Published: January 6th 2015 by HachetteAU
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
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They told David it was impossible--that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand.
Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.
Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find.
Entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble but David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic--Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.
Firefight is a wonderful sequel to the heart-stopping Steelheart, delivering all the action, adventure, and fun that readers will expect. It’s an explosive adventure that captured my imagination, and has left me sad that I have to wait so long for the next instalment, Calamity.
Killing the tyrannical Epic Steelheart has liberated the steel city of Newcago, but hasn’t brought peace to David Charleston. Now hailed has ‘Steelslayer’, he’s become somewhat of a celebrity in the city. Some want him to protect them, others want to use him as a political tool, but David wishes he could sink back into anonymity. Killing Steelheart and avenging his father’s death has changed David, not least because he now feels adrift. So much of his life had been dedicated to that goal that he doesn’t know what to do with himself anymore. The deaths of the Epics, not only Steelheart but also Mitosis and Sorcefield – who attacked Newcago after his death – has only presented more questions about the Calamity that created the Epics and the powers and weaknesses that define them.
Whereas Steelheart was almost a heist story at heart – with the gathering of a crew, making a plan, testing and finally executing it – Firefight is mostly focussed on David’s journey as he tries to balance two opposing sides of himself. He knows that he and the other Reckoners have to kill the evil Epics to save thousands of people, but he’s also becoming increasingly aware that some Epics can be good, and that Epics are sometimes not in control of their horrendous actions. He’s starting to sympathise with their plight, a feeling largely brought about by working with some Epics, and from having developed feelings for Megan – Firefight.
This awakening and shifting of thoughts occurs against the backdrop of Babylon Restored – a mostly-underwater Manhattan where the High Epic Regalia rules. This new setting is exciting because it shows us more of the world that Sanderson has created and allows us to see how refugees and survivors in other places survive. Babylon Restored – or Babilar – is beautifully brought to life by Sanderson. It was easy to imagine a submerged city where only the tallest skyscrapers break the surface, allowing citizens to live in tents on their roofs and travel by using narrow bridges built between them.
This new setting also introduces us to new characters. Epics like Obliteron, Newton, and Regalia, and new members of the Reckoners network like Val and Mizzy. As cool as the new Reckoners are, I couldn’t help but miss Cody and Abraham, who made Steelheart a delight to read and kept David from getting too cocky or restless. The new Epics show us a large range in Epic powers and vulnerabilities, and I liked uncovering them alongside the characters. The discovery that each Epic’s weakness is grounded in their past – and not random as previously thought – makes these characters interesting.
As I mentioned earlier, this novel is more concerned with David’s character growth than Steelheart. His sympathy towards the youngest member of the Babilar team – Mizzy – was adorable and I liked that he took her under his wing. David’s relationship with the Prof becomes strained in this book because they disagree over whether Epics can be rehabilitated, and David had to slowly learn how to make decisions himself and trust his instincts. The Prof’s observation that David is more fond of brash heroics than carefully planned assaults rings true, but it can’t be denied that David’s outlook helps the Reckoner’s in times of crisis. As David struggles to make sense of the connection between Epic weaknesses and their past, he finds help in the unlikely form of Firefight. I love their interactions – all sweet bumbling teenage romance and tentative trust – and am looking forward to seeing their relationship grow.
Firefight is a brilliant follow-up to Steelheart and fans of Sanderson and YA fantasy won’t be disappointed with it. Sanderson, a master of epic fantasy and gorgeous world-building, has successfully applied his skills to the YA arena, and I can’t wait to see where he takes this story with Calamity. Readers not already familiar with his works will not regret picking up Steelheart and seeing what all the fuss is about!