Thursday, April 9, 2015

Firefight (Reckoners #2)

[This review was first published with others on a blog I wrote for and has been only slightly altered for this website.]

Brandon Sanderson, author of high fantasy, changes style and tone a bit for this young adult series that began with Steelheart and continues with Firefight (published January 2015), but his wit, humor, and vision for winding up a story toward a great end are all on full display. The beginning of Firefight didn’t reel me in immediately, despite having already secured my interest with the first book, but by Part 2 of 5, the game was changing, the stakes were rising, and I was hooked. By about the halfway mark, it began to get difficult to put the book down. My husband, Nick, and I rarely read the same stuff, but we both like Brandon Sanderson. Being a young adult fiction reader, I generally prefer quicker reads like this one. Nick has yet to convince me to read Sanderson’s 1000-page (and that’s just one book out of a whole series) high fantasy epics. And I have to chuckle a little bit as I say that since Firefight and the other books of this series are all about Epics.

(SPOILERS in this paragraph, if you have not read Steelheart) In Firefight, David is a Reckoner, a member of what used to be a highly secret group of Epic slayers, but now David has become a legend. All he wants is for the people to fight back against the super-powered Epics, humans who, one infamous day, gained powers and have used them to conquer and destroy the world. They are dangerous and nearly invincible, each with one carefully guarded weakness, the only thing that can possibly take them down. They are madmen, every last one of them. In this case, absolute power does really corrupt absolutely. David and his team are about to attempt to take down a very powerful Epic and her cohorts in what was once New York City and is now Babilar, a city covered by water where the citizens live relatively peaceful lives under the rule of Regalia. But the woman David loves works for Regalia, and even though his love is an Epic, David is willing to risk his life to prove she can be redeemed.

This was a great sequel. I liked the first one well enough, especially as it progressed (Nick and I both agree that Sanderson has the art of the ending down), but sequels are hard. How do you keep everything that made the first one good but turn it around enough so that it’s not just a copy of the first? Well, you could take notes from Sanderson. He introduces new places, switches out a few people, and changes up the protagonist’s motivations, but still keeps the same sense of humor and, really, even the same basic plot. This series is set up spectacularly for that. There’s always another cool Epic to fight in a world overrun by them, right? But Sanderson has the imagination to remake and redirect his story in such a way that everything is as exciting as the first time. Arguably, this second book is actually better than the first, and that takes serious talent! He is currently writing Book 3, Calamity, and I can hardly wait! Five stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.