Hi everyone — I hope your Friday is going well! My next spotlight is one of my absolute favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson. I’ve read almost all his adult work that he’s published. I will auto-buy just about anything from him. Don’t need to read the synopsis, it’s a Sanderson. PUT IT IN THE CART, I say.
There’s only one series by him that I just was not into, and I’m fairly certain it was because he wrote it in first person POV, and because I just wasn’t into the topic. (It’s his Reckoners series. I read the first one, but did not go back for more.) And yes — Sanderson primarily writes series — usually at least three books long. Regardless, if you haven’t read a Brandon Sanderson book, you are missing out on one of the best modern fantasy authors out there.
- WHAT’S HE KNOWN FOR? Wildly original complex magic systems, vast gorgeous worlds, and characters that will stand the test of time
- HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE I READ BY HIM? Fourteen, but he’s written…a lot more than that. He seriously does not stop writing. Sanderson recently came out with a Kickstarter so he could self-publish the four books he’d written in the last two years.
- WHAT GENRES DOES HE WRITE? Fantasy, usually, but he’s got a few sci-fi series as well.
- WHERE CAN WE FIND HIM? Twitter | His website
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
WHAT IS THE COSMERE?
“The cosmere is a fictional shared universe where several of Sanderson’s books take place. As a result, books set in the cosmere share a single cosmology and underlying rules of magic, and some characters from one world will make appearances on other worlds. Despite the connections, Sanderson has remained clear that one does not need any knowledge of the broader cosmere to read, understand, or enjoy books that take place in the cosmere.”
THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE
Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.
It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.
One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.
Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.
Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.
WHY DID I LOVE THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE?
The Stormlight Archive is one of the most wildly original epic fantasy series out there right now. Not to mention each book is super chunky, so I know have the ability to really sink my teeth into each volume and know I’m going to be here for awhile. I love Sanderson’s characters in these books — each one has their own vast storyline, with fascinating backstories. Kaladin Stormblessed, one of the main characters, has an amazing arc that I cannot wait to continue reading about. Not to mention, I love seeing the familiar characters from across the cosmere in Roshar.
- HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? There are currently four books published, but there are ten books planned for the entire series. Books 1 – 5 will be a complete story, and books 6 – 10 will also be a complete story.
- WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Way of Kings
- CW: Slavery, violence, suicidal thoughts, child death, death
THE MISTBORN SAGA — PART 1
For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.
Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Then Kelsier reveals his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.
But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets. She will have to learn trust if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.
WHY DID I LOVE THE MISTBORN SAGA PART ONE?
The first part of the Mistborn saga is one of the best complete stories I have ever read in my entire life. The story wraps up so neatly, so wonderfully satisfying that this is a series you will see me shout about forever. There is a fantastic female lead, Vin, who is amazingly written. The magic system — allomancy — is so unique that I’m still excited about it. This is another cosmere series, so if you look closely, you’ll see familiar characters from other Sanderson books, too! If you’ve never read a Sanderson book before, I’d start with this series right here.
- HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? In part one, there are three books: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages
- WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Final Empire
- CW: Violence, death, slavery, child abuse, physical abuse
THE MISTBORN SAGA — PART 2
Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.
One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.
After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.
WHY DID I LOVE THE MISTBORN SAGA PART TWO?
I don’t know that I’ve ever read a series like this one before — where one part is set in one time, and the next much later? (Yes, I know prequels are a thing, but that’s not what this is…) The closest thing I can think of is how Avatar: The Last Airbender went from Aang to Korra — the technology changed, society changed, etc. Such is the case between Part 1 and Part 2 of the Mistborn Saga. ANYWAY — Wax and Wayne are hilarious together. This series is definitely one of Sanderson’s funniest, though the overall themes of these books aren’t humorous. Again, this is a cosmere entry, so look closely!
- HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? Four: The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning, and The Lost Metal. The Lost Metal comes out this fall.
- WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Alloy of Law
- CW: Gun violence, death, violence, kidnapping, fire, body horror
Warbreaker is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.
Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.
By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.
WHY DID I LOVE WARBREAKER?
Not going to lie to you, I put off reading this book for a long time before I finally picked it up. (Why? I have no idea.) I am so sorry I took so long to read Warbreaker because I absolutely love the magic system. Not to mention that Lightsong is a fantastic character. Plus there’s a talking sword, and I’m a sucker for talking inanimate objects. I actually have a review of Warbreaker up here. This is yet another entry into the cosemere universe — a couple of big characters from this book end up in Rhythm of War, the latest entry into the Stormlight Archive.
- HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? One — this is a standalone at the moment. Sanderson plans to write more in this series eventually.
- CW: Violence, death, murder, war, religious bigotry, body horror
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.
Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping—based on their correspondence—to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.
WHY DID I LOVE ELANTRIS?
It’s been more than a few years since I picked Elantris up, but I do remember really enjoying this book. I do have to warn you that this is Sanderson’s debut novel, so it feels a little rougher around the edges compared to his more recent work. That doesn’t, however, detract from the story at all. It’s another amazingly unique world, with a creative magic system at the heart of it. And just like all the other books I’ve mentioned, this is a cosmere entry.
- HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? One — just like Warbreaker, this is a standalone at the moment. Sanderson does plan to write more in this series.
- CW: Death, body horror, murder, genocide, violence, confinement
ARCANUM UNBOUNDED: THE COSMERE COLLECTION
Brandon Sanderson creates worlds, and those worlds are linked. His universe spans the Stormlight Archive, the Mistborn series the tales of Elantris, and others, comprising a unique constellation of vividly imagined realms known as the Cosmere.
Now for the first time anywhere, stories representing each of these planets, and their fully realized and distinct magic systems, have been collected in a single spectacular volume. Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection brings together tales spanning the known limits of Sanderson’s universe–including the never-before-published Edgedancer, a thrilling new novella of the Stormlight Archive–along with charts, illustrations, notes…and secrets.
The Cosmere Collection encompasses six worlds in all, explored across nine astonishing works of short fiction: Sel (“The Hope of Elantris” and The Emperor’s Soul); Scadrial (“The Eleventh Metal,” “Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Episodes Twenty-eight Through Thirty,” and Mistborn: Secret History); Taldain (“White Sand”); Threnody (“Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell”); First of the Sun (“Sixth of the Dusk”); and Roshar (Edgedancer).
These exciting tales will catapult you onto an unprecedented journey across a cosmos only Brandon Sanderson could have envisioned. Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection is an indispensible volume no Sanderson fan can do without.
WHY DID I LOVE THE ARCANUM UNBOUNDED?
There isn’t a main storyline within Arcanum Unbounded — it’s all short stories set within the cosmere. What is cool, though, is that you get a deeper understanding of how everything works, almost “behind the scenes,” if you will. Of the short stories featured within this collection, I really enjoyed the stories set on Scadrial — the Mistborn world. Any glimpse of that world will have my interest, really. I should also mention that this is not a good place to start with Sanderson, as you will understand basically nothing.
- HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? One, but as this is a collection of all his short stories set in the Cosmere, I imagine there will probably be a part two eventually.
- CW: Death, violence, gore
Now that I’m done blabbering on about how much I love Sanderson’s work, what’s your favorite Sanderson book? (If you can’t tell, mine is all three of the Mistborn Saga, part 1). Who’s your favorite Sanderson character? (Personally, I’m torn between Kaladin and Wit/Hoid.) Let me know in the comments below!