Brandon Sanderson is one of the best-known names in fantasy, with quite a lot of different series to his name. If you want to get started reading his work, then you’ve got your work cut out for you. Hopefully, though, this article will help you break down some of his bigger works into manageable chunks that you can start reading. Then you can enjoy his books and the universes that contain them!
Brandon Sanderson’s books are filled with high fantasy and science fiction, featuring heroes, swords, sorcery, magic, aliens, and dangerous technology. If this sounds like something you want to read, then take a look at this article!
Brandon was born in Lincoln Nebraska and joined Brigham Young University in 1994 as a biochem major. However, during a missionary trip for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he spent time in Seoul, South Korea and found that he loved writing. Upon his return he switched to an english major and began writing novels, until he created the story empire he has today!
So let’s get started breaking down some of his biggest works!
The demigods of Elantris and the capital of Arelon were benevolent people, each touched by the mystical force of the Shaod that empowered them and transformed them into the masters of magic they are today. But a decade ago, the magic failed, the people of Elantris became corrupted, and the land turned from a beautiful paradise into a dark and filthy land.
As a political marriage between Princess Sarene of Teod to Crown Prince Raoden of Elantris looms, it is quickly overturned by the news of Raoden’s death, news that makes both cities easy prey for their neighbors who covet their lands. As Sarene struggles to keep both kingdoms together, she learns that Raoden is still alive and pursuing his own agenda, which is going to reveal the true power of Elantris, one way or another.
Elantris has all the makings of what Brandon Sanderson’s books would later become, rich lore, compelling characters, and epic scenes that stay in your head long after the book is done!
The Mistborn Trilogy (2006-2008)
Perhaps the most well known of Brandon Sanderson’s books, the Mistborn Trilogy is split into three parts.
Mistborn, The Final Empire (2006)
Set on the world of Scaderial, it is a dark and dank environment. All the plants are dead, it constantly rains ash, and the world is coated in mist every single night. Plus, the one who was supposed to be the immortal hero of the world turned into a tyrant, stratifying society into the descendants of his allies (who are well off nobles) and those who opposed him (who are brutally oppressed peasants called Skaa).
However, when a group of Skaa discover that they have magical powers, they decide to take the chance to rob the Empire blind and live like kings. However, overthrowing the Final Empire and fighting the Lord Ruler is a hard task, even with magic and an army at your back, and this group of thieves will need to learn the reality of war before it is too late.
Mistborn, The Final Empire sees the stage gets set for the trilogy to happen, and once you finish the first book you will be hard-pressed to resist picking up the second book!
Mistborn: The Well Of Ascension (2007)
With the war for the Final Empire over and the Immortal Hero/Tyrant now dead, the Skaa rebels discover that keeping an empire intact is much harder than taking one. As the lands of the Empire fall into anarchy and various factions attempt to seize power for themselves, the Skaa rebels try to navigate this new world, and discover a hard truth about what really happened when the Immortal Hero went to the Well of Ascension to become a god.
But they also discover that the Well of Ascension isn’t just a giver of powers, but also a prison, and something inside is yearning to escape.
Mistborn: The Well of Ascension is the second book in the trilogy and it ramps up everything. The action, the magic, the intrigue, and the characters, and it is all racing towards the epic conclusion.
Mistborn: The Hero Of Ages (2008)
With an ancient evil called the Ruin escaping into the world at the end of the last book, the inhabitants of Scaderial find themselves under siege by the planet itself as the Ruin plots its revenge on the world. The main characters soon find their way underground, encountering old and new faces as they follow a trail of mysterious caches left by the old Immortal Hero, and attempt to unite the various factions in a race for survival against the Ruin.
As the true hero of ages is revealed, a final battle and great sacrifices will need to be made to stop the Ruin’s attack on the world and give the planet the peace it has yearned for.
Mistborn: The Hero Of Ages brings the Mistborn trilogy to its cataclysmic conclusion, and you will laugh, cry, and smile as your favorite characters take on their biggest challenge yet.
The Second Mistborn Saga (2011-2022)
The Mistborn Saga wasn’t finished with the first trilogy, and four more books set hundreds of years after the trilogy make up the second saga. This is a more modern and steampunk era than the high fantasy of before, and all the main characters of the first three books have passed into legend, but it makes for interesting reading! Love steampunk books? Find our favorite here.
The Alloy Of Law (2011)
Scadrial has modernized in the three hundred years after the Ruin’s attack on the planet. Now electric lights, railroads, and steel skyscrapers cover the surface and a new generation of heroes is ready to explore this brave new world. Despite the power of the inner cities, magic is still used to control the rural areas, and that is where gunslinger and magic user Waxillium Ladrian comes in.
But now he is forced to leave the rural lands for the big city, and take up his place as head of a noble house. However, danger continues to lurk in the wealthy streets of the metropolis, and Waxillium Ladrian has to learn who to trust if he wants to survive.
Taking the Mistborn world in an entirely different direction, The Alloy Of Law is an inventive take on continuing stories, and if you love steampunk and western era fantasy, this is the story for you!
The Shadows Of Self (2015)
As Waxillium Ladrian struggles to deal with both the dangers and the perks of being the head of the noble house, he quickly discovers he has enemies that aren’t afraid to make big statements… often by using terror and assassination to stir up conflict between different classes and religious groups. While he struggles to keep a hold on the city and prevent it from falling into lawlessness, he needs to turn to two local constabulary officers to help him keep the peace and investigate what is causing this conspiracy before the entire city falls apart!
Combining magic, martial arts, sleuthing, and gunplay, The Shadows Of Self is a book that will keep you hooked until the very end!
The Bands Of Mourning (2016)
The relics of the old Lord Ruler have returned in the Bands of Mourning, mythical relics that were owned by the Lord Ruler and are said to give the wearer the Ruler’s power. While most people dismiss them as mere legend, the Metropolis of Eledenel is rocked by a researcher with images of the bands along with a mysterious writing. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to go to New Seran and investigate the rumors of the Bands, only to discover a mysterious organization called the Set. as well as a threat from within his own family.
The Bands Of Mourning call back to the very first book in the Mistborn trilogy, and you might find yourself reading the first book again just to make sure you understand everything!
The Lost Metal (2022)
As the cult known as the Set has been kidnapping magic users, Waxillium has been hunting them all throughout the city, and his allies quickly discover that the Set have the means and the plans in place to start a devastating war between cities, a war that only they can stop. But new figures from on the world to off the world are intervening in the crisis to run their own agendas, and Wax is forced to make a hard choice.
Does he remain a simple lawman, or does he take the steps necessary to become a God? Which one will better serve the world, and which one will save it? These are the questions you will ask yourself as you flip through the exciting conclusion to the second Mistborn saga, so give The Lost Metal a read!
The Stormlight Archive (2010-2020)
This series takes place in the desert world of Roshar, where storms and stone have made the environment extremely dangerous and the people hardy, and it is also a wonderful read.
The Way Of Kings (2010)
Once the battered lands of Roshar were protected by the Knight Radiant, warriors who were armed with shard blades and shard plates, weapons, and armor that can make an ordinary man a superhuman warrior who is nearly invincible. The kingdoms and leaders of Roshar battle for these mystical weapons, because whoever controls them, controls the land.
The book is about several characters who find themselves in the middle of this war. A medic turned fighter who just wants to defend his people, a commander who doubts his own sanity, and a young woman determined to discover and steal the secrets of the Knights Radiant.
The Way Of Kings is a book that will transport you to this dry and sun soaked land as you attempt to understand what this entire war is about.
Words Of Radiance (2014)
The medic known as Kaladin survived the wars of the first book, only to be appointed as a bodyguard for the royalty, right as a royal hunting assassin is on the loose with an agenda all his own. Meanwhile, other characters grapple with the knowledge that the Voidbringers are returning and with them comes planetwide destruction, and the war still rages on with all sides taking increasingly desperate measures to achieve their victory.
Words of Radiance is the second book in the Stormlight Archive, and it keeps up the pace and the character development of the last book for sure! Give it a read!
Roshar and its people are under threat. Both from an army of innumerable Voidbringers, and also the Everstorm… a violent storm that sweeps the planet and also awakens a dangerous species that could spark a race and class war, right when Roshar needs to be fully united. As the secrets of the Knights Radiant are studied and revealed, it becomes clear that unless Roshar fully unites, no race or faction will survive the onslaught that is coming.
Oathbringer continues the savage assault on Roshar and the main characters you have come to love so much, and it is a book that deserves a read as you try to figure out how everyone can survive.
Rhythm Of War (2020)
Even with the Knights Radiant restored to their full power, and most of Roshar’s races united and committed to battling the Voidbringer invasion, neither side can gain a full advantage over their enemies. However, a second clash has developed as both sides seek both new arms and new allies, and the Knights Radiant’s numbers have been dwindling.
In order to bolster their forces, Kaladin must lead a force to the homeland of the honorspren, who bond with humans to create Radiants, to convince them to help. For if they don’t, then everyone will burn under the wrath of the Voidbringers and their evil god.
Rhythm Of War will have you on the edge of your seat as you hope that the forces of good will triumph over evil, so get into the rhythm and start reading!
Is The Stormlight Archive Going To Be Finished?
According to Brandon Sanderson, the fifth book in the series won’t be released until 2024, and we don’t know if it will be the last one in the series.
What About His Wheel Of Time Books?
Brandon Sanderson was selected to take over writing the ‘Wheel of Time’ books after the death of Robert Jordan, and he has written three novels and two short stories for the franchise. If you love the Wheel Of Time and don’t mind having an author switch, then give the entire series a read!
Should I Read His Shorter Stories?
From Mistborn to Elantris, to the Stormlight Archive, Sanderson has several stories that are designed to be novellas or novels to flesh out lore, give background characters their own book, or to tell tales before or after the main story he is writing. If you love the lore he creates, then go ahead and give them a read, but they often aren’t needed to understand the main plot.
Do I Need To Read Brandon Sanderson’s Books In Order?
Yes! For his series, you do need to read them in publication order because many of them reference past events, share characters, and give plot threads that are solved in later volumes.
Are His Children’s Books Good?
He has branched out into young adult fiction with some of his other stories, and they are filled with the same action, lore, and worldbuilding as his other pieces of writing. They are just made for a young adult audience, but they are still very good reads!