"If we stop helping people because we're afraid, or ambivalent or whatever, then we lose. Let them do evil. I'll stop them..."
You can read my review of Steelheart here.
Previously, in Steelheart, we were introduced to the city of Newcago (Formerly Chicago). A star rose into the sky called Calamity, and suddenly normal people developed extraordinary powers. They were known as Epics, and the most powerful of them was called Steelheart. Unfortunately, the Epics were corrupted by their powers. They used them to oppress the powerless, rather than help them.
A group of powerless people fought back. They called themselves the Reckoners. David sought them out, hoping to join their ranks. Years ago, Steelheart had killed David's father in front of him. He wanted the Reckoners to help take down Steelheart and avenge his father's death.
Anyways, long story short (There be spoilers here!):
The Reckoners kill Steelheart. On the way, we find out that Megan, David's love interest, was actually an Epic named Firefight. Also, the leader of the Reckoners, Prof, is an Epic. He is able to transfer some of his abilities to others, which explains most of the Reckoner's fancy technology.
There was also a novella titled Mitosis where the Reckoners fight the titled Epic. It's mentioned in the book, but isn't necessary to understand the story.
Now, on to Firefight!
What is there to do now that your biggest enemy is defeated? The Reckoners have managed to keep Newcago safe from Epics hoping to take over for Steelheart. Recently, David has started to feel that killing the Epics might be wrong. Prof is an Epic and also a really good person, and despite evidence to the contrary, David is convinced that Megan is also a good person. He starts to wonder if they could turn Epics normal again if they could get them to stop using their powers. Prof dismisses this. He knows firsthand how the powers corrupt, tempt Epics to use them, tempt them to conquer and destroy. According to Prof, killing the Epics is showing them a mercy.
The Reckoners start to notice that several Epics they defeated recently have been sent from Babilar (Formerly Manhattan). The Epic in charge there is called Regalia. She used to be friends with Prof, and now she is calling him out. He thinks that she is provoking him to kill her.
Prof invites David to go out to Babilar with him and Tia (His girlfriend/surveillance person). They meet the other branch of Reckoners: Val, who is crabby (but probably because Sam, her boyfriend/husband just died), Exel, who is plus-sized and doesn't leave much of an impression, and Mizzy, who is bubbly and enthusiastic. Mizzy is pretty intent upon getting revenge for Sam's murder. He was killed by...Firefight, Megan. Things get complicated when David is stalking some local Epics and encounters Megan. He is definitely happy to see her, and he doesn't believe that she would kill anyone. He never gets around to asking about it, though.
Meanwhile, Regalia has brought in Obliteration, an Epic who has leveled entire cities. The Reckoners need to come up with a plan to destroy her, and fast. Of course, things aren't always what they seem when it comes to Regalia, or the Reckoners, or basically anything. There's some twists and turns, betrayals on all sides.
I loved this sequel even more than the first book. It was exciting and there was a ton of action. I liked how David was the same nerdy guy as last time, with his weirdo metaphors all the time. I also really loved this moment:
"You know," she said, "you're not actually bad at metaphors..."Seriously, that bugged me throughout the first book. Similes use "like" or "as," metaphors don't, David!
"...because most of the things you say are similes. Those are really what you're bad at."
I wasn't sure where they were going to go with the series after the death of Steelheart, but I really liked the questions the book raised about Epics. Not to get into spoilers, but there were some really awesome and exciting revelations here. And, omigod, that ending! I am super stoked for Calamity, and super impatient to read it next year.