On the Bookshelf
The Reckoners trilogy follows David and a team of revolutionaries intent on destroying the Epics, a race of average humans who have been randomly (or so they think) gifted supernatural powers. Unfortunately for the human race, the Epics are not the saviors everyone hoped they would be. Each book pits David against different and increasingly dangerous foes that change his outlook on what it means to be a hero.
*There will be spoilers for Steelheart in this review*
“We want what we can’t have, even when we have no right to demand it.” – Brandon Sanderson, Firefight
David has achieved his goal: he has defeated Steelheart, and now he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He needs a new goal, a new obsession. Thankfully, the leader of the Reckoners, Prof, has been called to yet another city ruled by an Epic, and he needs David’s help. Babylon Restored – formerly New York City – is an odd place. Its ruling Epic, Regalia, has half-submerged the city in water, there are jungles filling the buildings grown by an elusive Epic named Dawnslight and the people are curiously carefree about the entire situation. Not only does David have to get used to these strange new surroundings, he also has to integrate himself into a new team of Reckoners while simultaneously keeping his relationship with Megan a secret. Babylon Restored is truly a new challenge for David.
Firefight also reveals lots of new secrets about Epics’ powers and weaknesses and David’s friends. Some mysteries from Steelheart are explained, while others only become more complicated. The reasoning behind Meg’s deceptions and her role as Firefight in Steelheart’s government as well as the Reckoners team is explained pretty thoroughly. More interesting technology is introduced that was made from Epics and is now being used by the Reckoners. Lastly, we find out the logic and a bit of the “science” behind the creation of Epics, which was a big revelation. On the other hand, Prof’s gifts, the reasons for Epics’ specific weaknesses, and the history of the Reckoners are never fully explained. There isn’t as much action in the sequel as there was in Steelheart, but Firefight definitely develops the world more; we get a view of the U.S. outside Newcago, people with different perspectives on the world, and new insights on Epics and how they came to be.
Overall, the balance between action and development was pretty good; there wasn’t too much or too little of either one. The conclusion of this book was very twist-heavy, and the final chapters felt a bit rushed with a lot of things happening all at once. For example, the mystery surrounding the elusive Dawnslight was discovered and solved within a matter of pages. Sanderson should have spaced out all of his revelations better so that readers were engaged throughout the story, then shocked by a couple twists at the end.
In terms of character development, there was definitely a change. We have to leave behind Abraham and Cody, two favorites from Steelheart. Most of the characters who are introduced in this book are not as fleshed out as some of the ones in the previous book, which was a let-down. Meghan, on the other hand, is featured in this book quite a bit. Her personality seems to have become more friendly and open to David’s affections, which was odd; Sanderson seemed to have changed his mind on how he wanted Meghan to come across as a character.
One of best new characters is Mizzy, a spunky girl on the Babylon Restored Reckoners team. She becomes one of David’s only friends, and is a great addition to the story. Her bubbly energy is refreshing, and it’s just nice to have a platonic relationship between the main character and another girl – especially when David and Meg’s relationship becomes more pronounced. Here’s to hoping she’ll keep showing up after Firefight. The characteristics and history of Prof as an Epic are also developed quite a bit more, but there always seems to be more mysteries surrounding him that never become clearer. Hopefully Prof’s issues will be resolved in the final book of the trilogy.
In conclusion, Firefight was a great sequel to Steelheart. Usually the sequel tends to fall flat in trilogies, as it deals with heavier plot development than the other two books, but in this case a good balance seems to have been struck. Sanderson introduced a lot of new ideas, leaving readers looking forward to the final book in the trilogy: Calamity.