I always find it fascinating where writers get their ideas and, according to an article by Rachel Brutsch of the Deseret News, Brandon Sanderson was..Show More » cut off in traffic one day and immediately thought of the other driver, “You’re lucky I don’t have super powers because I would totally blow your car off the road.” That immediate thought horrified him; and he thought, “Its a good thing I don’t have superpowers.” Then he pondered, “What if the evil guys had all of the super powers?” That idea was the essence for his new Y.A. series, “Reckoning.” Steeheart is a super-villain. He is one of many that received their power from a star called Calamity that appeared in the sky one day. Most thought the people that received these new found powers would use them for the benefit of mankind; wrong. With ultimate power comes ultimate corruption. Steelheart has the strength of 10 men. He’s virtually indestructible, he can fly and when he’s enraged he can turn inanimate objects into steel. He exercised that particular power to transform most of Chicago and part of Lake Michigan before becoming the emperor of “Newcago.” David Charleston was an eight year old boy when he saw Steelheart murder his father. Ten years has passed and David can think of only one thing; bringing Steelheart down. He is just a normal human and decides to recruit another group of humans, called “Reckoners” to help him. Reckoners study those like Steelheart, to learn their weaknesses. This is a story that has been told many times, the struggle between good and evil, but this time Superman is not on our side; can good still win? Its billed as a Y.A. book, and there is some romance that is usually associated with such genre, it does not, however, overwhelms the story; anyone that like Sci-Fi adventure should like this book. It is, after all, by Brandon Sanderson; and, by all indications it is the start of an epic tale.
There’s no spoilers for Firefight, but if you haven’t read Steelheart yet, then you’ll probably want to skip this.
The second book of the Rec..Show More »koners series takes the action and the plot to another level but it leaves some of the dialogue charm of the first one behind. This is probably due to the tension inherent in the David/Megan relationship and the switch to another Reckoner cell. However, on a whole, Sanderson has expanded the Reckoner universe in a good way. He gives depth to the characters that have been a little thin up till now. More understanding is brought to the Epics dealing with their powers and the source of them. The ante is raised going from Newcago to Babylon Restored (Manhattan) ruled by the enigmatic Regalia. All in all, Firefight survives the sophomore slump with a strong sense of its own identity.
Following Steelheart’s overthrow in Newcago the Reckoners, led by Jonathan Phaedras, find themselves drawn by clues to Babylon Restored – the mostly underwater remnants of Manhattan island. There Prof and David (now increasingly known as Steelslayer) must figure out Regalia’s plans to keep the city and its many inhabitants from being destroyed. Of course along the way, David wants to find Megan and save her from the corruption of Epic powers. He believes that together she may be able to overcome Firefight. The local Reckoner cell doesn’t make it easy for David to fit in, but they’re all working on the same side….right?
The issue with stories where key characters are getting corrupted by some force is how to keep the characters true during their corruption phase. I felt like Sanderson walked the line with this in Firefight. Prof and Megan’s struggles seemed to sometimes be no big deal and at other times almost without hope. I’m sure this is to keep the tension high in the struggle, but it came off as forced and somewhat arbitrary. Again, I think that this is an issue with first person perspective – trying to reveal the heart of other characters while stuck in the head of the protagonist. But, kudos to Sanderson for at least wrestling with humanity as opposed to just having superheroes with issues. That is what mainstream media keeps offering up as depth.
Like all middle books, there’s still plenty of more answers to be solved. If the third book was already out I’m sure that I would go ahead and read it, but this isn’t the type of series where the months of waiting are going to be taxing…looking at you Patrick Rothfuss. If you like superhero stories or just fun action, these will please.
Audible readers: Again MacLeod Andrews does a fine job of narration.