This is going to be a double post because I just finished reading the second book of The Reckoners trilogy, Firefight, and realized that I hadn’t ever mentioned the first book. This is another Brandon Sanderson novel and they differ greatly from many of his other books in that they take place on Earth. A dystopian planet Earth, but Earth nonetheless.
The Earth has been dramatically changed since the coming of the red star Calamity ten years ago. Since that day ordinary people have found themselves endowed with god-like powers. Unfortunately, the power isn’t a blessing. These individuals, who the populace originally called Epics, are not here to save or serve. They have used their powers to enslave humanity and crush any resistance that opposes them.
In what was once Chicago, David has spent his life studying the Epics to find their weaknesses. Ever since the death of his father ten years ago he has been seeking revenge on the one who killed him: Steelheart. Steelheart’s abilities have preserved him these ten years and allowed him to claim dominion over the city. With super strength, power over the elements, and invincibility there are none who can oppose him.
However, when a mysterious group of resistance fighters called the Reckoners come to town David wants in. Having anticipated their arrival he makes contact in an attempt to join them and elicit their help. David isn’t the type of person the Reckoners are looking for, but he has a piece of information that they need; David has seen Steelheart bleed.
After the events of the first book, the Reckoners continue their fight against the Epics. Yet dangerous circumstances will call David and the Reckoner’s leader, Prof, away from Newcago and toward what used to be Manhattan, which is now Babylon Restored.
Babylon Restored is now a flooded city controlled by the Epic Regalia, who has the ability to manipulate and control water. Once inside the city the Reckoner’s problems are far from over as they find themselves facing a new enemy who is much smarter than any they have ever faced. It will take all their courage and intelligence to face the trials that come, but David has questions that he needs answered as well.
However, after everything that has transpired in Newcago David finds himself with more questions than answers. Questions that will lead David closer to the secrets behind the Epic powers and toward the one Epic he now wants to save: Firefight.
An interesting fact: before I read Steelheart I had a very similar idea as this book for one of my book ideas. This is actually the second time that has happened to me. Though, to be honest, I am glad Brandon Sanderson wrote this book. I don’t know how good mine would have been, but he did a spectacular job with it. What would have been upsetting is if I found someone had already used one of my story ideas and it tanked.
Anyway, back to the review.
I found these books to be engaging, well constructed, and creative. The characters were one of my favorite aspects, but this isn’t surprising due to the fact that it’s Brandon Sanderson. I find a character to be more relatable if there is something unique, quirky, or both about a character. The main character David was cemented in my mind by his inability to come up with good metaphors. His constant failures work as comic relief for the book and make it easier for the reader to form a bond to the character because he’s like a normal person, and normal people put their foot in their mouth. When characters always seem to say the right thing at the right time a barrier can be created.
The plot was also excellently constructed. In a world full of super powers it would be very easy for an author to become redundant or unoriginal in the powers they give to their characters. But as usual, Brandon Sanderson was defies expectations. Some of the interesting abilities he included were the ability to fire a gun without having to reload, gifters (those who can lend some of their powers to others), and danger sense teleportation (which instinctively teleports the individual away any time his life is threatened). I like to think that I can come up with a plethora of creative special abilities, but Sanderson outdid himself in this regard in the presentation of the powers.
What I think makes these books more popular than other super human novels is the sense of reality they bring. When I’m reading, Sanderson has provided me with so much detail about the super powers, the locations, the personalities of the characters, and how everything works within the world that little is unexplained. The scientific nature in which he discusses the abilities of the epics and how they react to the world around them brings it to life. I can see this happening in our world today. When an author can take magic, advanced science, and the supernatural and twist them into a world that seems believable, they have succeeding in creating a world.