Friday, December 29, 2017


by Brandon Sanderson
Recommended Ages: 13+

In Book 1 of the "Reckoners" trilogy (Steelheart), David Charleston began a career assassinating people with super-powers, but only because they really deserved it. In Book 2 (Firefight), he started to doubt they necessarily deserved it, and started looking for a better way to rein in the evil of the super-powered Epics who have devastated the world since the red star Calamity rose in the sky 13 years ago. Now his theory about how to defeat the darkness is put to the test, as the girl he loves - Megan, a.k.a. Firefight - rejoins the anti-Epic freedom fighters she betrayed, while their hero-worshiped leader - Jonathan Phaedrus, a.k.a. Prof, a.k.a. Limelight - becomes their deadliest enemy. Whatever Limelight has planned, the Reckoners must stop him fast, even though their theories about how to do it are half-baked and, as likely as not, they are walking right into a trap.

The third Reckoners adventure also introduces another American city that has been transformed into a peculiar playground for powered people. We've already seen Chicago turned into a honeycomb of steel tunnels and cloaked in everlasting night, and we've seen New York submerged, up to about the 20th floor, with an indoor jungle bearing glow-in-the-dark fruit. Now we find the former city of Atlanta, now known as Ildithia, transformed into saltstone and moving around the country. Everything in the city grows up on the leading edge, lasts a week, and crumbles off the trailing edge, so its denizens are constantly moving. Limelight is muscling in on the leader of the local gang - a lazy Epic named Larcener, who specializes in stealing other Epics' powers.

Caught between them are David and his team, hoping to stop whatever Limelight has planned, and if possible, convert him back to the side of the good guys. They also hope to rescue one of their former crewmates, who has been captured by the enemy. In spite of the doubts of Megan, Abraham, Cody, and Mizzy, David thinks he knows a way to break through to Prof before he takes a step that he can't take back - or, in other words, before they have to kill him to save the world. But their foe knows them as well as they know him. When he pushes their timetable up, they do not have time to test their theories or learn to use their secret weapon. They simply have to commit, ready or not, to an all-out battle, and must face an even greater enemy than they ever anticipated, while surprising discoveries about the nature of their world continue popping out all the way to the end.

This series' journey into the dark, Bizarro side of the superhero universe receives a fast-paced, explosive conclusion in this book, with the kind of intricate plotting that leaves you re-evaluating the entire series, combined with a first-person narration by an immensely entertaining main character. David is not only funny, audacious, and full of admirable qualities; he also struggles with inner conflicts and powerful feelings that will endear him to the reader. I came to the end of this trilogy entirely satisfied, and more interested than ever in reading more that Brandon Sanderson has to offer, such as his continuing "Mistborn" saga and the final installments in the late Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" cycle.

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