Recommended reading order?

Discussion in 'Brandon Sanderson' started by Adina al'Mari, May 8, 2016.

  1. Adina al'Mari

    Adina al'Mari Aes Sedai

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    I've not yet dipped my toe into the Sandersonverse, where do you recommend I start, in what order, and why?
     
  2. Raam Sho'am

    Raam Sho'am Gaidin

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    Well, chronologically speaking, the first Cosmere works are Elantris (which is also the first published) and The Emperor's Soul. Then the original Mistborn trilogy, then Warbreaker, then Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, then the Stormlight Archive, then the current Mistborn storyline, then Sixth of the Dusk.

    However, the connections between them are loose enough that you don't have to pay much attention to the timeline at this point. So if you prefer to just start with the best Sanderson work, then the easy choice is the Stormlight Archive books (Way of Kings and Words of Radiance).

    So, the options: Elantris (first published, first chronologically, good story but relatively weak writing by Sanderson standards), Mistborn trilogy 1 (fairly early timeline-wise, first novel is his best non-Stormlight work), or Stormlight Archive (best work by far). I'd recommend Stormlight.
     
  3. Aduiavas Ida

    Aduiavas Ida Aes Sedai Mistress of Revels - Europe Forum Moderator

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    I would not recommend starting with Stormlight Archives (Way of Kings and Words of Radiance so far), since they are quite long books for Sanderson.

    I would start with Warbreaker, Elantris or the Mistborn trilogy.
     
  4. Kallarn Lo'Vosh

    Kallarn Lo'Vosh Resident Citizen

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    Another vote for leaving Stormlight. Mistborn would be my vote as a starting point (all of it), then Elantris and Warbreaker then novellas then Stormlight.
     
  5. Elyss Koh'inor

    Elyss Koh'inor Aes Sedai

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    I started with the Stormlight Archives, and they are my favorite, but I usually suggest people start with Mistborn or Elantris, to provide new Sanderson readers a good feel for his books without a huge time commitment to an unfinished series.
     
  6. Naomi al'Moranwin

    Naomi al'Moranwin Aes Sedai

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    I'm not even sure I agree in principle that the Stormlight Archives is his best work. It's definitely long and often confusing. I would start with Mistborn.

    If you want something even lighter, he just finished the Reckoners trilogy of YA books, and they are quite fun. They are non-Cosmere afaik.


    The thing to know with the Cosmere books is that there is some kind of behind the scenes linking going on, but each world/trilogy-ish of books is pretty independent. You could read Mistborn and never touch another of his worlds and be happy.
     
  7. Kallarn Lo'Vosh

    Kallarn Lo'Vosh Resident Citizen

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    I've enjoyed Stormlight so far but Mistborn (especially the Wax and Wayne series) beats it by a huge margin. Stormlight I feel will bring more threads of the Cosmere together and will be much more of an Epic story but Mistborn is just a good tale with some very good cosmere twists.
     
  8. Maibella ni Rhoiden t'al'Varrak

    Maibella ni Rhoiden t'al'Varrak Aes Sedai TVT Editor Forum Moderator

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    I really enjoyed Elantris (that was my first Sanderson book) but I didn't love Mistborn the way everyone else did. In fact I doubt I'll finish reading the series. Warbreaker was an excellent story IMO - a great stand-alone tale. I'm really loving the Stormlight books so far.

    I'm VERY new to the whole Cosmere thing. It isn't something I picked up on on my own, and haven't ready any of the details behind it. I just know that it exists. So for me, I'd say start with Elantris (it's a great book but they DO get better from there), move on to Mistborn (maybe you'll like it more than I did), then Warbreaker, then Stormlight.

    /2cents
     
  9. Sela Narian

    Sela Narian Aes Sedai

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    My thoughts are exactly aligned with Raam's in preference and in recommendation. We are both very critical about literature and reading in general, so if you want the shared opinion of two picky bitches (yes Ram I called you a bitch) with very high standards and thousands of books read, that's our assessment. I consider Stormlight Archives to be the best fantasy series in the genre, finished or unfinished. It was clearly a masterpiece even with just one book finished. We have two now and it just keeps proving itself.

    If you want Sanderson's very best, go with Way of Kings, the first in the Stormlight Archive. Sure, it's long, but it is a very fast read, none of it is difficult, and its pacing is very well-done, so it doesn't feel long. You are on the edge of your seat for the whole second half and the last third is outstanding.

    Mistborn's first trilogy is very good, with book one, The Final Empire, the best of the lot. It's definitely his best non-Stormlight book. The other two have regrettable moments that make it fall short of wonderful, yet they're still objectively better than 90% of what's out there. The Final Empire is better than 99%. (Stormlight is better than 100%, as in every other book and series in fantasy.)

    I haven't read past the first book in the second Mistborn series (Wax and Wayne) because westerns bore me and there wasn't enough romance to make up for that and keep me engaged. I cannot adequately rate the second Mistborn series, as I've only read the first and wasn't too impressed, though I acknowledge the writing quality itself was fine. Except for the fact that I didn't enjoy it.

    Mistborn: Secret History was amazing. DO NOT read it until you've read the first three Mistborn books in the first Mistborn trilogy. Huge huge HUGE spoilers.

    Elantris I had a difficult time getting into, but once I was a third through I was hooked. It was his first book and you can tell, but it is still objectively better than at least 80% of what's out there. It wouldn't be my recommendation for first Sanderson to read if you're new.

    The Emperor's Soul takes place in the same world as Elantris with a different magic system, and it is wonderful. You don't have to have read Elantris to read it; it's a standalone novella. It's just nice to see a glimpse of another part of the world that's just briefly mentioned in Elantris. I might recommend this one as a first read if you want a brief intro into how excellent Sanderson really is, as it's a novella and it is, while not his very best, certainly better than at least 95% of what's out there.

    Warbreaker I also had a difficult time getting into but it's still great once it gets going, maybe halfway through. It is better than at least 85% of what's out there. The world is phenomenal and I can't wait for the sequel. It's one of his most unique magic systems and the distinctive aspects of the world (gods who Return in order to eventually die, royal locks, etc.) are fascinating. The climax is one of his best.

    Reckoners was meh for me. I could see the plot twists a mile away. It was overly simple. Really just a basic YA that was okay. I haven't read any more in that series.

    I've read the first Legion book and it's brilliant. Haven't read the second, though I bought it and it's on my Kindle, waiting. It's been a while since I read it (I am in the middle of a Sanderson reread so I'll get there eventually) so I can't really say much other than that I loved it and the plotting was tight and the story was fascinating.

    Tried to read Alcatraz and couldn't get into it.

    So my recommendation: If you want his very best, go with Stormlight. If you want a decent intro into his immense potential in epic fantasy, so you can ease yourself in with one of the best fantasy books ever written, choose The Final Empire (first Mistborn). If you want to have zero understanding of how good he is or what makes him unique, go with Reckoners. If you want a quick (for Sanderson) read that is on par with the best in fantasy, go with The Emperor's Soul.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  10. Aduiavas Ida

    Aduiavas Ida Aes Sedai Mistress of Revels - Europe Forum Moderator

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    And if you want light reading with not much plot-action but lots of meta and laughs, read the Alcatraz series ;)
     
  11. Sela Narian

    Sela Narian Aes Sedai

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    That's probably why I couldn't get into it; plotting is a huge sticking point for me. He usually does it so well and for this I was just...not engaged.
     
  12. Erin al'Denael

    Erin al'Denael Ban Hammer, Scourge of Spambots Everywhere Aes Sedai Mistress of Novices & Recruits

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    I'm not much of a western fan either, but I was bored a month or two ago and didn't have anything new to read (I was getting depressed :|) and I read books 2 and 3 despite figuring I wasn't going to be thrilled. Happily, they while they weren't exactly my cup of tea, they were more enjoyable than book one. :D

    I would also recommend Perfect State as a quick read. It is a non-Cosmere novella, but nice to read all the same.
     
  13. Kallarn Lo'Vosh

    Kallarn Lo'Vosh Resident Citizen

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    Wax and Wayne arent really western, its steampunk really and they are well worth giving a go.
     
  14. Kallarn Lo'Vosh

    Kallarn Lo'Vosh Resident Citizen

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    Wax and Wayne arent really western in my opinion.
     
  15. Sela Narian

    Sela Narian Aes Sedai

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    I don't like steampunk much either. :cheese
     
  16. Asandra al'Terra

    Asandra al'Terra Marquise de Sparkle Accepted

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    My two cents: I read Stormlight first, and then Mistborn. Loved Stormlight, thought Mistborn was extremely meh (excellent world-building, blah plot). I"m not sure I'd have continued on to Stormlight given how disappointed I was with Mistborn.
     
  17. Kelgan al'Moranwin

    Kelgan al'Moranwin Aes Sedai

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    Definitely start with Mistborn. Despite Sela's ringing endorsement of the Stormlight Archives, I actually couldn't finish Way of Kings. I found it entirely too scattered and had trouble keeping track of why the hell any of the story lines had anything at all to do with any of the others. That gives me HUGE qualms about calling it his best work ever, and whatever else may be the case, it's definitely not light or quick reading, imo.
     
  18. Maibella ni Rhoiden t'al'Varrak

    Maibella ni Rhoiden t'al'Varrak Aes Sedai TVT Editor Forum Moderator

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    I found the first Stormlight book to be a challenge for the reasons Kelgan mentioned. It wasn't frustrating to me but it was a bit confusing and it took a very long time to see how things fit together. I was patient with it though, because each story was very interesting and the writing was so well done. And in the end it paid off.
     
  19. Sela Narian

    Sela Narian Aes Sedai

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    Kelgan - They fit together but you need patience. By the end of the first book you see all kinds of ties. By the end of the second everything is clicking into place.

    Honestly, part of the appeal for me is how people and places that otherwise might have been completely unrelated were so intertwined on second and third glance. It's for certain a masterpiece.

    I'm not sure how to respond to the comments that Stormlight was difficult because it was very simple for me to follow and the genius was evident, especially in the second half of the book, especially especially in the last third.
     
  20. Jeffan Caliarthan

    Jeffan Caliarthan Aes Sedai

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    Can't really have an opinion on whether or not it's your best work if you haven't read it. :)

    Back to the topic at hand, I am going to say that I read Elantris first, then the original Mistborn trilogy, and then Warbreaker. After that, I was caught up with his work so I read everything as it was published. I would recommend starting with the original Mistborn trilogy, and then if you find that you like his style and writing, you can delve into Stormlight, but that's just me.

    I'd recommend listening to Sela. She's the authority on these things.