Calamity ~ Reckoners #3 by @BrandSanderson #Sci-fi #YA @MacLeodAndrews

  • CalamityAudiobook Review
  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Performed by MacLeod Andrews
  • Published: Orion Publishing Group, released February 2016 on Audible 
  • Category: Sci-fi, Young Adult Fantasy, Alternate Reality
  • four-half-stars

They told David it was impossible – that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet Steelheart – invincible, immortal, unconquerable – is dead. And he died by David’s hand.
Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there’s no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs. He found some of those answers in Firefight. Now he has to decide what to do with them….
Calamity is about what you do to fill your heart once you have vengeance.

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Firefight (The Reckoners #2)

Firefight

  • Audiobook Review
  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Performed by MacLeod Andrews
  • Published: Orion Publishing Group – released on Audible January 2015
  • Category: YA, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi
  • five-stars

They told David it was impossible – that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart – invincible, immortal, unconquerable – is dead. And he died by David’s hand. 

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realise he has questions. Big ones. And there’s no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Firefight continues the story of David Charleston and The Reckoners, the group of resistance fighters sworn to rid the world of as many Epics as possible. Epics are humans endowed with super powers, who use those powers to subdue, control and kill the human population. 

Following on from Steelheart (and a novella, Mitosis) Newcago is a free city now that David defeated and killed Steelheart, avenging his father’s death. David had been working towards this goal exclusively for all the years since his father’s murder. But now the Reckoners have another problem…

Sourcefield had come to Newcago earlier in the week. She’s started killing immediately – random people, no perceivable purpose behind it. Just like Steelheart had done in his early days. Then she’s started calling out for the citizens to turn in the Reckoners, so she could bring us to justice.

A twisted brand of Epic justice. They killed whomever they wanted, but to strike back was an offence so greatly could barely conceive it. Well, she’d see soon enough. So far, our plan to bring her down wasn’t going terribly well, but we were the Reckoners. We prepared for the unexpected.

Regalia, a very powerful Epic, who controls Babylon Restored, previously known as Manhattan, has been sending lesser Epics to Newcago to kill the Reckoners in retaliation for the death of Steelheart. So David, Prof and Tia, along with new team members Exel, Val and Mizzy journey to Babylon Restored to eliminate Regalia. Killing Steelheart might have solved an immediate problem but ultimately has created more. The Reckoners find an assortment of Epics in Babylon Restored including Firefight, which causes a huge dilemma for David and a division in the team.

David has spent forever studying Epics, their superpowers and trying to find their weaknesses. Although he is no longer fuelled by the need for revenge, he condemns the Epics for killing innocent people. At the same time his views are not as straightforward as they once were. Realising all Epics aren’t bad David wants to understand why their powers corrupt, and if it’s possible to reverse them. He hopes so, more than anything. 

There’s lots of action, challenges and a good deal of new information about the Epics, what drives them and how their powers manifest. Surprise and dramatic reveals arise throughout and the stakes increase hugely towards the end. 

The characters are strong, realistic and well-developed; David’s growth is noticeable and I like the fact he can admit to his mistakes and is willing to rectify them. He’s still impulsive and acts without thinking on occasion which tends to cause problems for everyone, himself included. But he’s also reflective and thoughtful in equal measure as he works things out, even though he doesn’t always want to go in the direction his logic takes him. There’s more background relating to Prof, Megan and Tia, too. The plot flows incredibly well with perfect pacing and lots of unexpected revelations.

The world building is so very imaginative and descriptive. A colourful (literally!) story full of fun, romance, fights, friendship and deception but also addressing serious subject matter and ethical concerns. And the ending! What a twist that is!

MacLeod Andrews is the perfect choice for narrator, David’s teen ‘voice’ is just right, Prof’s (my favourite) too and all the other characterisations are extremely well done and have distinct personalities. 

About the author

BrandonSandersonI’m Brandon Sanderson, and I write stories of the fantastic: fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers.

January 2015 marks the release of Firefight, the sequel to Steelheart. When only evil people gain super powers and become tyrants, it’s up to normal people to hunt them down. There is a free 5-chapter preview ebook of Steelheart here on Amazon that you should check out, with a corresponding sampler audiobook on Audible. My Firefight book tour in the US lasts throughout January.

Recent short releases are Legion: Skin Deep (sequel to Legion), the further investigations of an average man whose many hallucinations are all experts in their own fields, and also my novella Sixth of the Dusk, set in the same universe as Mistborn and Stormlight, revolving around an attack on an island trapper’s way of life.

My biggest recent epic fantasy is Words of Radiance, written as a love letter of sorts to the epic fantasy genre. It continues the story of the Stormlight Archive that began in The Way of Kings, and it’s the type of book I always dreamed epic fantasy could be. October 2015 and January 2016 will also see the release of two new Mistborn books, Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning.

Mistborn and the Stormlight Archive are among my most popular works, as are my concluding volumes to Robert Jordan’s epic series The Wheel of Time. My novella The Emperor’s Soul won a Hugo Award in 2013. That year also marked the release of my first young adult fantasy, The Rithmatist.

Sample chapters from all of my books are available at brandonsanderson.com/library — and check out the rest of my site for chapter-by-chapter annotations, deleted scenes, and more.

Brandon can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Please click on the book cover for Amazon UK and here for Amazon US.

Steelheart ~ the audiobook

 

  • cfa0d67825b34bff42772d35239e17e7The Reckoners ~ Book 1
  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Performed by MacLeod Andrews
  • Released: September 2013 by Audible Frontiers
  • Category: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Apocalyptic/Post Apocalyptic
  • four-half-stars

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

A very descriptive and sad prologue sets up the storyline, the trauma suffered by David and how that affects the choices he makes.

In a post Calamity world ruled by dark and chilling Epics, humans who gained fearful super powers, a small group of resistance fighters, The Reckoners, are killing Epics to try to undermine their hold on the world. 

David wants revenge against the most powerful ruling Epic, Steelheart, for the murder if his father 10 years ago. He joins The Reckoners (great characters) and they devise a plan.

David knows Steelheart has a weakness, he saw him bleed, but he doesn’t know for sure what the weakness is or how to utilise it to The Reckoners’ best advantage.

A good narrator makes all the difference to an audiobook but an exceptional narrator takes it to a whole new level. MacLeod Andrews comes into the latter category. He brings David to life and gives him personality and moves easily between each of the characters giving them all distinctive ‘voices’ and emotional depth as well as intenseness to the whole of the story.

Although this is classed as a young adult title it kind of hovers on the mid line between YA and adult.

There are morality issues to confront and lessons to learn, several unexpected twists and revelations turn things upside down. The characters are solid and likeable and I love how David is portrayed. He’s had to grow up fast but still has teenage moments of impulsiveness and acting without thought of the consequences. The banter between the group is appealing and comical at times.

Imaginative storytelling, which leaves enough unsaid to make me want to follow on with the next book, lots of fast paced action and suspense. In the Epic world superpowers are used for destruction and corruption but the Reckoners have a few tricks up their sleeves. 

The writing style appealed to me, very well done with vivid imagery and clever world building and I liked that there’s a darkness to the story. 

The book is available at  Amazon UK and Amazon US