The Reckoners - Brandon Sanderson

The Steelheart cover

The Reckoners is a superhero trilogy (Steelheart, Firefight, Calamity) by Brandon Sanderson, but without the heroes.

In a modern-like era, the Calamity, a red star, appeared in the sky, and people started getting superpowers.  The problem is, there are supervillains, but no superheroes (though a religion whose medallion is a stylized "S" believes that the heroes will come).  As a result, most of the world is plunged into chaos, and the Reckoners are the only ones who are fighting back.

The books are interesting -- cool technology, superpowers off the beaten path, plenty of action -- but the books seem like an action movie in book form (Snow Crash was, too, but I give that a pass because it was groundbreaking in its conceptualization of technology, going so far as to coin the term "avatar" as it is used now and to come up with the game Second Life, more or less).  There are a couple plot twists, but not enough intrigue to rival Brent Weeks' Lightbringer series.  There is some social commentary, but not enough to rival Sapkowski's Witcher series.  There is some element of human motivation and behavior, but not enough to rival Rothfuss or Camus or Sanderson's other books.  So, it's good, but it's mostly just action.

One of the things that does set the series apart is that the protagonist has one trait that I have never before read in a book: bad metaphors.  Every few pages, he comes up with a metaphor, whether in his head or with his companions, that is completely bizarre.  They usually don't make sense to anyone, even himself, and he has to explain them in hillarious detail.  There are enough of them throughout the book that it would have been an enjoyable read even if the rest of it was of poor quality.

Since the other parts of the book are moderately good on their own anyways, I'm happy to recommend the Reckoners trilogy.