Let me start this review with my emotional/engagement thoughts. I’ve had mixed feelings about this series. When I initially read Steelheart, I adored it. However, it faded from my memory quickly – likely because it was a real page-turner and I read it super fast. By the time I opened Firefight, I wasn’t nearly as excited for the sequel. Then, it turned out, I didn’t really like the sequel. The setting and world-building was awesome, and I enjoyed the plot, but I found the narrator (David) downright irritating in ways that I hadn’t noticed at all throughout Steelheart. I was therefore not exactly excited going into Calamity, fearing that it would have the same annoyances, even though I really wanted to see how the story ended. (Especially after listening to Sanderson’s story about where the premise for the series comes from.)
Turns out, the book was really good. I still found David annoying in places, especially in the beginning, but once again I was caught up in the world, setting, plot, and other characters. Not once in this entire series have I guessed a twist correctly, and Calamity was full of twists. Honestly, I didn’t even bother to try to figure them out this time. I just went along for the ride. Likely, I read this one too fast, like Steelheart, and so it will also fade from memory, but I really enjoyed the reading. Plus, there was the added bonus of some deeper-thoughts:
Outside of my person emotion/engagement reflections, I noticed a thematic element going through Calamity that echoes throughout other Sanderson books I’ve been reading lately. (I suppose that’s inevitable, when you read a bunch of an author’s works all in a row…) Without giving away spoilers, I started making connections between the mindset of a character in this book and a character from Words of Radiance. They aren’t the same person – no world-hopping here – but both say a few very similar things regarding the juxtaposition of intelligence and compassion. Paraphrasing it concisely here, there’s the implication that extreme intelligence or mental prowess can cause a person to lose touch with their humanity and compassion. This is a theme often explored in classic literature (in addition to wealth, power, or status causing a person to detach from their humanity/compassion), and seeing it echoed in multiple Sanderson books makes me want to discuss-discuss-discuss!
End thoughts: While the series might not be something I will love forever, I enjoyed the way it concluded, and I’m still mindboggled at the imagination and detail that went into the Reckoners’ world. I’ve read that there may be a future series set in the same world, with different characters, and yes, I do believe I look forward to reading that one, too.