This review contains SPOILERS — proceed with caution if you haven’t read the book yet!
I first read Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (the second book in the Reckoners trilogy) in November 2017. This review was originally posted on my Goodreads account. Some minor edits have been made to this review.
Firefight is a fine follow-up to Steelheart; David’s “metaphors” continue to baffle and amuse, there are a couple good new characters and settings, which is cool, and the ending left me wondering how the third book will go.
However, some elements of this were not as great as I think they could have been. Bits in the middle felt somewhat unfocused; for example, several chapters in the middle of the team’s attempts to spy on Obliteration are dedicated instead to David and Megan’s relationship. While this does have more significance than just them like-liking each other, I thought it shouldn’t have been the main focus at that point. I was much more interested in getting dirt on Obliteration and Regalia. Also, having a romance as part of what drives the plot in a young adult science-fiction adventure series feels somewhat trite to me by now. I know Sanderson can do better; he has, in fact.
So the middle third of the book lagged to me, largely due to the alternating focus on David/Megan and on the main conflict. Then, at the end, while the action picked up and I became more engaged again, the character deaths didn’t move me as much as they maybe should have. While I certainly liked Exel and Val, I feel that the readers hardly got the chance to know them, so their deaths — while terrible and a direct result of Prof’s downfall — did not have the emotional punch they were probably supposed to. We only saw one or two elements of their personalities but not enough to truly know them. Val was stern, and Exel was morbid but friendly. That’s about it. I wish we had had a chance to get to know them more, so that their deaths felt like they had a real purpose. The true emotional impact of that part was because of Prof, not his victims.
Overall, this was entertaining, and I am still interested to see how this ends, but I feel it lacked the intensely-defined structure and focus of other Sanderson works.
(The best part by far, though, was the “you’re like a potato in a minefield” scene. David’s a dork, but he’s a funny one.)
Overall rating: 7/10