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What book should I start on?


SparrowTheSparrow

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On 2/22/2023 at 10:43 PM, SparrowTheSparrow said:

hi! I have read some of Sanderson's non-cosmere books, but haven't started on any in the joint universe yet. I don't have anything to read at the moment, but have no clue where to start. Any advice/suggestions for a good beginning? I like fantasy a lot, so the more magic the more fun >:D

This is what I generally tell people at work (order is publishing order) - is to start with these three in any order that appeals to you:

  • Elantris - It's a stand-alone (for now - 1 Short Story and one tangentially related Novella) and was the first published. Start here if you really like political intrigue books and a cerebral atmosphere. Less action than Mistborn or Warbreaker, until the end. 
  • Mistborn Trilogy (Book 1 Mistborn: The Final Empire / Era 1) - It's a Trilogy (so more initial time investment) but it is packed with action, great magic, great (dystopian) worldbuilding. Some political intrigue - can be a lot to take in at once for some readers. 
  • Warbreaker - Stand-alone (for now - no short stories). About mid-way between the the first two in both action and politics. The world is specifically meant to contrast to Mistborn's setting (so I recommend reading this either right before or right after Mistborn) and introduces many important things for shared universe (Cosmere)

The full list I made for friends and coworkers (recommendations, not requirements):

Spoiler

The first three in any order based on reader's preference on the action-politics scale:

  1. Mistborn Era 1
    1. The Final Empire
    2. Well of Ascension
    3. Hero of Ages
    4. The Eleventh Metal (Short Story) takes place before The Final Empire - but may be read after the Trilogy)
  2. Warbreaker
  3. Elantris
    1. Hope of Elantris (Short Story) - anytime after finishing Elantris
  4. The Emperor's Soul - should always be next after those three in any order - this is the best introduction to understanding some of the fundamentals of how different series are related and connect

Followed by these caveates for the remaining works

  • Stormlight Archive
    • Read at least Warbreaker and Mistborn Era 1 before starting this
    • Can fit other works between SA novels if you like to switch things up and not tackle 4 1000+ page books in a row
    • Note that if you prefer Audio or eBook, the books contain some amazing and important art that you may miss in audio or only see well with an eBook on PC
  • Mistborn: Secret History
    • Do not read before Bands of Mourning (Spoilers)
  • White Sand (prose or graphic novel/omnibus just released on the Dynamite website)
    • Anytime after The Emperor's Soul
    • Read before Rhythm of War
    • Non-canon unpublished Prose version available by joining the newsletter) - The forum section discusses differences to Canon Graphic Novel
  • Allow of Law
    • Anytime after The Emperor's Soul
  • Mistborn Era 2 Trilogy 
    • Shadows of Self - Anytime after Alloy of Law
    • Bands of Mourning - Anytime after Shadows of Self
    • The Lost Metal - Do not read before Rhythm of War (Spoilers)
  • Sixth of the Dusk (novella)
    • Anytime after The Emperor's Soul (Highly recommend the Shadows Beneath version*)
  • Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell (novella)
    • Anytime after The Emperor's Soul
    • Read before Oathbringer
  • Silverlight Essays (from the section headers in Arcanum Unbounded)
    • Each essay should be read after reading at least the primary work for that "world"
    • If you want to read them all together, read at least Mistborn Era 1, Allow of Law, Elantris, the Way of Kings then you can read all of them in Arcanum Unbounded and read the Novellas (except below) there paired with their essay
      • Edgedancer comes after Words of Radiance
      • Mistborn: Secret History has spoilers for Bands of Mourning
  • Tress of the Emerald Sea
    • Anytime after The Emperor's Soul and Sixth of the Dusk
  • Yumi and the Nightmare Painter
    • Anytime after The Emperor's Soul and Sixth of the Dusk
    • Do not read before Oathbringer (Spoilers)

**********

Rough Cosmere Internal Timeline

*Note the reading order does not match the internal timeline

  • Dragonsteel (Not published)
  • White Sand
  • Elantris
  • Mistborn Era 1
  • Warbreaker
  • Stormlight Archive Cycle 1 (Books 1-5)
  • Mistborn Era 2
  • Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell
  • Stormlight Archive Cycle 2 (Books 6-10)
  • Mistborn Era 3
  • Silverlight Essays (from Arcanum Unbounded)
  • Sixth of the Dusk
  • Yumi and the Nightmare Painter (not definitive - most likely shortly before or after Sixth - likely before Tress)
  • Tress of the Emerald Sea (not definitive - most likely shortly before or after Sixth)
  • Mistborn Era 4

 

On 2/23/2023 at 11:46 AM, offer said:

If you like epic fantasy than I recommend starting with the Stormlight Archive. It has the most world building by far and in my opinion is the best entry point to the cosmere.

Some people do start with Stormlight Archive (Book 1 - The Way of Kings), but I do not recommend that. Of the people I know that have started here, most have regretted it; or finished book 1, then moved to other Cosmere works between books in this series (*see example explanation below). Each book is quite large (1000+ pages) and while Book 1 can be safely read early, later books can quickly have references or spoilers for things you have not yet read (as @Witless of Shinovar mentioned). 

It's certainly not wrong to start here - it is epic and long and wonderful. just understand the trade-off you will have by making that decision. 

*That specific example: The individual read SA Book 1, Mistborn Era 1, Warbreaker, SA Book 2, Edgedancer, Elantris, SA Book 3 etc

***********

*Shadows Beneath is the "Writing Excuses" anthology and includes novellas from Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells and Howard Tayler. For each story it includes:

  • Spoiler
    • Final Draft
    • Transcript of the 'Workshopping" podcast
    • First Draft
    • Transcript of the "Alpha read feedback" podcast
    • Edit Draft
    • Author's Notes

     

Edited by Treamayne
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Mistborn and Elantris are both solid entry points into everything cosmere, but Warbreaker can also be pretty solid as well. Elantris was published first, so if you want to go all the way on publication date as your reading order, that'd be a good place. Warbreaker has soul vampires. Mistborn has a lot going on, and it's all very fun.

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2 minutes ago, Invocation said:

Mistborn and Elantris are both solid entry points into everything cosmere, but Warbreaker can also be pretty solid as well. Elantris was published first, so if you want to go all the way on publication date as your reading order, that'd be a good place. Warbreaker has soul vampires. Mistborn has a lot going on, and it's all very fun.

I second this. Basically don't read Stormlight Archive first unless you are willing to have minor spoilers for Warbreaker and a few others and be thrown completely headfirst into the cosmere

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Pretty much the same advice either Mistborn (original trilogy), or Warbreaker. I hesitate to recommend Elantris to start with. It is not a bad book but this was his first published Cosmere book and in my opinion the other ones I mentioned are more solid. I would 100% recommend reading Elantris but maybe not first. After that publication order is a great option and probably the least spoilery 

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12 hours ago, SparrowTheSparrow said:

hi! I have read some of Sanderson's non-cosmere books, but haven't started on any in the joint universe yet. I don't have anything to read at the moment, but have no clue where to start. Any advice/suggestions for a good beginning? I like fantasy a lot, so the more magic the more fun >:D

If you like epic fantasy than I recommend starting with the Stormlight Archive. It has the most world building by far and in my opinion is the best entry point to the cosmere.

If you already read some of Brandon`s other works and liked them then you can also start with mistborn or some of the short stories (The emperor`s soul, Sixth of the dusk for example). 
 

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I at this point while helping a friend have in my opinion created the perfect Cosmere reading list so here's the order I'd recommend:

  1. Warbreaker

  2. Elantris

  3. Final Empire

  4. Well of Ascension

  5. Hero of Ages

  6. Alloy of Law

  7. Shadows of Self

  8. Bands of Mourning

  9. Mistborn Secret History

  10. Sixth of Dusk

  11. Emperor's Soul

  12. The Way of Kings

  13. Words of Radiance

  14. Edge Dancer

  15. Oathbringer

  16. Dawnshard

  17. Rhythm of War

  18. The Lost Metal

  19. Tress and the Emerald Sea

People who have already read the cosmere may note that White Sand and Shadows for Silence are missing but I honestly don't know where to fit those two.

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