I love David's character growth in this YA Superpowered Dystopia.
They told David it was impossible—that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart—invincible, immortal, unconquerable—is dead. And he died by David's hand.
Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.
Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though.
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Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible
This is Book #2 of 3 in "The Reckoners" trilogy. All three, and a novella, are out and available on audio.
**This review contains spoilers for the previous book(s).**
I have read some reviews of this book by people who don't like the romance. That's my favorite part, along with all the changes happening within the various characters. The action for me will always be secondary and I only enjoy it if it is firmly rooted in the characters and how & why they fight the way they do.
I have marked this with Diversity, since Val is Hispanic & Mizzy's African American and there are more roles for females in this one. (In the last one, Abraham was like the token "black guy" and Tia & Megan were the only females with true speaking parts)
David: As I said above, I love his character growth, especially his developing compassion and awareness of the wider world. The bad metaphors did occasionally get to be a bit much, but the funny thing is that he isn't that bad at them unless he's trying not to be.
Megan/Firefight: I find that the contrast between how totally competent she really is as a fighter and her insecurities regarding her powers (and tendency to compare them to those of others) makes her seem like very normal young woman. I really enjoyed reading about her struggle to be something more (or is it less) than just an Epic.
David & Megan: In the last book, David confessed his feelings to Megan after her death, since he didn't know she was an Epic & could reincarnate. The stuff between them in this one were my favorite parts, and I loved them all. If I have anything negative to say about this relationship, it's that they have a little too much in common, which seems slightly unrealistic. But this is definitely a couple that could make it work - if it weren't for a few little things that might end up with his having to kill her. And that's if she's not just playing him after all.
Abraham & Cody are left behind in Newcago. In this book we have a new team: Val - mostly just grumpy & curt / XL - a bit creepy, but also a bit too much like Abraham / Mizzy - she is unique and fun. She's kind of their Q, but wants to be in on the action. I think she and David contrast nicely.
Prof & Tia - I had some issues with them this time around. They are struggling to adjust to the changes that David has introduced, and he's the one who suffers as a result.
The main villains in this one are: Regalia, the water controlling Epic who runs the city, and Obliteration, an Epic with bomb like powers. In addition, we have the mysterious Dawnslight, who is practically worshiped by citizens but may not be real.
We get a whole new city in this book. Instead of the steel catacombs of an always night-time Newcago (Chicago) where people go about their business grimly - We get a glow-in-the-dark Babilar (Babylon Restored, i.e. sunken Manhattan) where people chose to party the nights away on the rooftops of the city's tallest buildings. The atmosphere & people in the city remind me of those usually seen in fictional accounts of New Orleans.
In Steelheart, David was extremely familiar with the city. The book started with his crazy dash through it, which demonstrated that. Here, he is not only unfamiliar with the geography but with the customs. I would say he is a fish out of water, but in this case it's more like a (non-aquatic) bird in the water.
The story starts in Newcago, as the Reckoners battle an Epic who has come to destroy them following their victory over Steelheart. It serves as a smooth way to introduce what happened in the previous book and the relationships that David had developed up to now.
One of the main themes in this book is trust. Everyone in the Reckoners seems to be working behind everyone else's back, rather than demonstrating true trust. And David's opinions and beliefs regarding the Epics are beginning to change. The book also centers on the fact that no one really knows anyone else's plan, whether they be ally or enemy (or even who's who at certain times).
This book ends with a full on cliffhanger, followed by a small wrapup scene.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
- Fortune cookie text messages
- When David learns the truth about Calamity (and what happens after Regalia tries to punish him)
- The big confrontation scene at the end, once everyone's plans have played out, and the quiet moments afterwards.
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: a bit of swearing
Character voices differentiated = Yes; I think Mizzy's voice especially fits her, although I'm not sure what her accent is supposed to be. / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Accents good = ? (this is a post apocalyptic world, so I'm not sure we can map the accents to our current world) / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual
I always enjoy MacLeod Andrews narration and this is no exception. I feel like he truly conveys the growing complexities of David.
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