Book Series Review: The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson

Welcome to my first series review!

Writing this review was an interesting experience for me. For starters, it encompasses my thoughts and feelings for three different books instead of one. I also wrote it well after finishing all the books so my memory of them is kind of fuzzy. Usually, I jot notes while reading books I’m going to review, but I had no intention of making this post until I was almost finished with the third book.

Here’s to firsts!

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Series Title: The Reckoners

Books In Series: (1) Steelheart, (2) Firefight, (3) Calamity

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Published: September 23, 2013 – February 16, 2016

Pages: 1219

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction

Goodreads Description of Steelheart: 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 will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Brandon Sanderson is the author of the favorite series of mine, Mistborn, and is one of my favorite authors in general. One of the things that makes his writing so engaging is the way he delivers his stories in a way that makes them so easy to visualize. In fact, reading The Reckoners was like watching a superhero movie.

The series follows a group of normal people called The Reckoners who have made it their mission to kill as many Epics as possible. Epics are people who developed superhuman powers when Calamity, a massive red orb of light, rose in the sky. Since Calamity, Epics have successfully ruined society and terrorized helpless people into becoming second class citizens. The ragtag group of Reckoners attempt the seemingly impossible through extensive planning, undercover missions, and powers of their own.

Like in other Sanderson works, the writing in this series is straightforward yet descriptive, written in a confident manner to control what the audience is thinking. I think this is the reason I continued to read the series even though I usually don’t like superhero-related things. Sanderson has a way of leading the reader on, piecing out information to make them think they know what’s going to happen, and then spurring a rattling surprise at the end of the book. Even though I’m familiar with Sanderson’s way of storytelling, the major twists in the series still caught me off guard. In retrospect, all the signs were there, but action-packed side plots in the story are used to divert the reader’s attention away from the big picture.

Although I enjoyed reading about the crew’s schemes and uncovering the mystery behind the Epics’ powers, there were a some aspects of the series that didn’t click with me.

The books are filled with silly humor, which at times was a miss for me. Sometimes the comic-relief took too much away from serious situations. It reduced the emotional impact of certain scenes that would have normally captured my attention and made me flat out disinterested in others.

It was also hard for me to connect to the characters. I normally get more attached to characters when they are a part of a crew. However, I found that as the series went on, I cared less and less about what happened to the characters and was more focused on knowing what the big Sanderson twist™  would be. It took me over a month to read the last book, Calamity, because I was so uninvolved with the characters. I wish I could offer an explanation as to why I was so indifferent to the characters, but I can’t pinpoint the reason (sorry