With A Pinch of Salt – A review of Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

I was excited to get to this book – the final book in what I quickly assumed from book one would be one of my most favourite series of all time – the Reckoners series! With the first two books being highly rated in my eyes, I jumped into reading Calamity with hype.

But you know how they say that sequels don’t quite hit the original, especially with a third sequel? Why is it that the third one is the most frequently the worst in the series? But I don’t mean one star when it comes to this book, anyway.

With his mentor and leader having been corrupted by the sheer nature of Epics, David Charleston steps up, whether he wanted to or not, as the new leader of the Reckoners. And he’s got plans. His knowledge that the Epics’ descent into darkness isn’t permanent sends him not only on a quest to make his mentor safe again but to stop the one responsible for their corruption, Calamity. His quest takes him to Ildithia, the former Atlanta, as he tries to discover the weaknesses of the Epics around him not to kill them, but to have them face their fears to bring out the inner good inside of them.

So about that Calamity, the main antagonist… the way he was defeated, in the most spoiler free way possible, was pathetic. You know how villain monologues are frowned upon? This was the reversal. A hero monologue. That somehow defeated the main antagonist. After a high action climax for it to slow down in such a way, it was just plain BS! This was not what I came to read this series for. It made the conclusion feel absolutely hollow and feeling like there was a catch, a plot twist, a rogue’s sneak attack. But nothing came. For a series conclusion!

In spite of that, there was one character’s conclusion and character arc that really shone in this book. I didn’t really like this character too much in the first book, and she grew on me in book two. But in book three, Megan Tarash was at her best. The way her arc concluded made me thoroughly enjoy her, which I didn’t even think would be possible. She went from average to great. Books two and three really added some depth and points of interest to her which really shone in book three especially. Other characters were very nicely explored as well, even less serious characters showing some depth that previously felt hidden.

What also shone like an oily pimple was how much Sanderson didn’t understand his audience, more so how smart they were. For some reason, he withheld plans that David had made and their intentions from the audience even though the story is told from his perspective. This happened on multiple occasions where the solution to this plan we didn’t know got built up like crazy and it made for cheap plot twists. On the other hand, there were some plot points which were so obvious it was ballistic that David hadn’t noticed so either. It was almost like I was proven done when one plotpoint and plan David made went right over my head, and to forgive me Sanderson made a point that I noticed a quarter of the book earlier than the main character. And sometimes I’d forgive this, but not this time.

Still, none of that took anything away from the worldbuilding, what this series excels at. The world didn’t quite expand in the way that I expected, but it was still fascinating to see it occur in such a way. The powers, abilities and origins of the superhumans known as Epics were the focus of this worldbuilding here. I wasn’t quite a fan of how much it focussed on two Epics’ abilities more than the rest, but it was still very insightful to see how everything connected. If I wound up satisfied with anything in this book, it would be getting closure on the nature and abilities of Epics.

The same can’t be said about the narrative.

Calamity gets a score of 3.5/5. While retaining the core of the series, it leaves me wanting more in a bad way.

And what’s this? Another series done on this blog? Well I suppose I should review the whole thing now!

Steelheart5/5, an action packed start to a very unique series.

Firefight5/5, more great worldbuilding and the depth of the characters was incredible.

Calamity – 3.5/5, a conclusion that works well but is not quite satisfying.

Right from this start I knew I was in for something great with the worldbuilding and the uniqueness of it alone. I haven’t seen any piece of media quite like it with such high action and stakes. As many reviewers had previous said, it’s a blockbuster in book form. The characters were also of great interest, various ones getting their chance to shine in many different ways throughout. My only major complaint would be how it finished. I wished it was just as engaging, full of stakes and just overall exciting as the rest of the series.

The Reckoners Trilogy gets a score of 4/5. This series is a keeper.

Yours in writing


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