Series Review: The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson
At last, the age old question is answered: “What if we had superpowers?” As it turns out, it doesn’t go well. In Brandon Sanderson’s post-apocalyptic series, The Reckoners, a flash of light appears in the sky, giving random people across the world superpowers of all sorts, nicknamed Epics. With the arrival of newfound power, governments fall and chaos ensues. The elite class of Epics subjugate and rule over the ordinary people. Powerful and invincible, the strongest Epics lay waste to their enemies and stake their kingdoms across the Fractured States. Only the Reckoners, a band of ordinary people, dare to fight back. Through precision and planning, they assassinate the corrupt Epics one by one.
The series starts with the book Steelheart. Steelheart is the name of a particularly brutal and invincible Epic who rules his city Newcago with an iron fist. When he kills David’s father, Steelheart sparks an obsession. For his entire life, our protagonist David studies the Epics’ superpowers, bent on revenge. When the Reckoners arrive at his city, he sees his chance for vengeance and joins the insurgents. The rest of the series follows David as the Reckoners battle against Epics. Men against gods.
The appeal of the first book, Steelheart, is its creativity. Every time a new Epic is introduced, you can count on a new and unexpected ability. The “superpowers” include flight, control over materials, force fields, and anything else you can possibly think of. Right from the beginning, the novel is fast-paced, exciting, and engaging—all hallmarks of a great thriller. I enjoyed learning how the Reckoners used clever traps and wit to outsmart their powerful foes.
The second book, Firefight, delves into a deeper philosophical debate. After meeting both good and evil Epics, our main characters become conflicted on the nature of evil. Does power naturally result in a cold-blooded ruthlessness? Or is that simply a side-effect of their abilities? If the chosen few cannot control their own actions, the Reckoner’s mission may be an act of mercy. Much of the story involves David struggling to find a sense of purpose in the wake of these revelations. The series definitely becomes more thought-provoking in addition to its normal action scenes.
Overall, The Reckoners is a wonderful series that combines both action and thought. The story really broaches the topic of human nature. Does the same corruption exist in our modern world? It definitely make us think twice about wanting superpowers. The final book, Calamity, comes out in February 2016. Look for it!