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[Calamity spoilers] Calamity reactions thread

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Finally had time to read Calamity this weekend. It pains me to say this but... I didn't really like it. Sure there were parts I liked and I wouldn't say I hated it more like "meh".

I felt like the Prof resolution should have taken place much sooner and there should have been a lot more build up before Calamity. Ending felt super rushed and to put it frankly completely unsatisfying. I mean it left me with more questions than answers and really felt like a set up for more books than a conclusion to a trilogy.

The other thing I didn't like is the alternative universe deal. It was cool in Fireflight and I think it's an awesome epic power for Megan but felt it was too much of a can of worms in Calamity. As soon as others started traveling to alternative universes it seemed a little too much. Too easy to suddenly bring back David's father who's superman in another universe. I don't know.. This sounds weird to say about a book like this but it just felt too far fetched if that makes any sense at all.

Still I loved Steelheart and Fireflight. This conclusion just didn't do it for me.

Edited by StormingTexan
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Ildithia, on the other hand, didn't feel like a city reflecting any sort of leadership. I realize that was probably the point—it's a moving city ruled by not one Epic, but several, so it's not going to be a reflection of any one leader. But even with that caveat, it felt lacking. No one is able to get a feeling of home, since their homes are destroyed so often; they group into gangs for survival….but why? Do they form "families" more as a survival mechanism against the Epics, or against each other? There was evidence for both, and neither felt fully explored. Prof changes the dynamic of power and it's unstable when David arrives, but there wasn't a clear sense of what the old dynamic was like.

It's a tribal society. In a tribal society, your first loyalty is to the tribe. The other tribe members might treat you lousy. But they will back you up and protect you from members of other tribes. The peace is maintained because harrassing members of other tribes will start a very bloody war. Any tribe that can't protect its members will fall apart quickly. Other tribes will pick up on the weakness, and find ways to attack the tribe for resources. And members of the tribe will desert, since the tribe isn't able to protect them.

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I really loved this book until the end. It felt like such an abrupt end and a lukewarm feeling of unfinished-ness. 

but.....I don't want it to be over!

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A couple of thoughts after reading through all your great reactions:

 

1. I loved the ending.  I never think that endings are long enough personally.  Not even Lord of the Rings ;-)  I would always gladly read more.  I  really liked the book, but it the other two in the series were better.

 

2. I kind of thought that Invocation might have been a different being of the same race that didn't suck at his job like Calamity.  He started the powers and then left like he was supposed to.  He didn't get an F.

 

3. As far as how the powers work here is my theory:

 

Calamity has the ability to create custom viruses in his body.  These viruses are delivery mechanisms for his genetic changes, and they are keyed to specific DNA sets.  This would explain how children could inherit, but also twins would get the powers by infecting each other.  Maybe he delivers the viruses by touching people, and that could add or remove a particular power set from the target.  Also this might explain how some people like David and Mizzy fight the powers, but when they are particularly under stress they snap.  Their body gives in to the infection. 

 

How is that for geeky.

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I loved the Larcener as Calamity reveal because I have a love/hate relationship with permanent power theft/copying. It's such a cool power because it lets you have, as well as an assortment of powerful abilities, little "useless" abilities that are good in a day to day situations but you probably wouldn't want as your solitary power. I guess it's the difference between being a wizard and a superhero... having an assortment of random abilities which share the screen time, versus having a few core abilities you use in different ways. I loved the way Larcener used his powers, conjuring his comforts, making decoys and generally getting around like a really lazy wizard. Permanent power theft/copying is cool.

 

However it's also a terrible power because it becomes an "automatic pick" which distorts any interaction with the universe... my first impulse with the "create your own epic" thread was to make someone with power theft/copying. Because why not? I love Telekinesis, but why pick Telekinesis (or whatever power is your favourite) when you can pick a power that can let you have the power you actually want... and all the others! It also ruins the fictive universe, because in a universe of people with power theft/copying, the thieves/copycats not only start to quickly outclass everyone else, but also lose all the individuality of their powers and become homogeneous. So permanent power theft/copying sucks!

 

So when we first hear of/meet Larcener my reaction was "Dingo!" And then I started hoping he was really a non-epic who'd developed the motivator technology to masterful levels and whose array of powers were all derived from dead epics (which would have been a really cool story line by the way). But as irritating as his powers were (because of their universe breaking implications), I really enjoyed him as a character.

 

And then when he's revealed as Calamity, his differences from the other Assumers (who are implied to all be non-permanent power thieves, and therefore non-broken) are all explained, and the universe became non-broken again. Hooray! In hindsight, in fact, the severely broken nature of Larcener's powers strikes me as a hint intended to point to his true identity, much like the strange ways he is restricted also hint at what's ahead.

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Also the bizarre scenario of why someone who logically has prime invincibilities stacked on top of each other to absurd levels would even worry about being hunted down.

We should've seen it coming.

Edited by natc
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Also the bizarre scenario of why someone who logically has prime invincibilities stacked on top of each other to absurd levels would even worry about being hunted down.

We should've seen it coming.

Indeed! That also! A super-immortal fleeing doesn't make any sense at all given what the heroes knew (though they were pretty distracted by Limelight at the time). Limelight's plan makes sense since he doesn't actually have to kill Larcener, he just has to get his cells to make the Motivator, but I'm surprised no one questioned him. Maybe they assumed he knew Larcener's weakness?

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Apparently, it's 'painful'. At least Dead Drop's powers are, anyway.

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The decoy thing? Yeah I think it was.

Of course he was one from the beginning so he clearly cares much less about it than he claims but still.

He also claims to be immortal four times over or something, so he's probably pretended to absorb several High Epics by now. You'd need to get around multiple invincibilities to even come close to killing him, if he was a "mere" assumer.

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Honestly I was expecting them to use one for Tia, I mean they have a resurrection Epic on hand, but as you say guess it doesn't work.

Well, I guess the reason they do not use it is because you have to be alive first and have it before you die. It won't work on an already dead person. Remember, Megan can only resurrect herself and not others, also, if she died in a fire, it negates her resurrection power, which means it's tied to her (previously living) body.

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Without rehashing, I'm just going to put in my vote with Pathfinder's explanation of things.

 

Here are a few independent but not necessarily connected thoughts of my own:

1) I really liked that one of the messages you could take away was what David says, that humans are inherently good.  But on top of that, Megan adds later that it doesn't mean they don't have free will, and thus, are still able to make bad choices. It's one of the reasons why I liked the small twist with Obliteration at the end.  He wasn't battling the darkness and hadn't been for some time, but obviously he was still human and perfectly capable of making terrible and misguided choices.  There's a reason why the saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" came to be.

2) I'm really surprised no one has mentioned Q from Star Trek, or the Ancients from Stargate.  

3) Larcener's behavior down on the planet (whether it was his actual body or a projection or whatever he called it), seems totally in line with what he tells David about stimuli being overwhelming/grating.  In fact, he even mentions it when he's chilling with the Reckoners, and it's why he takes over a room of his own and seeks peace and quiet in each of their hideouts, complete with sound-cancelling headphones.  He's also way more emphatic about those disgusting, inferior humans than any Epic whose given into the darkness.  When he makes those comments, it's with more disgust than anger.  He can't stand to be around them, but it comes off as laziness.  To my mind, anyway, it's like he knows he's superior in and of himself, where the Epics let the power that was given to them get to their heads and don't shun humans out of hand.

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Also the bizarre scenario of why someone who logically has prime invincibilities stacked on top of each other to absurd levels would even worry about being hunted down.

We should've seen it coming.

 

Wiper's eagerness to hunt him down implies that she was confident (or certain) that her power could negate his Prime Invincibilities.

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I too, felt a little disappointed, for many of the reasons covered, but also for some things about Prof and Tia as well that I've been struggling to put my finger on. 

 

I know these are superhero books, and YA books at that, not genres I usually read within.  But...I just wanted a little more depth, more emotional impact, to Prof's arc.  I LOVE Prof as a character, the whole concept of a fifth grade science teacher-turned-Epic-turned-Epic hunter, a gruff and brilliant leader, a man who can't help but lead and who secretly fears failure...the whole fighting the monster within thing, it's just great.  I wanted the third book to be more focused on him.  It was all about bringing him down, after all, so I just wanted that drama part to be a little bit deeper. Throughout the whole series I just find Prof so interesting and I was hoping for more Prof backstory! We got a little, but not a whole lot, really.  

 

For that same reason, I felt there was something off about Tia's death.  Obviously I'm super mad and sad that she died, that Prof caused it, that he has to live with that forever after he came back to himself, the dramatic irony of all that...but if she had to die, I wanted MORE out of it somehow, more emotional impact, more insight into Prof's soul on the subject, something.   We don't have much at all to go on throughout the series about Prof and Tia's relationship, just tiny hints, like Tia's mysterious "that looks like..." line when she saw Tavi. Part of that I know is because it's from David's POV and there's just not as much screen time available in a YA novel ...but I really want to learn more about that relationship, and I also felt that her death was kind of...awkwardly, rawly stuck in there, and it doesn't feel like Prof's arc about it is complete.  He goes and stares at the sky and is sad.  Well, we know alt dimension Tia is still alive and it seems like maybe alt dimension Prof is not or else is not corrupted by his powers, and Tavi is there too..neither are a replacement for the real person who is gone, but the possibilities are just kind of left on the table and not touched on, so it feels weirdly cut off to me. 

 

I also wanted more internal and interpersonal conflict with David about his hidden Epicness, rather than him thinking about the mechanics of fears sometimes, and then just choosing to use his power later.   

 

Clearly I just like internal and interpersonal conflict, and that doesn't happen as much in superhero genre.  But I do just love these characters.  Prof, Tia, David, Megan, Abraham, Mizzy.  Cody's ok too.  They certainly don't have the page space to be as developed as in other works, except for David himself, but I do like them quite a lot.  

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I was really hoping for a POV break on the Space Station. Just a paragraph or two from Megan or Prof on what they saw in the sky as Calamity's red light went out, then saw the start (and aborted stopping) of a nuclear detonation where Calamity should be.

 

That said, I think I am mostly satisfied. I think the biggest hanging question in my mind was why/how David dreamed Larcener's nightmares. I expected it to be part of his "thematically appropriate" powers (which I originally thought would be appropriate because of the Epics he has killed... a way to discern the fears of others, or possibly cause/transfer them.Basically an Epic that's a predator of Epics), but that idea was crushed when he became Steel Slayer (with abilities similar to Steelheart).

 

I read Calamity ending as if he was either 8 yrs old (or one of my Co-workers), as if saying something over and over would make him right. Then, I interpreted the very abbreviated Goodbye as him being recalled by his people/bosses (poss. against his will) once he subconsciously accepted his mistake.

 

I also thought Brandon left the ending as open as it is so that it was defined by reader interpretation. If you go back and (re-)read some of the classics (e.g. Fahrenheit 451, Robots of Dawn, etc) they rarely have cut-and-dry endings and allow the reader to consider multiple paths for the characters to continue with. This felt similar, many implications with few definite paths forward.

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I actually finished Calamity over a week ago, I just forgot to post on here.

I loved it. It worked well. I didn't find it confusing, and I thought the ending felt right and consistent within the context of the trilogy.

Since I knew about the announcement of Apocalpse Guard before I read Calamity, I might be more willing to forgive loose ends then some of you. I'm also honestly just chill with not tying every single thread in together. I like it when I can supply the ends to those threads, or when there's only implications instead of concrete.

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I, like so many other people, felt a bit disappointed at the speed of the ending.

 

That was until I compared notes with my brother and we dug into what really made the ending happen.  We spent quite a bit of time discussing the slow way David managed to take down Calamity's defenses until he reached the ultimate ending, forcing Calamity to face his fear head-on, neutralizing him perfectly.

 

We discussed how David refused to access the power until he had faced Calamity and removed the taint.

 

After about half an hour of interested theorizing and putting the pieces together, I realized that despite its speed, I really like how much was packed into it, and how much we learned from so little.  So put me in the "It took a bit, but I realized I actually liked it" camp.

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I thought the ending was rushed a bit, but really, who would have liked an action-packed, superhero, adventure story that had 100 pages of wrap-up at the end?  No one.  (I guess I didn't dislike it as much as most of the people here.  Ha ha.)

 

I do have about a zillion questions.  And there were things that I thought were going to be wrapped up a bit differently.  

 

Tia was the main one.  She sees Tavi and says, "That girl looks familiar.  Is that…"  My immediate reaction is that she knows exactly who this girl is.  Tavi obviously is familiar with what her father looks like.  But Megan specifically said she couldn't find *any* reality in which Prof was not corrupted.  So what the heck happened to Tavi's father?  People aren't going crazy in Tavi's dimension.  Did he die?  Honestly, my first thought was that Tia was able to somehow access the other dimension, and that's how she knew about this.  Coupled with the fact that we don't actually see her body after she dies (and no one is dead until you see the body in superhero stories, and maybe not even then) I had expected her to still be alive.  Or maybe I'm just in denial.

 

I think what I was really missing in this ending was screen time with non-crazy Prof.  The other characters (and myself) obviously missed him and wanted him back.  They struggle for the whole book, and then he's there for about two sentences after regaining his sanity.  It just wasn't enough.  

 

Questions I would have liked to have seen wrapped up, but it probably would have drawn the ending out too much to include: 

-What happens with the famine Prof caused?  Does that get fixed somehow?

-What was Abraham's past that he didn't want to talk about?

-What in the world was Calamity, exactly?  Why was he there to watch and learn?

-So, do they stop Obliteration?  (I honestly loved that he had already beat the darkness and was just an awful person.  He never really did seem out of control when they were talking to him before.)  This is probably not an interesting enough story to be told, to be honest.  Just your standard good guy beats bad guy stuff.  I did want to see him taken down after all he did in book two.

-Why is Mizzy suddenly an epic, and what are her powers?

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I thought the ending was rushed a bit, but really, who would have liked an action-packed, superhero, adventure story that had 100 pages of wrap-up at the end?  No one.  (I guess I didn't dislike it as much as most of the people here.  Ha ha.)

 

I do have about a zillion questions.  And there were things that I thought were going to be wrapped up a bit differently.  

 

Tia was the main one.  She sees Tavi and says, "That girl looks familiar.  Is that…"  My immediate reaction is that she knows exactly who this girl is.  Tavi obviously is familiar with what her father looks like.  But Megan specifically said she couldn't find *any* reality in which Prof was not corrupted.  So what the heck happened to Tavi's father?  People aren't going crazy in Tavi's dimension.  Did he die?  Honestly, my first thought was that Tia was able to somehow access the other dimension, and that's how she knew about this.  Coupled with the fact that we don't actually see her body after she dies (and no one is dead until you see the body in superhero stories, and maybe not even then) I had expected her to still be alive.  Or maybe I'm just in denial.

 

I think what I was really missing in this ending was screen time with non-crazy Prof.  The other characters (and myself) obviously missed him and wanted him back.  They struggle for the whole book, and then he's there for about two sentences after regaining his sanity.  It just wasn't enough.  

 

Questions I would have liked to have seen wrapped up, but it probably would have drawn the ending out too much to include: 

-What happens with the famine Prof caused?  Does that get fixed somehow?

-What was Abraham's past that he didn't want to talk about?

-What in the world was Calamity, exactly?  Why was he there to watch and learn?

-So, do they stop Obliteration?  (I honestly loved that he had already beat the darkness and was just an awful person.  He never really did seem out of control when they were talking to him before.)  This is probably not an interesting enough story to be told, to be honest.  Just your standard good guy beats bad guy stuff.  I did want to see him taken down after all he did in book two.

-Why is Mizzy suddenly an epic, and what are her powers?

So my theory about Prof in other worlds, is they were looking for a powered Prof that wasn't corrupted. But that doesn't mean there isn't a reality where Prof and Tia never got powers, had a daughter and she ended up an epic. As to the famine, now that you have superheroes that are good people, there is a high likelihood that the famine could be repaired by anyone with earth powers. I believe regarding Abraham Brandon has stated either he didn't want to reveal it and let it remain a mystery, or that it would come up in the new series. I forget which. Calamity was an extra dimensional entity. We might learn what and why he was in the new series considering it deals with dimension hopping. Obliteration got away and will probably end up a reoccurring villain in that world. Dunno, and dunno lol. 

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We learn that Abraham was an ex-serviceman in the Canadian special forces, and his team was killed by Powder, don't we?

 

Isn't that the mysterious past? Or is there more?

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We learn that Abraham was an ex-serviceman in the Canadian special forces, and his team was killed by Powder, don't we?

 

Isn't that the mysterious past? Or is there more?

I believe, though this is a hazy recollection so take it with a grain of salt, is the why he was discharged of his command when the reason his team was killed seemed beyond his control. Also WoB say that Brandon wants to keep Abraham's history a mystery, so there is something more. 

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On 2016-02-16 at 6:15 PM, Darkness said:

I'm pretty sure that was indirectly addressed by Calamity not being present on other dimensions. He chose to leave earlier in other dimensions, so he must be a separate entity in each reality. It would make sense if the book really only dealt with the concerns of one reality, and there are other dimensions where Calamity is still around.

Isn't the whole theory about multiple realities is that there's a reality for every choice... so one where he did leave and one where he didn't?

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On ‎9‎/‎25‎/‎2017 at 1:04 PM, AnonymousFan said:

Isn't the whole theory about multiple realities is that there's a reality for every choice... so one where he did leave and one where he didn't?

Yes, but times infinity

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I am kind of new to Sanderson's work, I listened to WOR just around one and a half years ago. Since then I just love to read anything from him. I was hesitant though on Calamity as I had heard much dissapointment on it. I was not expecting much. Could it be that because of that I actually ended up enjoying it? It went much better than I expected. I like happy and encouraging endings. Sad for Tia and now that I read here; i agree, the Calamity reasoning for being bad.. well..  but I enjoyed it. Worth the time. 

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 I just finished the book, and yeah, I kind of get the feeling maybe those publishers were getting a little impatient, being separated from their moneys for so long and all... But storm it, Sanderson! He left us with too many questions! With other books like the Stormlight Archives, you actually have all the little threads mostly wrapped up, but this... he just... it just... yeah, I don't really know how to explain the feeling, but I guess I should be kinda used to it by now. You read a lot of books, you have this happen way too much. Authors break their promises all the time.

Edited by Sanin
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I loved Calamity... though i felt a few points in the story were a little bit too weird and un-sanderson. It had a pretty good plot and a couple of nice enemies. (Though firefight will still hold #1 for this series for me)

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