**REVIEW** – Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

I’ve read three Brandon Sanderson novels so far and I’ve only really liked Steelheart.  This is my review of the audiobook of Firefight.

FireFight is the sequel to Steelheart (although I believe there is a short novel called Mitosis in between). The story is about the main protagonist, David, who is part of a group that call themselves the Reckoners. The Reckoners hunt down and kill mutated humans, called Epics, who have gained various supernatural powers due to an event called Calamity. This is sort like X-Men, except mostly bad X-Men. There are a few Epics who want to be good people, but the power provided by Calamity seems to drive them to more malevolent pursuits.

The beginning of the novel started out very well describing David hunting down an Epic called Sourcefield. I thought I’d been in a for another rip-roaring yarn similar to that which Sanderson put together so nicely in Steelheart. After hunting Sourcefield, the Reckoners begin a search for another Epic called Obliteration and his ally, a water Epic called Regalia. After a few skirmishes with those Epics, David runs into a previous love interest, an Epic called Firefight. Here’s where the novel really bogs down. Essentially the final half of the book is mostly a teenage, lovey-mopey, angsty-filled, conversation-heavy pining between David and Firefight. I’m not sure (because I zoned out at times during the listen) but I believe there were literally hours of yakking between David and Firefight.

Of course, the climax involves more angst and melodrama in the fate of David’s and Firefight’s relationship; as well as a hackneyed conflict created between David and his friend, Prof. Jon Phaedrus. It smacks of more contrivance.

The narration is decent. This is the same narrator from Steelheart. However, he tends to bring a nagging, shrill voice to all of the female antagonists; as well as a clichéd, chortling lilt to the male villains.

I enjoyed the first book of this series (except for the contrived ending). After this second book, I’m just not interested in finding out what happens next.

**REVIEW** – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

*Exquisitely vibrant and lush story-telling*
The author’s prose is so rich and beautifully descriptive that the reader feels positively transported into the tale of a fantastical night circus that takes place in the late 1800s/early 1900s.

The story is about a couple of elderly magicians who hold a sort of contest between their respective protégés. The contest continues until a winner is determined, and then another contest is begun with new protégés.

A young girl, Cecilia, and a young boy, Marco are picked as the next protégés in the latest contest. The two, along with the rest of the circus, travel about the world putting on incredible shows, but only at night. The author’s description of the magical talents and various spectacles that the two magicians showcase is superb and entrancing. You feel as if you are right there watching the magical displays. The sheer mastery that this author has with words is enough of a reason to get this book.

The finale is not as expected, or rather what you’d typically expect from such a story; yet it is satisfying. Bottom line: the prose is an example of how books should be written.

(My book reviews can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/40559566)