WARNING: This review contains spoilers for STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson.
FIREFIGHT takes place a few months after STEELHEART ends. With Steelheart and his closest allies defeated, the Reckoners are thriving, systematically taking down every Epic that threatens Newcago. For the first time in years, people can consider a life free of Epic tyranny, and for that they have David to thank. But the war is far from over. New Epics keep arriving to state their claim on the metallic city and to challenge David, aka Steelslayer, the boy who defeated the Epic thought to be strong as steel. It’s more attention than David needs, especially when the only Epic he wants to see is Megan, who he is convinced is still alive.
After facing Sourcefield (an Epic who wields electricity), the Reckoners decide to follow a lead, taking the fight to Babylon Restored, the city formally known as Manhattan. The city is flooded, controlled by a High Epic called Regalia, who — for reasons unknown — is willing to let other high epics trash the city she’s claimed as her own. Now it’s up to David and the other Reckoners to stop her and her minions before she allows Babylon to be wiped out.
When it comes to Sanderson, one thing I’m always amazed by is the man’s imagination. The dude makes world building look effortless. Even though FIREFIGHT takes place in the same universe as STEELHEART, Babylon is a completely different world, complete with half-submerged skyscrapers, luminescent fruit, glowing graffiti, and a water manipulating jetpack. The result leads you to believe you’re almost going through a post-apocalyptic wardrobe, landing in a city that borders on the fantasy line of speculative fiction. This setting made the perfect backdrop for David’s character as he begins investigate the truth behind Calamity — a truth that once revealed, will destroy everything you thought you learned in STEELHEART.
One of the things that drew me to The Reckoners series in the first place was the unusual take on superhero/super villain stories, and with FIREFIGHT, Sanderson continues to twist that spin. By exploiting familiar superhero tropes, he’s able to approach serious themes such as the idea that power corrupts absolutely, the root of weakness, and the importance of choice in a way that will keep even the most well-read people guessing.
But the exploration of existential questions aside, FIREFIGHT is just a fun and exciting book to read. With a new team, new Epics, and a new city rich with life and color, FIREFIGHT is a real page turner. The book is heavy with action but never feels unbalanced or rushed, especially where the introduction of new powers is concerned.
In addition, there’s a surprising amount of mystery throughout the book, significantly raising the stakes compared to what we experienced in STEELHEART and concluding in such a way that will leave you begging for CALAMITY, the third and final book in the series.
The Reckoners may be marketed as YA, but it’s one of those stories that will appeal to any group, regardless of age. If you’re into superheroes, do yourself a favor and pick this series up. You’re sure to have an… (*puts on sunglasses*) … Epic time.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Emily London is a graduate student studying publishing at Rosemont College and holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin. In her free time, she writes YA fantasy novels and obsesses over all things Pokemon and Korrasami.
She has previously been a guest at Girls in Capes to talk about worldbuilding during NaNoWriMo and diversity in middle grade speculative fiction. Find her online at A Spoonful of Words, on twitter at @london_emi, and on Goodreads.
Enter for your chance to win copies of Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart and Firefight for an epic reading experience. Prizing & samples courtesy of Random House. Giveaway open to US addresses only.
BRANDON SANDERSON is the author of the internationally bestselling Mistborn trilogy. In 2007, he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series following the author’s death. The concluding book in that series, A Memory of Light, was released on January 8, 2013, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction List., just as his two previous Wheel of Time books had done. His work has been published in over 25 languages and his books have sold millions of copies worldwide. He lives and writes in Utah. Visit him at BrandonSanderson.com or connect with him on Twitter @BrandSanderson.