Brandon Sanderson’s „Calamity“, the final installment in the Reckoners trilogy, has been one of my most anticipated 2016 releases since I read the final page of „Firefight“ and I have been looking forward to reading it for a whole year. I was not only excited about how David and his Reckoners team would deal with the loss of their leader and mentor after Prof had been corrupted by his Epics powers and embraced his dark side in effort to save the city of Babylon Restored and if they would be able to find a way to defeat the Epics for good or at least stop the force that is turning every one of them evil sooner or later, but I had also high expectations because Sanderson already overwhelmed me with the perfection of his conclusion to the original Mistborn trilogy and I had hoped for nothing less than an equally satisfying ending to David’s story. And let me already spill it out so that I can get it over with: I’m not really happy with the ending of Reckoners series.
The Reckoners still haven’t given up on saving the world
But let’s start with the good news: The Reckoners might have lost one of their most important team members and have now even found a new enemy in their former leader Jonathan Phaedrus aka Prof, but Cody and Abraham are finally back in the story after having been so painfully absent in the second book. This means that the fun returns with full force since there’s a lot of hilarious bantering between the team members again and especially Cody’s made-up stories about his life as a Scotsman made me laugh so hard several times. It was just a relief to see that after all the shit the Reckoners have already went through including the loss of several friends and loved ones they still haven’t lost their humor and their believe in being able to defeat the Epics and change the world for the better. Throughout the trilogy I have always loved to see them work together as a team and I felt the same during „Calamity“, even though I was a bit disappointed that David seemed to have worked on his metaphors because he didn’t give us as many bad ones as in the first two books 😀 Also, can I just saw how awesome Nighthawk was as the latest addition to the team? He was such a weirdo with his creepy „living“ mannequin and had all those cool little gadgets that I was pretty jealous of!
Welcome to Ildithia, the moving city of salt!
Another thing I loved about „Calamity“ was the new setting. Just as in „Steelheart“ with Newcago which had been turned into a city made of steel by the Epic Steelheart and the really cool water city „Babylon Restored“ in „Firefight“ with all its jungle and the neon lights, Branden Sanderson came up with another unique location as the setting for the final battle against the Epics: Ildithia is what’s left of former Atlanta and is completely made out of salt. This alone would already be interesting but the city is also constantly in motion since it’s undergoing a never-ending cycle in which one edge of Ildithia crumbles into salt and is completely restored at the opposite side of the city AND THAT’S JUST SO COOL! This means that everybody always has to be on the run and can’t stay in one hideout for more than a few days without risking to be buried in salt or being discovered by the Epics that rule the city – one of them being Prof who is now the new main villain in „Calamity“. I loved Ildithia just as much as Newcago and Babylon Restored and definitely have to give credit to the author for being able to come up with such an original and creative setting for the third time in a row now.
Fast-paced, action-packed and fascinating…
So this still leaves the story which didn’t really disappoint me because I enjoyed at least 80% of this book just as much as „Steelheart“ and „Firefight“: The pace is fast, there’s some good action, interesting new Epics with cool powers and as usual I was intrigued by theorizing about the Epics’ weaknesses, about the reasons for their attraction to evil and about how to get Prof to face his fears and thereby maybe bring him back to the good side. There was another exciting aspect in the story which I don’t really want to talk about in greater detail to not give any spoilers but remember how Megan can reach into alternate worlds to create projections of certain things or even pull Firefight into her world? There’s a lot more to discover about this ability and this was probably my favorite element of this book.
… but not the epic ending I had hoped for
So I had a pretty good time enjoying myself reading this story but then I reached a point where I suddenly realized that there were only about 40-50 pages left in the book and began to panic because there were still so many things I wanted to know or thought that were still supposed to happen and I was afraid that all this wouldn’t fit into the last chapters – and sadly I was right. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that „Calamity“ has a crappy ending because in some way I actually did like how Sanderson brought this series to an end but it just felt so extremely rushed. One minute I felt like I was still in the middle of the story and then it was like BAM, BAM, BAM – THE END. Thinking about how much time the Reckoners spent about finding the Epics’ weaknesses throughout the whole series the ending somehow seemed much too easy and the stakes never really felt very high. I was especially disappointed by how Sanderson dealt with Calamity since I expected (and WANTED) him to be the worst villain of all those Epics and he definitely couldn’t live up to my expectations AT ALL. Maybe I’m just spoilt by the Mistborn trilogy which made me see what an exceptional storyteller Brandon Sanderson is and I somehow expected a conclusion that was just as mind-blowing and overwhelming as in „The Hero of Ages“ and in my opinion the author couldn’t deliver that. I have still so many unanswered questions and can’t shake the feeling that Sanderson saved a lot of explanations for his new Apocalypse Guard series which is set in a world parallel to that of the Reckoners and while this on the one hand makes me even more excited about the upcoming new trilogy I just can’t help feeling a bit disappointed. That’s why in the end I have to admit that „Calamity“ was my least favorite book in the Reckoners trilogy even though I still enjoyed it a lot – it’s a good book, but not as epic (sorry for the pun, it’s going to be the last one ;P) as I had hoped for.