I should presage this review by stating that I’m a Sanderson fanboy. Seriously, the dude produces consistently amazing books at a rate you’d expect from one of those ghostwriter hiring hacks you see in airport bookstores. It’s nuts, we’re getting multiple books every year from him- though it still isn’t nearly enough for my taste.
Firefight, the sequel to Steelheart, is set in a world where super-humans (called Epics) started appearing, but universally turned out evil. America and the other world governments have collapsed, and the few bastions of civilization left exist solely at the whim of the mighty Epics that choose to allow their existence. The story follow David Charleston and the other Reckoners, an organization dedicated to hunting down and killing the worst of the Epics.
The Reckoners trilogy is actually Brandon Sanderson’s third foray into young adult fiction- there was the decent but not super memorable Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians series and the excellent Rithmatist (to which I am eagerly awaiting a sequel). It’s one of those rare superhero novels- though they are popping up much more often these days (V.E. Schwab’s Vicious and Lavie Tidhar’s The Violent Century spring to mind). I literally downloaded Firefight off Amazon at midnight, and immediately read the whole thing. I was not disappointed. Sanderson’s action scenes remain as kinetic as ever, and his settings are absolutely top notch. Firefight keeps up with many of the quirky, interesting characters from the first book, though a few are only seen near the beginning of the novel, then are left behind. The new characters are just as quirky as the old, though it would be nice to see a few more… not normal people, certainly- the Reckoners, the titular organization, are extremely dangerous Epic hunters- but people not defined by quirks in this series. In addition, the love interest in this book (can’t tell you any more, spoilers) could have really used a bit more screen time. Also, not a huge fan of the American cover, though the British cover looks amazing. Still, though, this is one of the best YA novels I’ve read in some time, and an excellent book to start the year out with. (I’ve read other books this year so far, I just haven’t finished any yet. Stop judging me.) Steelheart, the first book, is super cheap right now as an ebook- pick it up. Right now. Then pick up Firefight. Also, read both.