“My name is David Charleston. I kill people with superpowers.”
When a book opens in that fashion, you have to expect greatness to follow. Firefight is the second book in Brandon Sanderson’s series the Reckoners. This novel continues in following the life of David Charleston, resident of Newcago, youngest member of the Reckoners, and the man who killed Steelheart.
The story of Firefight is detailed and rough for David. He has succeeded in achieving the only goals he had set for himself. He managed to find and work his way into the Reckoners, and he managed to achieve justice for his father and vengeance for himself by taking down the Epic who killed him and ruled Newcago with an iron fist. Continuing a story is always dangerous after your protagonist has achieved the things that they initially set out to achieve. I always have a sense of trepidation as a reader when I go into the first sequel in any series. I worry that the energy and the feel of the story is going to be lost as the protagonist searches for a new raison d’être. Sanderson didn’t disappoint with Firefight. Though his original motivation is gone, David finds a new purpose and sets himself on a new mission that is easily as dangerous, if not moreso, than his original quest. He struggles through test after test, trial after trial, and hardship after hardship along the way. There is not shortage of conflict for David and the Reckoners to work their way through in pursuit of their mission.
All of the characters that we got to know that lived through the events of Steelheart make return appearances. The world has changed for all of them after mere mortals brought down and Epic and freed a city from tyranny, and that, in turn, has caused changes to each of the characters that we knew. There is a little more melancholy in the way David sees the world. There is a little more bitterness in the Professor as he goes about running the Reckoners. The weight of being the liberators of Newcago and struggling day after day and week after week to keep the city out of the clutches of another Epic intent on seizing Steelheart’s domain for themselves shows through in all of them. At the same time, we get a new batch of characters that shakes things up. We are introduced to another of the Reckoner cells and we get to see the behavior and personalities Epics other than Steelheart and his crew of supporters. The characters aren’t caricatures or flat, gap filling pieces. Each of the characters that we meet and learn about over the course of Firefight is a whole and fleshed out character that serves a purpose in advancing the story and bringing about changes in the mindsets and outlooks of these that they interact with.
Sanderson has put together another story that you won’t want to put down. Granted, if you haven’t read Steelheart before picking up Firefight, there are nuances of relationships and a whole host of details about the events that led each of the Reckoners to the point at which they start the story, but it would still prove an entertaining read. Nonetheless, read Steelheart first. And the moment that you are done with that, pick up Firefight and let the fun continue.