Calamity

Reading some of the other reviews on Goodreads, I was afraid that Calamity wouldn’t live up to the expectation of the previous two Reckoners books. Luckily, at least so far as I’m concerned, it not only met the expectations I had for it, it exceeded them.

So far as the world building / settings go, each of the Reckoners books takes an ordinary city in the former United States and weirds it. First, we had Chicago made of steel. Then New York, mostly underwater and covered with glowing spray paint. This time around? The city of Atlanta, made of salt and on the move. It’s just such a bizarre visual that it could carry a decent bit of the story just on that alone. All the little details that entails (sweat breaks down the salt, buildings crumble) just make it all the more interesting.

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Firefight

Firefight is a an excellent followup to Steelheart, taking everything I liked about the first book–the variety of the Epics’ powers and the ruined world they’ve left behind–and making it better while at the same point smoothing out my one real complaint–the ‘bad analogies’. They’re still there, but he doesn’t mention them every page or two, so they actually feel funny this time around, rather than so forced.

On the upside, the new setting is just as crazy and cool this time around. Last time–Chicago turned to steel. This time, New York City flooded to the point only the tops of skyscrapers stick out of the water, where fruit trees grow freely in buildings and spray paint glows in the night. It’s a beautiful image and an interesting contrast to the relentlessly gritty steel of Newcago.

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Steelheart

The Reckoners is everything that I love in a Sanderson book, with the main exception being that it’s not set in the otherwise shared universe of the Cosmere. It makes sense though, given that Steelheart is set in our universe (more or less).

Basically, a bunch of people gained superpowers. In Sanderson fashion, their powers are varied and interesting and the ‘rules’ are fairly solid. Powers range from illusions and fire to turning an entire city into metal. On top of that, every Epic (the word ‘Superhero’ having some legal oddities around it) also has a weakness, thus fulfilling Sanderson’s Second Law. Also, they’re all pretty much evil. It’s a pretty neat world.

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