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[Calamity spoilers] Calamity reactions thread

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But logically, wouldn't facing weaknesses be based on Calamity's judgement and not your own?

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I am surprised because this was the first Sanderson book that did not have awesome ending for me.

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I am surprised because this was the first Sanderson book that did not have awesome ending for me.

 

Yeah. Yeah, it was. :mellow: 

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It really needed another 50 pages or so.  

Weirdly, it felt more like set up than conclusion.  Great book, not a great final book to the trilogy.  

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It's a comic book. And a cape one. Of COURSE the omnipotent superbeing will be "defeated" by the power of love and friendship and blargh. Of COURSE there are parallel universes where the dead are still alive and baddies are good. Of COURSE there's always one dude who's a homicidal psychopath in every reality. Of COURSE the longwinded crisis crossover saga will have a discordant bizarre ending. Of COURSE it'll serve as setup for further adventures of Reckonengers League.

 

Everything is of COURSE. This was %100 authentic comicbook experience. It's pitch perfect.

 

 

P.S. Sanderson should write a lot more stuff outside epic fantasy genre. He's got a lot of talent and does mix bits of other genres into his epic fantasies (heist in Mistborn, western in Alloy, horror in WoK and Shadows, spy thriller in WoR) but I'd like to see him do a full one.

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It's a comic book. And a cape one. Of COURSE the omnipotent superbeing will be "defeated" by the power of love and friendship and blargh. Of COURSE there are parallel universes where the dead are still alive and baddies are good. Of COURSE there's always one dude who's a homicidal psychopath in every reality. Of COURSE the longwinded crisis crossover saga will have a discordant bizarre ending. Of COURSE it'll serve as setup for further adventures of Reckonengers League.

 

This is very accurate. This whole book was really just a prose comic book. Not that that's a bad thing though, I love me some comics.

 

I liked the book. A lot. Even the ending. My biggest issues with the book are a lack of answers. From all my experience with Sanderson, when he closes a story, he closes them. Yes, he leaves us with some questions unanswered to set up for a sequel that he'll likely, maybe, write 12-20 years from now. But he's never teased us with something as big and juicy as everything about the alternate universes does, and that's not even mentioning the secrets about Calamity's people, the source of their powers, why it's their mission to bring destruction to those living in our universe(s), etc. To give us those gargantuan curiosities, but absolutely no answers, makes me feel like I'm missing something. Like an entire 50-100 pages of the book got ripped out somewhere around the start of Part Four. It's a very conflicting feeling, because I really enjoyed what I did read, but I've never finished a Sanderson novel and said to myself "is my copy missing something?" 

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I have to say, for the first time ever having finished a Brandon Sanderson book, I have been left underwhelmed. It was good in places, severely lacking in others. It almost felt like the Calamity element was tagged on at the end to give an element of closure, not to further the story.

Probably he's just set the bar too high and I'm being over critical. Maybe it'll click together better in a reread.

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Lots of thoughts, but my main one is disappointment. Brandon is well known for his twist endings that, once revealed, are incredibly fun to go back and look at with all of the foreshadowing pieces in place. There's always a little "tell" that something isn't what it appears. At least, normally.

 

Calamity's nature wasn't foreshadowed at all. Nothing to suggest that he's an angel, or a god in human form, or an old one, or whatever. This feels like an incredible letdown, and more like a setup for a series about superheroes than anything else. The initial premise for the Reckoners is well documented, but now that story is told. The next story is "what was Calamity?" but there aren't enough threads left open to really justify this question. I guess his race could be the next threat, but even then, why make it so blatant but not leave more teases? Maybe its just writing in YA with "there's always another secret" that feels so unfulfilling.

 

Honestly, this is the first Sanderson series I'm hesitant to return to (should the Reckoners return). Again, it might just be the nature of a series designed with a YA audience in mind, but this just doesn't feel complete, or even incomplete in a positive way.

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Well actually, I'm pretty sure the angel allusion was actually done when David saw him in Firefight. I think.

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Well actually, I'm pretty sure the angel allusion was actually done when David saw him in Firefight. I think.

 

That may be true, but an observation by a character without knowledge of the situation doesn't really amount to foreshadowing, at least in my opinion.

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Lots of thoughts, but my main one is disappointment. Brandon is well known for his twist endings that, once revealed, are incredibly fun to go back and look at with all of the foreshadowing pieces in place. There's always a little "tell" that something isn't what it appears. At least, normally.

 

Calamity's nature wasn't foreshadowed at all. Nothing to suggest that he's an angel, or a god in human form, or an old one, or whatever. This feels like an incredible letdown, and more like a setup for a series about superheroes than anything else. The initial premise for the Reckoners is well documented, but now that story is told. The next story is "what was Calamity?" but there aren't enough threads left open to really justify this question. I guess his race could be the next threat, but even then, why make it so blatant but not leave more teases? Maybe its just writing in YA with "there's always another secret" that feels so unfulfilling.

 

Honestly, this is the first Sanderson series I'm hesitant to return to (should the Reckoners return). Again, it might just be the nature of a series designed with a YA audience in mind, but this just doesn't feel complete, or even incomplete in a positive way.

Next one will be set in the multiverse, not necessarily with the Reckoners, so I imagine Calamitys race will play a bigger role still but there's certainly a lot left to be explored.

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What I'm seeing here is a lot of not comicbook fans.

 

Incomprehensible omnipotent aliens just happen, it's no more strange than not getting cancer from radiation. The continuation from this ending is obvious: The Stupendous Steelheart, The Fascinating Firefight, The Marvelous Mizzy and The Prestigious Prof-Guys serials where they build up and then fight their own rogues galleries with the rare overlap, plus the odd crisis crossover with alternate universe guest stars here and there. The alternate universe itself isn't even worth speculating on: it's just a regular cape universe, dime a dozen.

 

Reckoners books are amazingly great and carries a no less shocking twist than any other BS book you care to name: We were in the mirror universe where all those goateed evil twins come from and the proper cape universe was the next one over. And it also got fixed with power of love and now will become a proper hero vs villain universe like any other. It's far more meta and self aware than anything Sanderson's done before.

 

It's also not worth spending any more effort on. These universes are done, BS has restored the faulty comicbook universe to its natural order and successfully completed this story. Anything further is just regular ol' cape comics, doubt they'd look very satisfying from an author perspective.

...

I have built this hill and will have my last stand on it.

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What I'm seeing here is a lot of not comicbook fans.

 

Incomprehensible omnipotent aliens just happen, it's no more strange than not getting cancer from radiation. The continuation from this ending is obvious: The Stupendous Steelheart, The Fascinating Firefight, The Marvelous Mizzy and The Prestigious Prof-Guys serials where they build up and then fight their own rogues galleries with the rare overlap, plus the odd crisis crossover with alternate universe guest stars here and there. The alternate universe itself isn't even worth speculating on: it's just a regular cape universe, dime a dozen.

 

Reckoners books are amazingly great and carries a no less shocking twist than any other BS book you care to name: We were in the mirror universe where all those goateed evil twins come from and the proper cape universe was the next one over. And it also got fixed with power of love and now will become a proper hero vs villain universe like any other. It's far more meta and self aware than anything Sanderson's done before.

 

It's also not worth spending any more effort on. These universes are done, BS has restored the faulty comicbook universe to its natural order and successfully completed this story. Anything further is just regular ol' cape comics, doubt they'd look very satisfying from an author perspective.

...

I have built this hill and will have my last stand on it.

I agree!

Here's a goateed evil twin.

Edited by WayneSpren
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I feel—like most of you do, it seems—that the series should have been modified. 

I know trilogies are the holy number, and Sanderson already had to split WoT further, but I really feel that this book should have been titled "Limelight" and the ending is the exatly what it was, less the space-station scene. Add the Larcener reveal to the epilogue, and split the book.

Then we get a 4th book dealing with "Calamity" and have a MUCH more expanded (and less rushed) confrontation with the "true" identity of Larcener where David continues to struggle with his encroaching powers (and darkness through Calamities nightmare-seep), Obliteration is still on the loose, Prof and Megan are both in control of their powers (and do the "taking ownership" from Calamity reveal at 50%), David and Megan still tunnel into Invocation-alt 'verse to try and get info from Firefight (but are met with properly dramatic obstacles), and the Calamity confrontation takes up a good 50+ pages where David, Prof, Megan, and other "self-owned" Epics do battle on a much larger scale than "Ohh, I'm not from here and it's confusing and crappy." "Well screw you, it's your fault!" showdown.

Give me more in-depth look at Calamity's childhood and WHY he despises Earth.
Give me a bigger struggle with David and his powers (so the ultimate "I'M STEELHEART NOW!" reveal is bigger, much bigger!)
Kill another character off (I know I know, but it's just SUCH good dramatic events! Maybe David at the end? "My name's David Charleston, I kill Epics." BLAM! Sacrifice to save the greater good. [he'd have to struggle with powers/darkness though, if Prof and Megan have gotten over it])


I mean, I don't bash Brandon, dude's a genius. But this did feel TOTALLY rushed...

Edited by Zmann966
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I have to agree with the general consensus-this is the first BS book that disappointed me. 

 

One thing I loved about the series so far is the rich world that was created by the unique changes to each of the major cities, and that was tremendously lacking in this book. The basic premise of it moving and regrowing in itself at first seemed great, but as the book went on and we didn't really learn anything about what it does for the city culturally or what makes them a distinct people really made that seem like a copout. All in all it just felt rushed, like he wanted to wrap up the series and be done. Not that I begrudge Brandon that, as he's stated he's willing to push through on other books that aren't SA.

 

I'm confused as to why Prof wasn't cured in Steelheart. He faced his fears using his power to save David and Megan and again during the fight with Steelheart. That seems like a major plothole.

 

I feel vindicated in my assessment of Obliteration. He was technically a' sane epic', one of the first to confront his fear and weaknesses to fight the darkness. It's too bad he turned out to be a psychopath.

 

I really wish that the book had ended on David blowing up the bomb. It felt like a Disney movie from there on out. The Larcener twist was unexpected, but more because I feel it wasn't foreshadowed all that well. 

 

I'm glad that Bands of Mourning was so good and released so close to Calamity, or I would be very disappointed. I'm still happy with the series as a whole, but Calamity was definitely much weaker than its predecessors.

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I was actually quite pleased with this series as a whole, even with this ending. It wasn't disappointing in the slightest.

It was made very clear that there could be no show down between calamity and anyone / everyone. It has to be his decision. If BS had attempted to stretch that decision out any further, it would have been painfully boring.

Adding larcener into the plot whilst trying to sort out prof was genius. It felt subtly obvious that he was more than a normal Epic. Through his character, I was able to form a picture of his inner struggle before the big, albeit short, revealand gain an understanding of his choice to leave.

In his choice to leave, I feel that he did save someone, well, a lot of someones. Epics now have the choice to be good, bad, or something in the middle without an overpowering evil influence over them. Those who would have been killed eventually by those who chose instead to be good would likely be very pleased with calamitys choice to leave, if they knew the consequences of him staying.

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I have to agree with the general consensus-this is the first BS book that disappointed me. 

 

One thing I loved about the series so far is the rich world that was created by the unique changes to each of the major cities, and that was tremendously lacking in this book. The basic premise of it moving and regrowing in itself at first seemed great, but as the book went on and we didn't really learn anything about what it does for the city culturally or what makes them a distinct people really made that seem like a copout. All in all it just felt rushed, like he wanted to wrap up the series and be done. Not that I begrudge Brandon that, as he's stated he's willing to push through on other books that aren't SA.

 

I'm confused as to why Prof wasn't cured in Steelheart. He faced his fears using his power to save David and Megan and again during the fight with Steelheart. That seems like a major plothole.

 

I feel vindicated in my assessment of Obliteration. He was technically a' sane epic', one of the first to confront his fear and weaknesses to fight the darkness. It's too bad he turned out to be a psychopath.

 

I really wish that the book had ended on David blowing up the bomb. It felt like a Disney movie from there on out. The Larcener twist was unexpected, but more because I feel it wasn't foreshadowed all that well. 

 

I'm glad that Bands of Mourning was so good and released so close to Calamity, or I would be very disappointed. I'm still happy with the series as a whole, but Calamity was definitely much weaker than its predecessors.

So two things. First regarding Prof not losing his powers by saving David the two times. Both times he still held himself back. Both times he tried to run. Both times he didn't use his powers to their fullest, confronting the chance of failure. Every plan he comes up with, even Steelheart, was him not fully believing they could do it, and having a way to flee. 

 

Second, a lot of people are curious why Larcener's species comes to destroy people. Maybe i understood things differently, but Larcener kept saying "We are to observe and learn". The problem with him is he came to observe and was so overwhelmed with stimuli, his hatred bled into those he gifted powers. He let the traumatic experience of being born color his entire view of us and our world. My assumption in other realities, those versions of calamity, observed humans, learned what they thought they needed to learn and left. He felt we were all corrupted, but still felt he had to learn something, so was going to stick around till we were all destroyed, leaving nothing left to learn and he could leave. Though the twisted irony is he was so convinced we were irredeemable, he ignored any signs of being wrong which would have let him leave far earlier. 

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Second, a lot of people are curious why Larcener's species comes to destroy people. Maybe i understood things differently, but Larcener kept saying "We are to observe and learn". The problem with him is he came to observe and was so overwhelmed with stimuli, his hatred bled into those he gifted powers. He let the traumatic experience of being born color his entire view of us and our world. My assumption in other realities, those versions of calamity, observed humans, learned what they thought they needed to learn and left. He felt we were all corrupted, but still felt he had to learn something, so was going to stick around till we were all destroyed, leaving nothing left to learn and he could leave. Though the twisted irony is he was so convinced we were irredeemable, he ignored any signs of being wrong which would have let him leave far earlier. 

 

This is the best explanation of that that I've seen so far.

 

 

I know trilogies are the holy number, and Sanderson already had to split WoT further, but I really feel that this book should have been titled "Limelight" and the ending is the exatly what it was, less the space-station scene. Add the Larcener reveal to the epilogue, and split the book.

 

I would have liked that. And think about how cool that cover would look--imagine Calamity's cover, but with one of Prof's glowing green forcefield balls instead of the red explosion thing, and have it lighting up the faint outline of the salty city below it. 

Edited by mail-mi
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Did the Obliteration thing really bother anyone else? He was the character whose fate I was most anticipating. He struck me as the perfect example of a good man corrupted beyond his own capacity for coping, but as someone who was ultimately redeemable. I fully expected him to face his fear and start down the road to redemption, so to have him say at the end, "Oh, yeah, I did that five years ago and I just decided being insane was too much fun" was a huge disappointment to me. It felt....false. Maybe I was reading his character wrong; I don't know. I read him as a man whose twisted theology became something dark and deadly when corrupted by his own fears, who would have jumped at the chance to be rid of what he saw as his terrible burden. To have him turn out to be just another crazy fundamentalist felt, to me, like Sanderson took all that depth he had in Firefight and flushed it down the toilet.

I wasn't bothered at all. I have never really feel the sympathy for Obliteration that some of the Sharders do. In Firefight he seemed to me as someone driven by religious craziness, not fears, and it turns out that he really was. Also, that wasn't any surprise after David witnessed this scene in the alternate dimension where his dad was catching people jumping from the windows to escape Obliterations heat. They didn't have Calamity in that world anymore and Obliteration was still killing people.

I loved Obliteration. He was a minister, a God-fearing man, before Calamity rose. Once bestowed his powers, he became twisted out of that fear of his weakness. After confronting his weakness, he still saw the world as a horrible place, much like Calamity himself, one where people were awful. People hurt each other, people fight, people kill, and that's not even counting Epics. Epics make it even worse. Obliteration sees these beings, like himself, endowed with amazing gifts, but they are twisted monsters. He's doing the Earth a favor now by destroying them all.

 

I am surprised because this was the first Sanderson book that did not have awesome ending for me.

Same. I wasn't as disappointed as most people seem to be, but I feel like it wasn't quite an ending. Like there's one more book he'll spring on us. 

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There are two ways to kill an Epic.

One is to force him to encounter his Epic Weakness that is based on fear. This leaves him powerless, allowing you to kill him like you would an ordinary human... Except if he was never a normal human in the first place. When Calamity was faced with his fear, his powers left him. And with his powers gone, what form should he have taken? What is he without his powers? Certainly not a human. Certainly not anything from Earth's dimension. Even his being on Earth was a manifestation of the power of dimensional projection (like what Megan does), and so as he lost his powers he lost the ability to stay in that dimension. That's why he disappeared. He returned to that formless void from whence he came.

Hence the "lacking" ending. I'm guessing some people found it lacking because Calamity didn't die in a "proper" manner suitable for a villain, like how Steelheart died in an explosion triggered by himself and how Regalia died of a gunshot after her most terrible act was revealed.

If you were the author, how would you make Calamity's defeat more fulfilling? Well, in order for him to not simply fade away like he did, you'd have to destroy him without triggering his fear. An Epic can also be killed by overwhelming his defenses. This is not going to work on some Epics, though. For example, Megan would just resurrect when killed with her powers enabled.

Ooh! Maybe if someone hit him with a nuclear explosion! I bet the person who has the Prime Invincibilty powers of all the High Epics who ever existed will succumb to that!

Don't be silly.

One good thing about the Reckoners series is that it avoids the trap of using Deus Ex Machina to solve problems. Villains are defeated in ways that doesn't come out of the blue. This, I think, was why Brandon chose this ending. All the Epics in the world wouldn't be able to defeat Calamity by sheer force alone. They had to use his fear, meaning there was no choice for Brandon but to write that scene of Calamity fading away when he realized his fear was right in front of him.

Perhaps Brandon could have chosen a better fear than "humans not being inherently evil", but frankly I'm okay with it. What fear would you give Calamity if you were in Brandon's shoes?

Edited by skaa
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It's been a wild ride, and in the end I can't even sort out how I feel about the book.

 

Oh, the ending makes sense; calamity was too powerful to be defeated by epic powers. And I figured it would be something like that the moment it was revealed Larcener had been calamity all along. I would have liked more background informations, though.

 

And while I'd like to keep following the characters, an eventual fourth book would hardly be distinguishable from any other of the dozen superhero stories. It would probably be a let down, although I surmise sanderson could make it interesting enough.

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Still haven't seen any objection in this thread whose answer isn't comicbooks. This isn't fantasy. Being written by an epic fantasy author doesn't change the fundamentals of the genre. Those things mentioned as lacking aren't and won't ever be important. Sanderson already did his trademark huge last book plot twist right here (and in a more cunning than his usual way too) adding his personal touch to the genre. It was super effective. Further twisting would've made a not comicbook. Criticising a cape comicbook for being a cape comicbook is futile.

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Still haven't seen any objection in this thread whose answer isn't comicbooks. This isn't fantasy. Being written by an epic fantasy author doesn't change the fundamentals of the genre. Those things mentioned as lacking aren't and won't ever be important. Sanderson already did his trademark huge last book plot twist right here (and in a more cunning than his usual way too) adding his personal touch to the genre. It was super effective. Further twisting would've made a not comicbook. Criticising a cape comicbook for being a cape comicbook is futile.

I for one am not criticizing a cape comic book for being what it is, and I don't think anyone else in this thread is, either. I don't object to comic book tropes and elements being present in this series in the slightest. What I DO object to is a final installment of a series I loved that undoes one of my favorite elements of its predecessor, gives a secondary character an ending I felt was unearned, and fails to explain some of the mysteries introduced. That, in my opinion, is what Calamity did; and that is what I object to.

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skaa:  I honestly think it would have been better for Calamity to have realized his mistake, and confronted his own fears, and saved a life(or lives) before departing, as a thematically appropriate ending to the series, rather than just going, "oh crap! bye!" 

 

Clearly, there was no way to defeat Calamity in a fight, and no one is asking for that.  But having him face his fear, and change enough to be willing to save the humans he held in contempt would have been more satisfying, imo, than just poofing.  It also would have fit in much better with the theme of the book, and with how Megan and Prof and David were able to overcome Calamity's fear/hatred.

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skaa: I honestly think it would have been better for Calamity to have realized his mistake, and confronted his own fears, and saved a life(or lives) before departing, as a thematically appropriate ending to the series, rather than just going, "oh crap! bye!"

Clearly, there was no way to defeat Calamity in a fight, and no one is asking for that. But having him face his fear, and change enough to be willing to save the humans he held in contempt would have been more satisfying, imo, than just poofing. It also would have fit in much better with the theme of the book, and with how Megan and Prof and David were able to overcome Calamity's fear/hatred.

I think you kind of missed the point. Facing one's fear does not allow an Epic to use his powers, it only drives away the darkness and the compulsion for evil. Remember that fire still renders Megan powerless even after she's no longer flees from it. The same should apply to the Epic of Epics.

So, what would a powerless Calamity be capable of doing to save people from up there in low Earth orbit? Nothing. In fact, because his presence on that particular version of Earth most likely depends on his powers (because he doesn't belong in that reality), losing those powers should send him back to his home dimension. And that's what happened.

Edited by skaa
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