Brandon Sanderson’s newest effort, Firefight, is the second book in his YA Reckoners Trilogy. I read Steelheart, the first book, and enjoyed it on the whole but found some things to be a little frustrating; on the other hand, I very much enjoyed the characters of Megan and Prof, and their respective reveals.
Large spoilers for Steelheart and smaller for Firefight follow.
Firefight took those two characters and put them front and center, and it is a stronger book for that. Much more is made of the ethical demands in the world of the Epics, and how their actions can be so counterbalancing. Prof’s struggle to balance his good intentions and kindhearted nature with the fallout of using his Epic powers is the backbone that holds up the entire second half of the book, along with David’s slowly-changing views on things. Megan’s own murky background comes into sharper focus as Firefight’s motivations are questioned; the juxtaposition of the Babilar Reckoners’ desire for revenge with David’s feelings for Megan creates several fraught scenes in which Sanderson balances the darkness of the book with brief glimpses of tenderness.
Throughout this all, there is a strong current of religion. Anyone familiar with Sanderson’s work will know that this is a trademark of his. A part of his worldbuilding acumen is the very believable religions that spring from each environment; the religions in Steelheart and Firefight follow this trend. However, where religion was a sort of background point in Steelheart, it takes a more prominent role in Firefight, as David struggles with his goals and what he wants to believe.
This all sets up for what you expect in a Sanderson climax. Cinematic action sequences combined with dramatic reveals—some you saw coming, some you definitely didn’t. The end result is a powerful ending that practically begs for the sequel. For fans of Brandon Sanderson, and anyone who likes a new take on superheroes, Firefight is a refreshing take on the genre.
In a book filled with such dark imagery, the scenic brightness of the closing moments provides a stark contrast, pointing to a wider world, and hope in the midst of evil.
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