Monday, March 14, 2016

Calamity Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Reckoners Book Three
Pages: 420

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The sun peeked over the horizon like the head of a giant radioactive manatee

(Spoilers for Steelheart and Firefight are below).

Regalia has been defeated, but Prof the leader of the Reckoners has now embraced his epic powers and transformed into Limelight. David has discovered that Calamity, the cause of epics on Earth, is itself and epic. Regalia's plan to confront Calamity was passed on to Prof, so David leads the remaining Reckoners to Ildithia (formerly Atlanta) to try and bring Prof back to the light.

First and foremost Ildithia is a moving city that's constantly rebuilding itself. Currently it's located somewhere in Kansas. The perpetually dark Chicago and the steel made everything still remains Brandon Sanderson's top real world setting, but the worldbuilding gets a boost through Megan's powers as Firefight. Her illusions are pulled from other places, and it's the visualization of those places that manages to elevate this story above the middling second Reckoners book. Megan being back in the story, and by back I mean she's a conscious member of the team, just seems to improve everything.

In Ildithia a new powerful epic named Larcener is struggling to maintain his grip on the city as Limelight tries to take it from him. Larcener was a child when he discovered his epic powers, and as a result he's nothing more than an entitled adolescent with way too much power. The mother major character that's added to the story is Knighthawk, Prof's former partner. He's the equipment designer for many of the gadgets that make use of epic powers. Essentially he's what Q is to the James Bond series. In the way of new characters there isn't a whole lot going on. As for the rest of the Reckoners who've had little development time, only Abraham show's any signs of character growth. And that growth is pretty vague.

Everything else is pretty status-quo for Sanderson. There's plenty of espionage covert-op styled action scenes and plenty of David's terrible metaphors. Unfortunately, not much has been improved in the way of dialogue between characters, and the final conflict with Calamity is fairly conventional, at least compared to Sanderson's only other completed trilogy, Mistborn. Above all Calamity is a superhero story and although it gets pretty conventional, it gets the superhero treatment, and an ending it deserves.

Score: 7.6

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