Considering how much I LOVED the first book, Steelheart, I picked up Firefight without hesitation. I thought I would expect the same style of storytelling that was in the first book, more of David Charleston adorkable shenanigans. I was genuinely surprised at how different and questioning this story was but I loved it so much.
In Steelheart, the story was primarily focused on David Charleston and focused on his development and how he changes the Newcago. In Firefight, he is still the protagonist and the central character for development, but there was so much care to attention and detail about all of the other characters as well. Prof was fleshed out amazingly well and you could really see the struggle that both he and Megan faced in different ways. I thought this was really well done and, at some points, quite heart wrenching. I found myself genuinely worried about all of the characters as I kept reading. Normally when I read a sequel that has a relationship developed in the first book, I usually focus on those two characters with anxiety. But I was impressed that Brandon Sanderson made me care and fear for Prof just as much as I was worried about David and Megan.
Where the first book took place in a ruined version of Chicago, Firefight takes place in the post Calamity version of New York. I don’t want to give too much away about this but I was very impressed with how well developed the worldbuilding was and just how important of a role it played in the story and the development of David Charleston’s perception of Epics. It all felt random at first and there were always questions I kept thinking of as I kept reading. But as the story progressed everything began to make sense in a way that didn’t leave me feel wanting for more explanation.
Whereas the population played a very minor role in Steelheart, the people within the city here felt a lot more alive as a population. They didn’t act how David expected them to under the rule of a High Epic and the way David keeps addressing and thinks about it makes it so much more meaningful. It adds to how David’s perception of the world develops past his post-vengeance life.
Any story that makes me exclaim “Oh my god!” repeatedly throughout the second half of the book is instantly a favorite of mine. But outside of the moments of hype and excitement, the story was really well executed and character driven as to be expected of an author like Brandon Sanderson. I was so intrigued with David’s slowly changing view of the world that I began to ask the same questions that he did. It started to delve into aspects of humanity that almost relate to us in a real life way as well. Somehow Epics became more than maniacal super villains and more human. I started cheering for David more than anyone else. He pushes the story forward due to his ever changing beliefs and as Prof says, its incredibly infectious.
Considering I couldn’t put this book down and read it a lot faster than I thought I would, I have to say the writing is easy to get lost in. It flows smoothly as the story progress and each chapter ends in a way that makes you want to keep reading more and more. I have to say that stories like these are making me warm up to first person narratives more and more. The story is flavored by David’s perception and it helps that it’s not monotone as other first person narratives can be.
What Writers can learn from this book
Firefight is easily more bizarre and complicated than Steelheart felt, but I feel that was the strength of the story. Everything felt creative and wondrous but most importantly fit within the world constructed by Brandon Sanderson. The creativity of Babylon Restored was really cool to read and envision as its nothing you would expect from a post apocalyptic world. How the city and the people within the city affected David and his perception of the world is something I thought was done quite well. I feel like it’s something that would help anyone suffering from worldbuilding issues.
This series is awesome and I’m excited to finish it!!