- File Size: 5995 KB
- Print Length: 427 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Press (January 6, 2015)
- Publication Date: January 6, 2015
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00JNQMKSC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,700 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Firefight (The Reckoners Book 2) Kindle Edition
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From School Library Journal
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
I shook out of my reverie. I’d been staring at Calamity again, but nearly thirteen years had passed since Calamity’s rise. I wasn’t a kid at home with my father any longer; I wasn’t even an orphan working the munitions factory in the understreets.
I was a Reckoner.
“Here,” I answered, shouldering my rifle and crossing the rooftop. It was night, and I swore I could see a red cast to everything from Calamity’s light, though it had never again appeared as bright as it had that first evening.
Downtown Newcago spread out before me, its surfaces reflecting starlight. Everything was steel here. Like a cyborg from the future with the skin ripped off. Only, you know, not murderous. Or, well, alive at all.
Man, I thought. I really do suck at metaphors.
Steelheart was dead now, and we had reclaimed Newcago’s upper streets--including many amenities the elite had once reserved for themselves. I could take a shower every day in my own bathroom. I almost didn’t know what to do with such luxury. Other than, you know, not stink.
Newcago, at long last, was free.
It was my job to make sure it stayed that way.
“I don’t see anything,” I whispered, kneeling beside the edge of the rooftop. I wore an earpiece that connected wirelessly to my mobile. A small camera on the earpiece allowed Tia to watch what I was seeing, and the earpiece was sensitive enough to pick up what I said, even when I spoke very softly.
“Keep watching,” Tia said over the line. “Cody reports that Prof and the mark went your direction.”
“It’s quiet here,” I whispered. “Are you sure--”
The rooftop exploded just beside me. I yelped, rolling backward as the entire building shook, the blast spraying bits of broken metal across me. Calamity! Those shots packed a punch.
“Sparks!” Cody yelled over the line. “She got around me, lad. Coming up on your north side--”
His voice was drowned out as another glowing energy pulse shot up from the ground below and ripped the side off the rooftop near where I hid.
“Run!” Tia yelled.
Like I needed to be told. I got moving. To my right, a figure materialized out of light. Dressed in a black jumpsuit and sneakers, Sourcefield wore a full mask--like a ninja might wear--and a long black cape. Some Epics bought into the whole “inhuman powers” thing more than others. Honestly, she looked ridiculous--even if she did glow faintly blue and crackle with energy spreading across her body.
If she touched something, she could transform into energy and travel through it. It wasn’t true teleportation, but close enough--and the more conductive the substance, the farther she could travel, so a city made of steel was kind of like paradise for her. It was surprising it had taken her so long to get here.
As if teleportation weren’t enough, her electrical abilities also made her impervious to most weapons. The light shows she gave off were famous; I’d never seen her in person before, but I’d always wanted to see her work.
Just not from so close up.
“Scramble the plan!” Tia ordered. “Prof? Jon! Report in! Abraham?”
I listened with only half an ear as a globe of crackling electricity whizzed by me. I skidded to a stop and dashed the other way as a second globe passed right through where I’d been standing. That one hit the rooftop, causing another explosion and making me stumble. Shards of metal pelted my back as I scrambled to the side of the building.
Then I leaped off.
I didn’t fall far before hitting the balcony of a penthouse apartment. Heart pounding, I darted inside. A plastic cooler waited on the other side by the door. I threw open the lid and fished around, trying to remain calm.
Sourcefield had come to Newcago earlier in the week. She’d started killing immediately--random people, no perceivable purpose behind it. Just like Steelheart had done in his early days. Then she’d started calling out for the citizens to turn in the Reckoners, so she could bring us to justice.
A twisted brand of Epic justice. They killed whomever they wanted, but to strike back was an offense so great they could barely conceive it. Well, she’d see soon enough. So far, our plan to bring her down wasn’t going terribly well, but we were the Reckoners. We prepared for the unexpected.
From the cooler, I pulled out a water balloon.
This, I thought, had better work.
Tia and I had debated for days on Sourcefield’s weakness. Every Epic had at least one, and often they were random. You had to research an Epic’s history, the things they avoided, to try to figure out what substance or situation might negate their powers.
This balloon contained our best guess as to Sourcefield’s weakness. I turned, hefting the balloon in one hand, rifle in the other, watching the doorway and waiting for her to come after me.
“David?” Tia asked over the earpiece.
“Yeah?” I whispered, anxious, balloon ready to throw.
“Why are you watching the balcony?”
Why was I . . .
Oh, right. Sourcefield could travel through walls.
Feeling like an idiot, I jumped backward just as Sourcefield came down through the ceiling, electricity buzzing all around her. She hit the floor on one knee, hand out, a ball of electricity growing there, casting frantic shadows across the room.
Feeling nothing but a spike of adrenaline, I hurled the balloon. It hit Sourcefield right in the chest, and her energy blast fizzled into nothing. Red liquid from the balloon splashed on the walls and floor around her. Too thin to be blood, it was an old powdered fruit drink you mixed with water and sugar. I remembered it from childhood.
And it was her weakness.
Heart thumping, I unslung my rifle. Sourcefield stared at her dripping torso as if in shock, though the black mask she wore kept me from seeing her expression. Lines of electricity still worked across her body like tiny glowing worms.
I leveled the rifle and pulled the trigger. The crack of gunfire indoors all but deafened me, but I delivered a bullet directly toward Sourcefield’s face.
That bullet exploded as it passed through her energy field. Even soaked with the Kool-Aid, her protections worked.
She looked at me, her electricity flaring to life--growing more violent, more dangerous, lighting the room like a calzone stuffed with dynamite.
Uh-oh . . . --This text refers to the paperback edition.
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The first novel, Steelheart, was anything but. Despite the fact it is in a post-apocalypse world where the only remains of human civilization are all controlled by tyrants, I found it to be surprisingly light-hearted and hopeful. The fact it was about a plucky resistance (the Reckoners) against an evil overlord made it closer to Star Wars than Watchmen. I also found out its depiction of superhumans was a lot more nuanced than I initially suspected. The fact the book was genuinely fun helped it as well, so much so that I picked up the second novel as soon as I finished the first.
Firefight picks up not long after the events of Steelheart with the Reckoners having eliminated the city's former overlord as well as re-established human-run civilization. Unfortunately, they can't capitalize on the momentum because they're under siege by a near-endless number of Epics seeking to claim Steelheart's former territory as well as make a name for themselves by eliminating his killers. Things get worse when they attempt to target the city of New York, only to find themselves in over their heads against a water-bending mastermind and a religious-obsessed exploding demigod.
I've got to say I really enjoyed this book all round. It does what a sequel should in that it doesn't repeat what the original book did, expands on the concepts of the first book, allows for character growth, and shows us new material in the same world. Particularly interesting is the expansion of the Professor's background as well as details about the early days of the Calamity.
Brandon Sanderson is an amazing world-builder who certainly details elements of his world which would have eluded other writers. Indeed, it is his greatest strength that he can create unique and memorable locations which are internally consistent. The water city replacing New York is different in culture, environment, and atmosphere to Newcago. I liked the idea the people are more or less resigned to the Epics in New York and generally spend all of their lives partying because their masters keep them fed out of hand.
The villains of Regalia and Obliteration are excellent foils with a lot more development than the late Steelheart. Regalia is a woman with plans within plans and a twisted code of honor that bends around the psychosis afflicting Epics. Obliteration, by contrast, is completely insane but his beliefs are entirely consistent with the deranged world which have sprung up around humanity. They're wonderful comic book-style villains and watching our heroes play off them is excellent.
We also finally get an explanation for how and why Epics are given their powers as well as how their minds are shattered beyond recovery. I'm not entirely satisfied with this explanation but think it works for the story which Brandon Sanderson is trying to tell. Certainly, it provides a lot of dramatic energy which the story exploits from beginning to end. It also results in a massive twist at the end which made me buy the third novel in the series immediately.
The only thing I didn't like about the novel was the romance between Megan and David. Unfortunately, this takes up quite a bit of the novel. David is deeply in love with the treacherous and evil Epic as well as convinced she is secretly good. This is, apparently, purely because he thinks she's hot. Unfortunately, the narrative bears out David's suspicions and it becomes a tedious display of why the power of love wins out over all.
The action scenes in the book are incredible with truly epic fights that are described well. Brandon Sanderson has a movie director's ability to stage them in his text and an unlimited budget to see them on display. He also manages to invoke tension for all of our heroes because we never know who will die or be taken out of play by the events within. That's a rare gift and one which raises the stakes in the book considerably.
In conclusion, Firefight is a really good novel weighed down by what TV tropes calls a "Romantic Plot Tumor." Even so, I'm going to say it's an excellent action adventure novel throughout. It strikes the right sort of balance between fantasy, science fiction, and reality in order to feel like a good comic book. I also cared about the characters enough that I wanted the story to continue. Which is a pretty good endorsement all round.
Firefight starts not too far from where Steelheart left off, and the good thing about Brandon Sanderson’s writing is that he was constantly referencing back to things that had happened in the previous installment. While this was a good thing for people like me who had waited years between reading the sequels, I can only imagine it would get somewhat frustrating for people marathoning the series.
David, the main character of the trilogy, is realizing that after what happens in Steelheart, he doesn’t quite have a major life goal anymore. It leaves him feeling odd about his current role in this superpowered world. I forgot how funny David actually is. He’s constantly making weird metaphors and his inner voice is completely goofy, but I like him. He’s a cute little weirdo. My only complaint about the characters in general are that we don’t get enough development from the side characters. I really don’t know anything substantial about David’s love interest or his teammates.
As for the plot of the story, it moves very quickly. I found myself flipping pages and moving through chapters faster than I could keep track of. I wasn’t expecting to fly through a 400-page book that quickly. There were only a few things that threw me off track, such as the villains’ superpowers and some strange details of Babylon Restored.
All in all, if you’re looking for a book about the little guy sticking it to the man, this metaphorically-challenged book might just be for you. David is charming, his antics are ridiculous, and the entire superpowered world is built very well.
*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.
Top international reviews
Set after Steelheart and the short novella Mitosis, Firefight once again follows David and The Reckoners. They have liberated the city of Newcargo from the Epics and are now fighting to keep it safe. After several attacks from Epics entering the city, the Reckoners follow a trail of where they are coming from leading them to a different city. A city ruled by an Epic that controls water and one where Megan may be hiding. David's unwavering resolve to kill Epics is not as unwavering as it was though the more he discovers about them...
Firefight is very well written taking the crew from a world of steel to one of water instead. The epics have some great powers and imaginative weaknesses with heavy action spread throughout to keep the reader on their toes. David's journey seeing that things aren't quite as they seem and that his idealistic view of the Reckoners may not be worth following completely blindly was absorbing reading leading me to finish it in around two days as I wanted to know what would happen and wasn't disappointed.
If you liked Steelheart then Firefight is a must read, I just hope the finale Calamity can keep it at the same high standard.
+ Well written, clever yet easy to read.
+ Interesting new location.
+ Imaginative new Epics and powers.
So I had quite high hopes for Firefight: Seeing David progress in the Reckoners, resolution to the David-Megan relationship, and progress in the overall world and the fight against the Epics.
In fairness, the book delivers on all points. It felt, however, a little more rushed in the final half than I would've liked.
It's a shame really, if this was a standalone book I would give it a 3, however as part of the series it does it's job, just doesn't move the rest of the world along much.
I really liked the progressive build-up in Steelheart, the meticulous planning, the off-the-cuff improvisation to make it all work, that was all very reminiscent of the first Mistborn book. Unlike Steelheart, this book skips the planning, or at least there is a plan, but it's superficially explained to the reader and it all culminates in around 10-20 pages as opposed to the progressive increase in stakes that helped drive Steelheart's plot and it doesn't quite manage to increase the stakes like the Mistborn trillogy did. In Mistborn there was a sensible progression in stakes (spoilers if you haven't read it, also... go read it!) defeat the Big Boss, Save the country, save the world: nice and linear increase.
In the Reckoners so far it's, defeat the Big Boss, go somewhere else and defeat another Big Boss.
That said there's a set-up for a huge increase in stakes towards the end of the book getting to the real meaning of Calamity and the curse of the Epics, so hopefully that really galvanizes the plot in the next installment.
I suppose my main complaint about this book is that it's simply too short, I felt it really needed another main plot highlight and resolve it around halfway through, perhaps this was because the Sourcefield confrontation was pre-published as part of Mitosis, but I think the whole book would really have benefited if the event foreshadowed in the beginning of the book actually took place, specifically what if a team of Epics attacked Newcago, it would've allowed for a better progression however then the second half of the book would've struggled to maintain the pace.
Series: The Reckoners (#2)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Sci-fi, YA
Release Date: 6th January 2015
Challenges: 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Having defeated Steelheart, David and the other Reckoners have been keeping Newcago free of Epics. But now David has a new task. Along with Prof and Tia, he makes his way to Babylon Restored, formly New York, where water Epic Regalia reigns, and where the woman of David's dreams and Epic, Megan, is reported to have gone. With a new team about them, new Epics to research and a budding secret relationship, David has his hands full, even more so when he discovers that he is deathly afraid of water.
Having finished Firefight earlier today I'm really struggling with not picking up Calamity straight away, despite the fact that it breaks so many of my reading rules. While I didn't think that Firefight was quite as good as Steelheart in some respects, I still thought that it was a fantastic read and would definitely recommend the series. Part of me does think that one of the reasons Firefight was different for me was because I already knew what to expect from David, not that that detracted from him!
I'm not normally one to read male first person POVs (or if I do it's a dual with a female character) and so David was a bit different for me. But I really liked him. He's refreshing and funny and doesn't always get things right. Even when he did get things right he did it by accident and it was constantly entertaining to read.
I loved David and Megan's growing relationship. They bounce off each other well and there's a firm base for something more than friendship. I also liked that there was far more to it than Megan just being a love interest. She had a point in the story and that wasn't debateable. It was good seeing Megan showing more of a vulnerable side in Firefight too, especially after the tough exterior she put on in Steelheart.
There was more revealed about Epics in Firefight, and in true Sanderson style the lore is interesting and unique. There are still a few mysteries to be solved and I am eager to find out the answers, and that does include the fate of some of the characters.
I loved reading another Sanderson book. I'm never disappointed and each different series brings something new to the table!
As with the first novel in the series, ‘Firefight’ follows David Charleston who has become some type of minor celebrity with his own comic book style name, Steelslayer. This notoriety appears to be earning him the attention of Epics from outside Newcago. After the Reckoners are forced to face several Epics who arrive in the city suspicions become aroused that they might be targeting David. The short Story ‘Mitosis’, published separately as both an ebook and a collector’s edition hardback, is concerned with such an infiltration and sets the scene perfectly for the beginning of this novel.
After the defeat of one such Epic, Sourcefield, the Reckoners take matters into their own hands to avert these threats. This leads David, Prof and Tia to Babylon Restored, one time Manhattan, to join the underground Reckoner’s cell there.
Moving the action to a whole new city highly benefits the novel as it gives it a very different feel to the previous novel ‘Steelheart’. Opposed to the cold metal environment of Newcago that reflected the powers of its self-made tyrant, Steelheart, Babylon Restored is a city partially submerged in water with an over exuberant growth of vegetation. Like Newcago the character of this city also reflects the powers of the Epics within it, particularly those of its ruler, Regalia. Both might be cities in a similar situation but they also contrast wonderfully and these differences are very successfully portrayed.
‘Firefight’ of course has similarities with its predecessor in that it again involves a group of underground rebels taking on the Epics that rule the city in order to liberate it. However, the various sub-plots, twists and revelations make it feel quite different and appear to sufficiently progress the mystery and overall plot of the trilogy.
The eponymous Firefight isn’t the main focus of for the Reckoners despite being the subject of the title. Instead this Regalia and her lead lieutenants, who have some interesting and entertaining powers. Instead the book is entitled ‘Firefight’ because of David’s personal journey, who, with revenge now sated in ‘Steelheart’, is approaching the whole Epic scenario from different angles and in a more open minded way than his colleagues; the incentive for which is inspired by his relationship with Firefight. This makes ‘Firefight’ less ‘black and white’ than ‘Steelheart’ and the nature of Epics more ambiguous.
The novel manages a great balance in satisfyingly answering questions and revealing secrets whilst raising more. There is a strong sense at the conclusion that there is a lot more to be revealed and explained.
In a modern market that is saturated with super hero/power material, Brandon Sanderson manages to come up with a take that is more original than most and, therefore, infinitely more interesting.
It does raise some interesting questions and set the scene nicely for Calamity - the third and final book in the series though.
It's not mysterious, not really.
It's definitely not dark.
It is fabulous. It's intense, fast paced, wonderfully characterised and very unusual.
Everything you'd expect from one of Brandon Saunderton. Unusually he's actually finished this series, which makes it almost unique.
I do love you Brandon. But finish your other series too please...
Great book and I highly anticipate the next.
A word of advice, though the next volume (Calamity) is great, it somehow lacks something to make it as great as the two first volumes on the series.
I Also have to say, I personally dislike it when the two first volumes are paperback, but the third one is Hardcover.
Everything from the characters, to the settings, to the fights was written perfectly. It was very easy to imagine the world in this book, and thus get lost in it.
Brandon did a fine job in the first of the series "Steelheart" but he has trumped himself in this book.
Great read, great author, and great expectations for the next book (which I'm sure will be brilliant)