I almost didn’t write this post today. I had a pretty terrible migraine yesterday, which made me leave work. I’ve been at the Library for just over a year, and have never called out or left early, until yesterday. That’s how bad I felt.
And so, though I feel so much better today, I seriously considered just lounging in bed until I had to get ready for work.
But, discipline won out, and here I am, excited as ever to talk to you about Calamity! Now, if you haven’t read my Firefight review, now might be a good time to get yourself caught up. I’d suggest the same for Steelheart, except I read that before I started writing reviews. But, if you’re reading this review before actually reading the series, tsk tsk. Because, here there be spoilers…
I just wrote about 600 words of this review and had to stop. There’s just too much. There are so many minute details that turn out to be important, and things twist and turn in very complex ways. I can’t retell it here. Not if this post is going to make any sense and be any fun to read.
So, key facts.
- The Reckoners are on the run after Prof snapped in Babilar. He’s killed most of the Reckoners, leaving David in charge of Cody, Abraham, Mizzy, and Megan.
- They track Prof, aka Limelight, to Ildithia. Formerly Atlanta, it’s been transformed into a moving city of salt. Yes, you read that right. And Sanderson does a really great job making the setting believable and undeniably cool.
- Larcener, the former ruler of Ildithia, shacks up with the Reckoners in an effort to hide from Limelight, who would like nothing more than to kill the power stealing Epic. He’s lazy and petulant, and hilarious. And dangerous.
- David’s convinced that, if they can just make Prof confront his fears, he’ll come back to himself. This is what the Reckoners plan for.
- Turns out, it’s not that simple, and in the process Prof accidentally kills Tia. The destruction from his anguish pretty much dooms Ildithia.
- Meanwhile Megan keeps testing the limits of her powers, which allow her to “borrow” from alternate dimensions to create illusions. The more she practices, the more real her illusions become.
This is where I have a hard time. The real twist in this story happens right about here. The team fights Prof one last time, using an impressive combination of tech and Epic powers, but they still can’t beat him.
And then some crazy shit happens. Like, Obliteration showing up and (sort of?) helping David. Like, Larcener, who’s been chilling with the team through the entire book, turning out to be Calamity himself.
He’s basically an alien, sent to this world on some sort of mission, which he misinterpreted as expediting man’s destruction of the world. When he’s shown the innate goodness of man, and how, if released from the bitterness and darkness created by Calamity’s own perspective, Epics can use their powers for good, he basically crumbles and poofs away.
And now Epics are free to be themselves, whether they’re good or bad. Now they’re just people. Epic people with Epic powers, that is.
Oh, and David gets to see his father, because in another reality Steelheart killed David instead, snapping his father into becoming one of the first good Epics, who then joined forces with that dimension’s version of the Reckoners.
And that’s basically how it ends.
Oh, except Obliteration shows up, spouting more scripture, and threatening doom on all the world. David points out that Calamity is gone, and Obliteration doesn’t have to be evil anymore. To which Obliteration says he knows. But, in fact, he faced his fears over five years before, and has been acting as his own crazy self this entire time! And he’s given David a warning. Toronto will melt in three days, more or less.
That’s how the book ends!
And Sanderson has already said that this is the end of The Reckoners.
And for this reason, despite the wonderfully written action sequences, and the nuanced build-up of wonderfully character interactions, this book is my least favorite Sanderson story.
Usually, Sanderson ties up his loose ends. But this books ends looking like an Afghan that’s been sitting in the entryway for over a decade. So many questions are left!
What about Prof? His anguish over the death of Tia, at his command. He has to live with that, and so much more, as he remembers all the atrocities he committed as Limelight.
What bout Knighthawk’s wife? She’s been in stasis for over a decade, waiting for a time when Knighthawk could get some of Prof’s tissue to try and heal her. Now he has the tissue! Did she wake up?
What about Cody and Abraham? Both of them were very seriously injured in the final battle with Prof, and though it’s hinted at that they made it, I could really use some details! Like, did Abraham’s arm grow back?!
And now David has powers, what’s he going to do with them?
This might be the end of The Reckoners, because they’ve ended the absolute tyranny of the Epics, thanks to the destruction of Calamity. But, there are so many details left that I’m left feeling quite dissatisfied.
I think this is the most negative review I’ve written of a Sanderson novel. I’m not sure I realized how attached I was to these characters before I finished this book. I’m not ready for this to be the end, not with so many answers still kept from me.
But, it was still a really great read. I was 100% invested in this book, even when things took that sharp turn into the weird. There were ending elements that I enjoyed, like David’s flying lessons with his Dad, and meeting the actual Firefight. I even cried at a couple parts.
So, it’s still a great book. Just be prepared to be left demanding more, and know that, you may never get what you want.
I’m still struggling through Red Rising. I’ve got less than a week to finish it, so I need to stop wasting time. But… it’s so boring. At least so far. Hopefully I can finish it and move on to the next read before too long.
See you then, Blogland.