Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Sanderson’

Calamity

May 9, 2016 - 3:55 pm No Comments

Title: Calamity

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 432
Released: February 18th 2016
Reviewer: Andy Angel

Calamity is the third and final book in Brandon Sanderson’s ‘Reckoners’ series. The series is aimed at a younger market I guess but please don’t let that put you off.

The main gist of the story so far is that after an ‘event’ certain individuals develop super powers but the difference with other Superhero stories is that these individuals (known as Epics) use their powers to subjugate and rule the people of what is an America but an America ‘moved on’. Up against these Epics are small bands known as Reckoners whose main aim is to bring them down.

When the first book started, our hero David had lost his father to an Epic (Steelheart) and was studying ways to defeat what was, at that point, the undefeatable. Long story short he was taken in by a group of Reckoners, won the day, lost the girl……..the story moves on.

By the time we reach ‘Calamity’, the leader of David’s group of Reckoners (known as Prof) has been revealed as one of the most powerful of all the Epics and it is up to David and his friends (but mainly David) to either defeat him or bring him back to being the Prof he was before.

And then there is Calamity to face………………….

As much as I enjoyed the characters and the pace of the book, where Sanderson excelled for me was in the world building. The cities in the new version of USA are kind of recognisable but different enough to be interesting and keep the reader wondering what he is going to show you next. This is an anti-superhero tale with plenty of action and battle scenes but (as always with Sanderson) plenty of room for character development and a liberal dose of humour.

As always with Sanderson this was a treat. As I said before this is aimed more at the teen/young adult market but reading as an adult of nearly 50 I didn’t feel like it ‘wasn’t for me’. The only down side to it all for me is that this is the end. The tale is told and I don’t think it is one he will come back to (although I will be more than happy to be proved wrong).

If you read and enjoy this, may I recommend Sanderson’s ‘Alcatraz’ series, aimed at the same audience and a really fun read

The Bands of Mourning

April 4, 2016 - 4:27 pm No Comments

Title: The Bands of Mourning
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 447 pages
Release Date: 28 January 2016
Reviewer: Andy Angel

Brandon Sanderson cannot be human, or not completely so. He churns out books at such a pace that he must be, at least partially, a machine. Okay, this is said wholly in jest but really his output is astonishing and it is all of a consistently high standard that it wouldn’t surprise me to find he has cloned himself.*

For review today is The Bands of Mourning. This is the sixth book in the authors’ Mistborn series and the third to feature his Wax and Wayne characters. The first three Mistborn books were set in a fairly standard fantasy world, with the next three (and I believe there will be a fourth) the setting is the same world but ‘moved on’. The trope here is more Steampunk meets Wild West – and although I am not a big fan of westerns this actually works well for me.

The magic system throughout the series is one based on metals and their properties with new ones being introduced when needed to move the story on. The metal/magic here is the titular Bands of Mourning, a ‘metalmind’ that may or may not even be real but is alleged to have belonged to The Lord Ruler (way back in the original series). When a researcher returns to the city of Elendil with possible (indecipherable) clues to their whereabouts it is Wax and co who set off for the city of New Seran to investigate.

With the cast moving out of the city more of the world is revealed (and there are maps to accompany this which made me happy as I do like a good map). The character development was more for the ‘second string’ characters (especially Steris who I grew to like more).

As with a lot of Sanderson’s own work (of which I’m not including his books to finish off Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series) the interaction between characters is what drives the narrative and although this was not too ‘infodumpy’ I did feel at times the story did get bogged down a little. It could maybe have done with being trimmed a little but once things picked up again the race to the end was quite satisfying.

This is certainly not a book to be read on its’ own as although you don’t need an in depth knowledge of the previous books and the world/ magic system without at least a basic clue you will be lost.

Also, interspersed throughout the books in the Wax and Wayne series are illustrations featuring Newspaper sheets that really open up the reader to the world of Scadrial (in which the books are set, obviously) and make for a fun added diversion from the story.

I wouldn’t say that The Bands of Mourning was my favourite Sanderson novel to date but it’s certainly good enough to be ‘up there’. I’ll be interested to see what he does with the characters if there is a fourth book and how he will develop the magic system (and the world) for the third phase – which I believe is to be a sci-fi setting.

So, in short, an entertaining, if at times slightly overlong, addition to the Mistborn series which I will give a worthy 4/5 stars

*Through reading Mr Sanderson’s website I do actually know how he keeps turning out the books at such a pace and can confirm that no cloning of the author took place at any time 😉