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What do you do after having avenged your father's death by executing his killer?
Brandon Sanderson tries to make us believe that what motivates the protagonist, David Charleston, to action in Firefight rises to the same level as what motivated him to action after seeing his father murdered. It doesn't work. This time David is driven by raging teenage hormones. The problem with David's reasoning (or lack thereof) is even addressed by another character: his mentor, John Phaedrus. But yet, Brandon Sanderson decides that puppy love provides a credible background to this teenager-saves-the-world story arc. Sorely lacking is the same emotional connection the reader felt with David in the first Reckoner's book: Steelheart.
Firefight brings back some of the characters from the first book. However, they don't have the same exciting engagement that we've come to expect from The Reckoners. Tia sits in her room all day pouring over intel gathered from the lorists. We are also introduced to new characters who seem like they should be working in a cubicle at some low-level government job rather than out saving the world.
The dialogue is flat. This reader found it easy to skim past many parts of the book. Words without substance should be left to office workers hanging around the water cooler talking about the latest viral cat video. Readers should expect that, for a group of individuals trying to save the world, the dialogue would reflect the gravity of the situation. Instead, in Firefight we get characters making bimbo comments during the crucial moment of putting a plan together to save the world. I'm looking at you, Mizzy.
The antagonists aren’t much better. In a story that includes Epics with extraordinary powers, the reader should be able to imbibe in the richness of the characters’ evil. Who are they? Where do they come from? What were they like before transforming? Instead, all we get is
“It is often difficult to delve into who Epics were before their transformations.”
This failure to paint villain backstories leaves the reader left to wonder: “Are they really that bad?”
While Firefight doesn’t provide a convincing enough plot line to believe that Prof and David would risk their necks as they do with little true emotional involvement, perhaps Calamity will once again draw us in to embrace the world of The Reckoners.