as far as the characters go, in that both Mizzy and Valentine are both part of a different racial group, which is refreshing to see. Mizzy is also amazing and one of my favorite characters introduced—she’s a huge part to the story, but I won’t spoil it. It’s nice that Sanderson gives a nice blend of personalities for David to interact with.
My only disappointment with this book is the weaknesses for some of the Epics: they’re a little silly to me. For example, one weakness that’s uncovered is compliments. I find it a little annoying that one really powerful Epic is thrown from power because she hears a person give her a compliment. I can understand why Sanderson would want to mix up the weaknesses so not every Epic has the same one, but really, her weakness is compliments? I guess that’s more depressing than other weaknesses.
Aside from that criticism, though, this novel is just as good as if not better than Steelheart. I admit I was a little nervous because I really loved the first book—I would have been disappointed if Firefight couldn’t deliver, but I’m relieved to say it does. Firefight is well written, detailed, and shocking. I’m a little sad now because the third book, Calamity, isn’t coming out until February, and I feel withdrawal, which is how I always feel whenever I finish a series or I’m waiting on the next book. But this series of books is worth waiting for, and the release is only a month away.