The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson

I cannot rave enough about Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series. It has become a new personal favorite and is easily the best thing I’ve recently read. As brilliant as Sanderson’s writing is, the audiobook narrated by MacLeod Andrews takes it to the next level, so much so that I have hunted down all of his other narrations. (Seriously, if you’ve never listened to an audiobook before, start with this one.)

When a comet named Calamity defies science and becomes a permanent fixture in the sky, people start developing super powers. Many believe the age of the superhero has come, but these Epics aren’t super like the Avengers–their powers corrupt them, and the world breaks apart into factions ruled by powerful and violent despots.

David Charleston witnesses the world fall apart when an Epic called Steelheart kills his dad and a bank full of people. By chance, David is the only one who survived the attack, and he ran away before Steelheart could discover him. Now his only goal is to take down Steelheart, and to do so, he obsessively researches Epics and their weaknesses while looking for the Reckoners, the small resistance force bent on taking out Epics.

The pace is breakneck and will keep you reading well into the night (or listening in the car an hours after you get home). The world is so well developed that it was satisfying to read as Sanderson answered my “what if…” questions that came up as I learned more about the nature of the Epics and their powers.

The cast of quirky characters and witty dialogue keeps the story rolling and provides depth to the action-packed series. One of my favorite things was David’s love for metaphors and how absolutely horrible he is at making them. Here are just a couple of gems:

“They looked so dangerous, like alligators. Really fast alligators wearing black. Ninja alligators.”

“He was right. I was letting myself get distracted, like a rabbit doing math problems instead of looking for foxes.”

David’s revenge that defines most of the first book morphs and changes throughout the series as he grows up and deals with the consequences of his actions. Sanderson doesn’t pull his punches, either–this is a world ruled by the corrupt, and the story centers around a group of people determined to take down the Epics, and they do that by killing them. That doesn’t mean our heroes enjoy it or don’t have moral dilemmas about it, and this is thoughtfully addressed in the series.

Firefight was my favorite of the three novels, as it reveals more about the nature of Epics’ powers, and David asks himself some tough questions about his actions. The series as a whole and each book individually is fantastic. I absolutely cannot recommend the Reckoners enough. Brandon Sanderson has won my trust, and I can’t wait to read more of his works (though I really hope he writes more in the Reckoners world). Suitable for middle school and up, I have the feeling that the Reckoners is going to be the next Percy Jackson in popularity.

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