Calamity (Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson // Bullet Point Thoughts

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Calamity (Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson, Published by Random House, Purchased for my own Collection.

There are three major things you need to know: I love the Reckoners series with all my heart, Firefight was one of my top two favorite books last year, and I don’t know if I’ve ever anticipated a book as much as I anticipated Calamity.

calamitylightssmallCalamity was released on Tuesday, I picked up my copy on Tuesday, and it took me the rest of the week to read it as I went back and forth between “I want to finish this now!” and “Nooo I don’t want it to end!” I finished it Friday night and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. This series may be over, but I doubt this obsession will end anytime soon.

As this was a pretty momentous read I find that I really can’t relay my thoughts in any sort of coherent review manner. For this I’ve decided to just write out my thoughts in a (long) list of bullet points.

There is also  really no way to talk about Calamity at all without spoiling either the book in question or the previous two books in the series. In the way of Brandon Sanderson, even the first page of book three would spoil book two almost entirely… and so, everything is going under the cut because spoilers everywhere.

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The Bands of Mourning // Review + Discussion

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The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson, Published by Tor, Purchased for my own Collection.

I’ve heard a lot of people saying that Bands of Mourning has been their favorite Mistborn Era II book so far. I’m not sure if it was that for me, but it was certainly the most entertaining and definitely the most game changing. I felt like the main group of characters really hit their stride in this book, and there were so many HILARIOUS moments. I was cracking up while reading this quite a few times, up to and past the points where I was in total shock due to astonishing developments and / or pure amazingness.

bandsofmourningsmallThe plot was a tiny bit confusing to me in this one. It wasn’t that I totally couldn’t follow it or anything, but there were times where I was thinking, “This is great and all but where’s the plot?” and times where the information was moving so fast that I could barely keep up. There were also tiny details I would miss, be briefly confused by, and then move on with. Never the less, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing and the story that all the parts coalesced to create was pretty mind blowing.

“There’s always another perspective, if you look hard enough” 245

That is pretty much all I can say without melting into a ridiculous mess of ALL CAPS and spoilers. Seriously, so many spoilers. If you’ve read all the Mistborn books to date, fell free to keep scrolling so we can scream together about all these new developments. If you haven’t, well… You should really get on that.

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Super Spoiler Discussion Section Ahead! (You’ve Been Warned)

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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson // Re-Review

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Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson, Published by Random House, Purchased for my own Collection.

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.

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.

I have loved every Brandon Sanderson book I have read. The world building is constantly fantastic, I always seem to fall head over heels in love with the characters, and I am often surprised and delighted with how the plot of each story twists and connects. But, while I love all of his books, there is something about Steelheart especially that manages to stick in my head and my heart.

“I’ve seen Steelheart bleed.” (first line)

steelheartsignedI recently re-read Steelheart in the “Reckoners(Re)Readalong” that I am hosting in preparation for the release of the third and final book in this series, and even in a re-read this book manages to hook me from the very beginning. The very first line is such a great opening for the story, and the prologue gives me chills. It is raw, and brutal, and rich, and perfectly introduces the world in which the Reckoners series takes place.

The first person narrative in Steelheart is so well done. David, the character we follow through this adventure, is a very interesting (and sometimes ridiculous) kid. He speaks in very bad metaphors that are also very ridiculous, he has a large enthusiasm for weaponry, and he is obsessed with studying the Epics that killed his father and took over his world. David is strange, and nerdy, (though he denies it) and sometimes a total idiot, but he is just such a likeable character. There is no way not to feel for him, even when he is embarrassing himself.

“Don’t just act because you can; act because it’s the right thing to do.” 185

The rest of the characters are likewise great. Every single one of them is very different, with varied (usually very tragic) backstories and motivations, and their team dynamic is fantastic. They bicker, and they help each other, and they work for what they believe in, and they are what make the dark dystopian world this book is set in feel alive.

As for the plot of Steelheart, well… I think it’s amazing. It never quite moves in the way you think it will. There are perfectly timed changes and turns, and all the plot twists make sense. Nothing feels like it is only there for shock value. The whole story feels like it is creating a giant picture, and keeps you hanging on each page in hope of finding that final puzzle piece.

Steelheart also has some awesome action sequences. They are tense and surprising and just great.

The only criticism I have for Steelheart is that the romance that is trying to be grown in this first book isn’t really there. In the beginning it feels downright uncomfortable (I loved this pairing in book two and I was still cringing a lot at the beginning of my re-read) and isn’t remotely ship-able until the book is almost over. It was a little rushed and just started off a lot not right.

That said, I love Steelheart and I really encourage you to read it! I know it’s not for everyone, but it really is a great piece of work. I’m obsessed with the reckoners, so maybe you will be too.

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Shadows of Self // Review and Discussion

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Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by Brandon Sanderson, Published by Tor, Borrowed from the Library.

Mistborn’s bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self dug deeper into everything Alloy of Law introduced, painting a bigger picture and making me love all of the characters even more.

“If what you say is true, then all lawmen are predators.” 151

Shadows of Self was just, wow. There was so much more of everything, and there were lots of parts that just had me saying “whhaaaat??” There were also a lot of parts that had me cracking up, and a few that had me shocked and numb and sad… (second books in Brandon Sanderson trilogies, am I right? *ahem*) There were so many great things about this book, and if you liked the Mistborn trilogy you definitely need to read this second era. Actually, even if you haven’t read the first Mistborn trilogy, you should read Alloy of Law and then pick up this second book. Really. Do it. It’s so great and cool and intense and fun.

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“You think everyone is hiding something.” 233

One of the best things in this book was character development and backstory. Character backstory is one of my favorite things and Shadows of Self was filled with so much beautiful, sorrowful backstory. Of course, Wax and Wayne and Marasi were already well formed and nuanced characters in the first book, but Shadows of Self really showed what made them tick. There were so many character defining moments that I loved. Character development is just <333

I especially loved all the extra scenes with Wayne. He has all the best jokes and one liners, and he is just so wonderfully odd. There is definitely some pain there but he is such a hilarious guy. He may be my favorite character, actually.

Already I fear I have made things too easy for men.” 134

Beyond just development of characters, the book went much further into the culture and the customs of this second Mistborn era, and how and why those customs came to be. One of my favorite parts of the first Wax and Wayne book was reading how the world had grown and changed since the Hero of Ages, and there was so much more of that in this second book. There were also FAR MORE cameos of characters from the original trilogy and I was SO happy about that.

The plot in this book had a much wider scope. It had many more ramifications for the whole world. Many more questions are raised and many elements barely brushed upon in the first book are brought to light. As the second in a trilogy Shadows of Self had a very intense build, which makes me both very excited and very very scared for the third book.

“All part of Harmony’s plan. All actors on a stage. That’s what you are too, Waxillium Ladrian. It’s what all men are.” 170

Along with the overall plot having a wider scope, Shadows of Self had Wax and co. fighting a much different enemy. One that forces him to figure out very different strategies and methods. That was a very great twist on the story, and helped make this book not feel like a repeat of the first one at all.

“How did you fight mythology with a microscope?” 254

Unfortunately, what this book gained in depth and worldbuilding, it lost in action. Shadows of Self was certainly tense, but it didn’t have the fast paced fight scenes and chases of the first book. Then again, I read this book in one day, so it must have done something right in the pacing and adictability column.

There are so many reasons to read this book. Great worldbuilding, lovely characters, tense mystery… Basically, just read it. You can thank me later.

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Now I’m going to discuss this book in full spoiler mode! If you haven’t read this book, scroll no further!

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