Firefight, by Brandon Sanderson

FirefightMy reaction upon getting the email from my library that my hold on Firefight had finally come in: “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

But of course, I was in the middle of another book, so Scott got to read it first, and when he stayed up way too late two nights in a row reading it I knew it was going to be good. When it was finally my turn to read it, I finished it in an afternoon (I might read just a touch faster than my husband does).

And it’s pretty dang good, guys. Not as great as Steelheart, but I’ve read enough series to know not to expect equal greatness from sequels. But if you’re looking for the action, intensity, and amusingly awful metaphors of the first book, Firefight does not disappoint.

In this go, we are in a post-Steelheart Newcago, where the Reckoners are working to protect the city from harm. Unfortunately, a bunch of non-Newcago-an Epics keep showing up and trying to kill off the Reckoners, and it soon becomes clear that they are being sent by somebody. That somebody is Regalia, the Epic running the waterlogged city of Babilar, formerly known as Manhattan. Our metaphor-challenged hero, David, travels to Babilar with Jon Phaedrus, the Reckoner leader, secret Epic, and former friend of Regalia, to see what’s up and what they can do about it. But David’s not really on board with the mission — he’s more interested in figuring out a way to keep former Reckoner, formerly secret Epic, and crush-object Megan/Firefight from becoming the kind of evil Epic that all Epics seem to eventually become.

Soooo there’s more of that gross swoony love stuff than I would particularly prefer, but it’s actually pretty well integrated into the regular storyline so I can forgive it. Sanderson does a great job breaking out the world-building again for Babilar, a city supernaturally covered in water and somehow growing phosphorescent plants inside the abandoned buildings, including some trees that grow fortune cookies for reasons that are actually pretty cool. And he brings in more backstory to the world as a whole, explaining more about how the Epics came to be and the source of their powers and weaknesses. Sanderson also breaks out my two favorite things, suspense and intrigue, as the various players in this story maneuver against each other in ways I wasn’t always suspecting, with real motives only realized at the last second or sometimes even later.

It’s not a perfect book, but it’s super entertaining and my only regret is that I have to wait until “Spring 2016” (according to the end of the book) to find out how it ends! I will keep my fingers crossed for another Mitosis-style ebook to tide me over.

Recommendation: For lovers of Sanderson, Steelheart, superpowers, suspense, other things that start with s…

Rating: 8/10

Weekend Shorts: Mitosis and Nancy Drew

I’ve got two very different stories to talk about today — one a delightful interlude to tide me over until a sequel, the other a horrible travesty upon my childhood. Which to talk about first…

Mitosis, by Brandon Sanderson
MitosisOh, let’s start with the good. I like good. I like Steelheart. I like this story, which starts with our good friend David really super extremely excited about… eating a hot dog. I mean, I get that he hasn’t had one in ten years, but… a hot dog? I’d be more excited about, like, pizza, although I don’t really like Chicago-style pizza… this is not the point! Although, pizza, yum.

Anyway, there are hot dogs eaten and also we find out — spoilers if you haven’t read Steelheart yet, which, go do that now — that the Reckoners have managed to more or less reclaim Chicago, although they can’t do much about that steel everywhere, and also that David is being called “Steelslayer” and given all sorts of credit for defeating Steelheart. So of course another Epic, this one aptly called Mitosis, shows up in Chicago demanding to speak with David to find out what really happened. We learn a little bit more about the Epics and their powers and weak spots, and we get a decent setup for the upcoming Firefight, and all and all I am entertained.

The Demon of River Heights, by Stefan Petrucha
The Demon of River HeightsAaaaaaaaaaaaaah. So you may remember that ages ago I partook in a Nancy Drew Challenge in which I was going to read all of the 56 original (well, “original”) Nancy Drew books, except I only made it to 11 before I was like, I think I can predict the next 45 just fine, thanks. But I read and loved all 56 as a kid, as well as all eleven billion of the new Nancy Drews that were out in the early nineties, so I couldn’t help myself when I realized that this graphic adaptation existed in my library. Please, help yourself and avoid this!

For one, this graphic novel suffers from the all-too-common GIGANTIC BOOBS problem, with even sporty George sporting a rack larger than mine. I’m not sure the artist understands the audience for Nancy Drew stories. Secondly, it suffers from the same predictability as the original series, except with more explosions. Thirdly, it was published in 2005 and is a ridiculous time capsule of mid-aughts technology, you know, when smartphones were this crazy new thing that had yet to take over the world? So Nancy drives this hybrid car, which she keeps forgetting to put gas in, and also keeps losing cell phone reception, which, fair. But then George has this fancy not-iPad with “wifi and cell-phone dial-up” that, I shit you not, she uses to look up how to fight a bear while Nancy is FIGHTING A BEAR in the MIDDLE OF THE WOODS. So there’s that, and actually that’s just a few pages in so if you want to pick up the book just to enjoy Nancy punching a bear in the face I think that’s probably totally legit. I can only imagine what will happen in the rest of the series, because I am NOT reading any more of it. (Unless you tell me it’s awesome, then maybe.)