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Brandon Sanderson has plans in place to write many books set in different worlds, but in the same Cosmere. These books include series that have already begun (eg Stormlight Archives, Elantris, Mistborn, and others), and some that have not yet started (eg Aether of Night, Dark One, and Dragonsteel).

What order (if any) should the books be read in? Obviously, books should be read in the proper order within a world, but is there reason to read the books of one world before another?

I do realize that the answer to this question will change an evolve over time as more books are released, but answerers today and in the future should respond according to the best knowledge available to them at the time answered.

  • This answer to a very similar question on SF&F answers your question. – CHEESE Feb 12 '17 at 2:58
  • Thank you for the link, @CHEESE. You could post an answer, if you want...there is no closing cross-site duplicates (though each site has their own policy on that. The one I'm most familiar with is meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/3324/5323, but see also meta.stackexchange.com/q/64068/266359) – Shokhet Feb 12 '17 at 3:14
  • (meta-meta: I think that discussion on the MSE question should be revived, because the network has grown and now there are more than a few sites with considerable overlap. I think the accepted answer there was written for a different time, perhaps) – Shokhet Feb 12 '17 at 3:14
  • Just one thing about how this question impacts me: thus far I've read Stormlight (my first Cosmere book) and Warbreaker. I'm waiting for the library copy of the first Mistborn book to become available. I'm wondering if I should pursue Mistborn or Elantris first. – Shokhet Feb 12 '17 at 3:18
  • Relevant: brandonsanderson.com/books/where-do-i-start – Shokhet Mar 13 '17 at 14:47
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This solves your problems. It shows a nice chart outlining a few different ways to read the cosmere. Here it is:

Cosmere Books Reading Order as of 01/2016

On the other hand, as long as you read each series in order, you can really do whatever you want. However, there are characters who recur in different books, and certain reading orders are preferred. Here's what I usually recommend in terms of large-scale universes in the cosmere to friends who are starting out:

  • Mistborn series universe
  • Warbreaker universe
  • Elantris universe
  • Stormlight Archive
  • Arcanum Unbounded

However, that is just my opinion. I believe that it is optimal to read Stormlight Archive after the other three main universes, but you can reverse that.


You mention you've read Stormlight already, as well as Warbreaker. That's fine. Should you read Elantris or Mistborn first? It really doesn't matter. However, I would recommend rereading Stormlight afterwards, it really is worth it (I did it that way, in fact.)

An faq on Sanderson's website says this:

I recommended reading the books in sequential order rather than trying to dive into the second book in a series without having read the first book. That said, it really doesn’t matter which Cosmere series you start with

  • white sands part 1 is out – Himarm Feb 12 '17 at 7:24
  • also, sandersan has said you can start on alloy of law too, – Himarm Feb 12 '17 at 7:25
  • Should we mention here (or on the linked answer) that it's absolutely worth reading through Sanderson's annotations after completing each book? They're definitely optional, but especially if you read the series for its worldbuilding then it's great to get additional insights into behind-the-scenes stuff. – Martin Ender Feb 15 '17 at 16:17

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