Lux (Texas Reckoners, Book 1)
By: Brandon Sanderson and Steven Bohls
My Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Best for: 14 and up
More Reckoners? Yes, please!
I’ve been apprehensive about embracing Sanderson, Inc. In 2021, Brandon Sanderson released five books–Four 4 of them written (co-written?) by former students of his writing class at BYU. I’m nervous for him to become THAT author, ala James Patterson or Dean Koontz, who hires ghost writers to spit out subpar stories that sell because they have Brandon Sanderson on the cover in huge font. Now that I’ve read all four of those co-written books, I feel slightly better about the arrangement, because all the books are excellent. But I’m still firmly on the fence regarding Sanderson, Inc. Is it good or bad? We’ll see what the future holds before I commit to an opinion.
Lux is a return to the world of The Reckoners, that excellent YA trilogy Brandon wrote about superpowered bad guys. Instead of using their powers for good, the Epics are tyrants who destroy and reign over a regime of terror. It’s up to the regular people to fight back–The Reckoners. They stand up to the super-powered bullies, searching for their weaknesses and do what can’t be done: kill the unkillable and rid the world of Epics. There’s not a ton of overlap between Lux and the original trilogy. You could technically read Lux without having read the other first, but I think you’d have a better experience with Lux if you did.
This story focuses on a group of Reckoners from Texas, and runs parallel to the original trilogy in chronology. These Reckoners battle an Epic who lifted the ENTIRE CITY of Sugarland, Texas into the air and turned it into an enormous floating paradise. Lux flies from city to city in Texas, kidnapping, looting, and killing at each stop. When you discover Lux’s secrets, you’ll be very appropriately shocked and terrified.
I liked Lux a whole lot. The thrill factor was high, the twists were meaningful, the characters were endearing and showed strong growth. It was much grittier than the original series–there’s a good amount of death and violence. It gives the story a heavy feel, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The more at stake, the greater the reward for success.
It did drag a bit. Not like it was boring, though. More like after plan “b,” “c,” “d,” and “e” failed, I started feeling like it might not have been so bad if plan “a” had worked out after all. I think the story could have been much shorter and still been effective. I also was pretty disappointed with the ending. Clearly, we are set up for more stories, so maybe book two will provide satisfactory resolution. But with no book 2 on the schedule, I was left feeling annoyed in the end. Not a deal breaker by any means, I’m just a sucker for fairy tale endings and I didn’t get it this time.
Also, a couple words about Steven Bohls. I’m really interested in how Steven Bohls (and Janci Patterson, who wrote co-wrote this year’s other Sandreson, Inc books) manage to do the work but still make it feel written by Brandon. Lux was really well written. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I looked to see what else Steven Bohls had written, and found he’s the author of a super fun looking Middle Grade duology called Jed and the Junkyard War. It’s about–get this–a floating city! Coincidence? Not a chance. But Brandon gave book 1 his rare public recommendation back in 2017, and his reco’s have never once steered me wrong. That, combined with how much I enjoyed Lux, means now I have to read Jed and the Junkyard War!
And another quick note on the audio. MacLeod Andrews does a simply fantastic job. I’d be glad to have him read to me any day. Lux is currently only available as an audio book, but the ebook is on it’s way in July 2022.
Lux has no concerning language. Zero sexual content. PG-13 violence. I say best for 14 and up.