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I'm sure most of you will have seen the following comment time and time again.

 

I'm new to Sanderson. I'm thinking about reading on of Sanderson's Cosmere novels, but I don't know where to start.

 

This post is for them.

 

post-12805-0-39271200-1434862385_thumb.j

 

Some bright spark in the Discworld community had a similar idea. They made a sheet (shown above) which has a sort of reading guide of what you should read first. It's by no means completely linear, but it helps.

 

So, I'm trying to organise something similar to be made. I have done a basic map of what cosmere books should be read first, though it is by no means final. From there, we can finalize it/ make it look fancy.

 

So hear it is. Version 0.1.

post-12805-0-68942400-1434934864_thumb.p

 

EDIT: Thanks to navybrandt, we now have an awesome version 1.0. Thanks! Image below.

post-12805-0-73679200-1441190000_thumb.p

Edited by TheYoungBard
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I'm far from being a cosmere expert but it looks like a good start to me.

 

One thing though: I think you meant Warbreaker not Nightblood.

 

Otherwise: nice work!

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Good point. Fixed.

Edited by TheYoungBard
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It's so funny I was just asking about this on a different thread because I couldn't find a list about it, and NOW I'm finding the articles concerning it. :-) Heh. Typical.

 

I'm working through MB now. I was reading that you could take a couple different paths. You could go into the next phase of MB, or start on 'Elantris' and 'Warbreaker', which I'm thinking of doing next just to give myself a break from the MB universe.

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Based on TheYoungBard's original post I created this graphic. Anyone with graphic design skills that wants to pretty it up, please PM me, and I can supply the original Microsoft Visio file.

 

post-8475-0-40845100-1439483250_thumb.pn

 

Edit: Applied Blaze's comments

Edit 2: Tried to make the optional book reading order easier to understand

Edited by navybrandt
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Awesome graphic navybrandt! Things you left out that are not currently necessary include Era 4 Mistborn, the Cosmere YA novel that's stored somewhere in Brandon's coppermind, and the White Sand graphic novels.

 

Also, as a bit of feedback, I'd say The Emperor's Soul is a mandatory read, and should have a solid line connecting it to Elantris, or potentially even be a separate entry unto itself like the short stories at the bottom. The amount of information regarding Realmatics held within tES is astounding in comparison to all the other works released (except for maybe WoR). Otherwise, this is an excellent graphic!

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I really, really, really, (insert 10^54 more really) think that Warbreaker should point to WoK.  Under no circumstances should someone think it's okay to pick up WoR without having read WoK.  Maybe the chart isn't actually saying that (although relatively fluent in chartspeak, it is very much a third language for me) -- but it certainly seems to say that.

 

I'm not sure that I'd consider The Emperor's Soul a mandatory read.  Although it absolutely helps a lot with understanding the Realmatics, it is relatively inconsequential in terms of story.  I'd consider the Ars Arcanum in the back of the books to be as mandatory as TES, and for much the same reasons.  Certainly a debatable point, though :)

 

Otherwise it looks amazing, and I think you guys have done tremendous work.  (Both the original by The YoungBard and the color-coded prettified one by navybrandt.

 

 

I'm working through MB now. I was reading that you could take a couple different paths. You could go into the next phase of MB, or start on 'Elantris' and 'Warbreaker', which I'm thinking of doing next just to give myself a break from the MB universe.

 

I read Alloy of Law without having re-read the Mistborn trilogy, so there was a good 1.5-2 year gap from the last time I'd read Mistborn until reading it.  It is critical to have read the original trilogy first, but it's not necessary to read them straight through.  There were some things that I didn't pick up on until I did the full re-read through that I likely would have picked up initially, but not as much as I'd have thought.  Alloy of Law is also rather significantly different stylistically vs. Mistborn.  ie, it's definitely its own series/trilogy, and not Book 4.

 

That said, I positively adore Warbreaker, and so encourage everyone to read it.  Elantris is also really, really good, but the writing isn't nearly as good as his later works (which means it's only well written, instead of really well written.)

 

With Bands of Mourning due out soon-ish, I'd recommend moving to the other novels after finishing Hero of Ages, and then coming back.  It'll definitely be better to read Alloy of Law + Bands of Mourning back to back vs. time delay + lots of novels in between.  (If my rambling makes sense.)

Edited by kaellok
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I really, really, really, (insert 10^54 more really) think that Warbreaker should point to WoK.  Under no circumstances should someone think it's okay to pick up WoR without having read WoK.  Maybe the chart isn't actually saying that (although relatively fluent in chartspeak, it is very much a third language for me) -- but it certainly seems to say that.

 

I'm not sure that I'd consider The Emperor's Soul a mandatory read.  Although it absolutely helps a lot with understanding the Realmatics, it is relatively inconsequential in terms of story.  I'd consider the Ars Arcanum in the back of the books to be as mandatory as TES, and for much the same reasons.  Certainly a debatable point, though :)

 

I think you've misunderstood the chart. Navybrandt was following the format used for the Discworld series, as seen above in the OP by TheYoungBard. The only lines that mandate a reading order are the solid lines. Dashed lines indicate that the first book contains characters/events/ideas that you will want to know if you wish to fully enjoy the second book. So, using Warbreaker and WoR as an example, navybrandt's graphic states that to read WoR, you need to read WoK first, and it's also a good idea to have read Warbreaker.

 

You could argue inconsequential stories for a number of the novels. Spoilers below for various Cosmere novels.

Elantris's storyline is almost completely inconsequential to the Cosmere, as most of the important Selish events we've discovered through WoB and other novels (mainly SA). The only important event held within is the revival of the Elantrians. One could argue the same for Warbreaker. As much as I love it, the novel really is pointless outside of getting to know Vasher, so you can recognize Zahel, and learning about Realmatics. I presume Nightblood will become important in SA, but Warbreaker really didn't reveal much about him anyways.

 

So I'd say tES is about as important to the Cosmere as Warbreaker and Elantris, particularly when you consider Brandon has hinted that Shai will worldhop, and we learn Hoid stole the Moon Sceptre, meaning he actually took action during the novella rather than just being there like he was in the two listed novels.

As you say though, this point is debatable.

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So, using Warbreaker and WoR as an example, navybrandt's graphic states that to read WoR, you need to read WoK first, and it's also a good idea to have read Warbreaker.

Yes, exactly. I'm not sure how to make that more clear. Like I said, if a graphics design person wants to pretty it up, I'll gladly share the original Visio file. I just can't post Visio files to the forum.

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Yes, exactly. I'm not sure how to make that more clear. Like I said, if a graphics design person wants to pretty it up, I'll gladly share the original Visio file. I just can't post Visio files to the forum.

 

Do you know what you can save it as so it is compatible with Photoshop? If the answer is 'nothing', then never mind. I just might tinker a bit when I'm bored.

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I know this was awhile ago, but what a great Visio file! Fantastic work by The Young Bard and Navybrandt (both upvoted).

My thoughts / comments:

1. I disagree with the suggestion that Elantris and Emperor's Soul should have a solid line - they are optional in order to read.

2. Why is Emperor's Soul purple, when the other short stories are orange? I think they are of equal important and should be same colour.

3. I don't think it is Mandatory to read Era 2 Mistborn after Era 1, and suggest changing that solid line to a dotted. The position of the books will adequetely convey the Chronology.

4. If I were getting somebody to read Sanderson I would suggest Elantris and Warbreaker before Stormlight. Is that a common opinion, and if so, would it be better to switch those columns? (that is a genuine question I don't know the answer to).

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I read Alloy of Law before Mistborn. It was confusing to start reading Mistborn, but I knew before I read it that it was before Alloy of Law, and it wasn't all that confusing.

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Just a note: The system doesn't read left to right, or top to bottom. I'll probably try to fix that someday, but in the meantime, it works like this. A solid arrow pointing from Book 1 to Book 2, regardless of direction, means that you must read that Book 1st. A dashed line from Book 1 to Book 2, regardless of direction, indicates that we recommend you read that you read Book 1 first, but is by no means compulsory.

 

1. I disagree with the suggestion that Elantris and Emperor's Soul should have a solid line - they are optional in order to read.

 

It's actually not. Elantris has a solid line with the Hope of Elantris, a short story Brandon published on his website here.

 

 

2. Why is Emperor's Soul purple, when the other short stories are orange? I think they are of equal important and should be same colour.

 

Good point. I'll probably get around to editing this. Thanks!

 

 

3. I don't think it is Mandatory to read Era 2 Mistborn after Era 1, and suggest changing that solid line to a dotted. The position of the books will adequetely convey the Chronology.

 

I read Alloy of Law before Mistborn. It was confusing to start reading Mistborn, but I knew before I read it that it was before Alloy of Law, and it wasn't all that confusing.

 

I think I have to disagree here. There are a couple reasons for this.

 

Spoilers for the original Mistborn Trilogy:

A few things in the Alloy of Law trilogy are taken for granted that you aren't expected to know when reading the original trilogy, such as the presence of Compounders, which is the Lord Rulers trick to his immortality. A number of spoilers are also shown in the Wax and Wayne Era stories regarding the end of the trilogy. So, while it may not be confusing to start there, I think it would then spoil large portions of the original trilogy. So we'll leave it where it is, for now.

 

 

4. If I were getting somebody to read Sanderson I would suggest Elantris and Warbreaker before Stormlight. Is that a common opinion, and if so, would it be better to switch those columns? (that is a genuine question I don't know the answer to).

 

Well, we have actually suggested that you read Elantris before Stormlight, if you look carefully. Most of these decisions were based on Easter Eggs, however, not just opinions.

 

Very minor WoK and Elantris Spoilers:

For example, Galladon, from Elantris, appears in the scene with Ishikk.

 

Warbreaker is marked before Words of Radiance, for fairly obvious reasons.

 

If this is just a matter of aesthetics, then the point is appreciated. We'll keep it in mind. Thanks!

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On point 1. - that was actually a response to some comments suggesting you change dotted to solid line. I agree with the Visio. :)

On point 3. - fair enough! I hadn't thought of it from that side.

Point 4. is purely an aesthetic comment. I think the eye naturally reads left to right.

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The Emperor's Soul is purple because it is a starting point, which is why "(Novella)" is thrown after the title. Because all the novella's thus far have been stand alone, it would likely be more appropriate to recolor the other two novella's to be purple and add the same "(Novella)" to the titles. That or make another orb color for Novella's (the inclusion of Hope of Elantris makes the Short Story tag necessary).

 

Also, optional works that can be added:

-Short story The Eleventh Metal branching with a solid line from TFE.

-Short story Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania branching with a solid line from AoL.

 

I'm not sure how large you want the graphic becoming, with branches flying everywhere, but I feel branches are most appropriate in these cases.

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This is very helpful. I was discussing this with a group on Goodreads and this would help a lot.

 

I still personally feel Mistborn trilogy is the best starting point and would continue to recommend that. I know this is debatable but it is in my opinion a lot more polished than Warbreaker (even though this is one of my favorites) and Elantris. Better to introduce someone to works closer to his current writing level. Then unless you are braindead you will be hooked and a little more forgiving for the less polished books. 

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I know this is debatable but it is in my opinion a lot more polished than Warbreaker

*stunned silence*

 

Personally I felt there were clear leaps in Brandon's writing between Elantris, then the Mistborns, and then Warbreaker. At Warbreaker I feel he's plateaued a bit, as the Wax and Waynes, as well as Stormlights, don't have that same giant gap in prose quality. I've never heard of anyone feeling the Mistborns featured better prose than Warbreaker, interesting indeed.

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Better to introduce someone to works closer to his current writing level. Then unless you are braindead you will be hooked and a little more forgiving for the less polished books. 

 

I second that. I just read Elantris and even if I enjoyed it enough, I certainely would not have become such a fan of Sanderson if it had been my first. I recently talked about that with a friend of mine who started with WoK and he feels the same (we read Elantris at the same time). When I talk about books with friends, I now recommend Mistborns to those who don't fear a serie of big books and Warbreaker to those who prefer short reading. But the graphic still seems very logical advice for someone who is ready to embrace the whole Cosmere (for my part, I whish I had read Warbreaker before WoK :) )

 

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The Emperor's Soul is purple because it is a starting point, which is why "(Novella)" is thrown after the title. Because all the novella's thus far have been stand alone, it would likely be more appropriate to recolor the other two novella's to be purple and add the same "(Novella)" to the titles. That or make another orb color for Novella's (the inclusion of Hope of Elantris makes the Short Story tag necessary).

 

Also, optional works that can be added:

-Short story The Eleventh Metal branching with a solid line from TFE.

-Short story Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania branching with a solid line from AoL.

 

I'm not sure how large you want the graphic becoming, with branches flying everywhere, but I feel branches are most appropriate in these cases.

 

Emperor's Soul is a standalone. I don't see how it's a "starting point," as it has no direct ties with Elantris narratively. It simply happens on the same planet. You could wrap it into the same series, but I'd consider it a peripheral work rather than a launching point.

 

*stunned silence*

 

Personally I felt there were clear leaps in Brandon's writing between Elantris, then the Mistborns, and then Warbreaker. At Warbreaker I feel he's plateaued a bit, as the Wax and Waynes, as well as Stormlights, don't have that same giant gap in prose quality. I've never heard of anyone feeling the Mistborns featured better prose than Warbreaker, interesting indeed.

 

 

Yeah there are certainly arguments about personal taste that can be made among the earlier books, but I think it's fair to say that Warbreaker and Stormlight Archive are from a technical and craft perspective, better books than Elantris and Mistborn. Elantris is very definitely a "first book" with a lot of technical mistakes, and reading it after Mistborn 1 sold me on the rest of the trilogy quite effectively seeing how much Brandon leaped forward as an author after Elantris.

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The Way Of Kings hit me really hard, it was like a bolt from the clear sky; I haven't felt about a book since "The Name of The Wind", truth be told.

Then I hunted the rest of the books and Elantris did differ very much. By no means it was a bad book, but it wasn't so overwhelming. Of course, in 8 months we're getting a version 2, new translation, this time of 10th Anniversary Elantris, so I expect it to be more polished.

So my current strategy is to throw The Way of Kings at people, hook them, proceed with Warbreaker before finishing them with Words of Radiance. Then I switch style and rapidly attack with three Mistborns (soon the number will go up to 6 Mistborns) and leave them beaten.

I have to yet test it, but we're getting like 5-6 Sanderson books this year (AoL reprint, SoS, BoM, Elantris 10th, Emperor's Soul and then the plan was the Oathbringer, but I suspect they will have to switch it with Warbreaker reprint).

Edit: (15/08/2016) I have no idea what this post have to do with cosmere reading order. Perhaps it's misplaced? Maybe I messed up the tabs and wrote it in the wrong thread? I think I won't find out.

Edited by Oversleep
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Emperor's Soul is a standalone. I don't see how it's a "starting point," as it has no direct ties with Elantris narratively. It simply happens on the same planet. You could wrap it into the same series, but I'd consider it a peripheral work rather than a launching point.

 

Yeah, the more I think about it the more I agree. Change tES to yellow, but keep the dashed yellow line from Elantris, if you ask me. Though not completely necessary, there are some small mentions of countries from Elantris that you completely miss if you've yet to read it. Plus, having some introduction into the Cosmere before diving into the Realmatically dense tES is particularly helpful.

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If we're including the short stories in this graphic, you're missing The Eleventh Metal, a Mistborn short story that's set prior to The Final Empire. Other than that, this is a cool concept, and I can't wait to see it expand as the cosmere grows. Hopefully one day Shadows for Silence and Sixth of the Dusk will have connections to the main series as well.

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The Young Bard, navybrandt, can I... borrow... that image? I want to post it on the polish site of Sanderson works. I would translate it, and of course I would credit you both.

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How much should be read before taking on Secret History? (I know, I know, up to Bands Of Mourning) I am talking about cases like people who read only Mistborn books. Should they read Stormlight Archive before Secret History?

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