Not sure where to start with Brandon Sanderson’s cosmere books? These are the best cosmere books so you can decide where to start.
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The Best Cosmere Books According to the Bookish Mom
Saying these are the best cosmere books may be a little unfair. All of the cosmere books are amazing so really, you can’t go wrong no matter what one you pick up. It all really depends on you and your personal reading tastes.
These are my personal opinions about the cosmere. So I will be talking about my favorite cosmere books and ranking them accordingly. So take this all with a grain of salt because “best books” is really subjective honestly. But if you are ready to start the cosmere, then these are MY personal faves that I think you should prioritize.
Of course, if you want to know some of the more detailed cosmere reading orders, then you can check those out and read in order based on several different factors!
These are going to be ranked based on series, not individual books. For many of these, I love books in the series AFTER book 1 more than the first book, but it would be unfair to talk about book 3 being fantastic without reading the first book. So these are all of the series in the cosmere ranked on my personal bookish opinion.
I feel like this may be a little bit of a cheat because it isn’t a completed series. But The Stormlight Archives is my absolute favorite cosmere series. There are currently four books out right now, and a fifth in the works which will complete the first arc.
After the initial five books, there will be 5 more to complete the second arc. So this series is far from complete, but it is a fantastic read. And it is good knowing that Brandon Sanderson is a beast of a writer who puts out books regularly, so no worries that the series won’t end up being finished.
Honestly, this is a hard series to give a brief synopsis of since it is so epic in scope, but I will do my best. Stormlight Archives is a multi-pov epic fantasy. It is set in a world where the class is separated by eye color. There are slaves, peasants, and high princes. We start with a war between two nations and follow a number of people who are involved in this war in some way.
Originally, there is no real magic left. People have lost their magic, but slowly, it starts to come back as worthy people begin to gain their powers to help defeat the ultimate evil.
Honestly, that synopsis doesn’t do the series justice, but trust me, these books are worth the read and, to me, the best series in the cosmere. I think that part of the reason that I think The Stormlight Archives is the best cosmere series is that it is the one that does the best job connecting all of the other series. They have the most direct cameos and connections to other books within the universe and I just love seeing that.
Mistborn Era 1 is the first cosmere book I personally read. It is what made me fall in love with Sanderson’s writing and set me on my cosmere reading journey. This series is also a great bridge between YA and adult fantasy.
It is another high fantasy multi-pov book, though not as massive as Stormlight. We follow Vin, a 16-year-old orphan living on the streets working as a con woman with a group of shady characters. She finds out through error that she is a Mistborn, someone who can use the magic of this world. This leads her to team up with a group of outlaws in an attempt to bring down the corrupt government.
This series is part heist, part epic fantasy, and even has one of my favorite book couples! While romance isn’t a big focus in this or any of Sanderson’s books, I feel like it is one of his best ones.
The Mistborn series is actually Sanderson’s only finished series (for the most part). Once you read Era 1, then there is a follow-up series that is called Mistborn Era 2. Era 2, starting with Alloy of Law, takes place 300 years after the end of the original trilogy and really expands the world. It is more steampunk western fantasy, lighter in tone, and really a good time! When it comes to Era 2 though, there are more comere connections that are obvious than there are in Era 1.
Next up is Warbreaker. This was a hard one to rank since I really love this standalone fantasy book. I think Mistborn eeks it out by just a little bit though.
As I said, this is a standalone fantasy book within the cosmere. Though, it is known that there will eventually be a sequel. It still stands on its own very well.
We follow two sisters, Siri and Vivenna. Vivenna is the oldest, raised to be the wife of the God-king. Siri is the youngest and is a free spirit who knows nothing of politics. When their father decides, last minute, to spare his favorite daughter and send Siri away to marry the God-king, she knows she is doomed to a life she isn’t prepared for. Vivenna is determined to save her sister, and Siri is determined to make the best of her terrifying situation.
This is probably the best fantasy romance of the cosmere. It may not be romance-heavy, but this is Sanderson romance at its best! Warbreaker is also a super important part of the cosmere. Once you get to the end of book two of Stormlight Archives, you will meet characters from this world over there. So while Stormlight may be my favorite cosmere book, Warbreaker needs to be read before it.
I honestly hate that I have to put a book in last place. It isn’t that I dislike Elantris, it just isn’t the best of the cosmere. Granted, this is Sanderson’s debut novel, so it isn’t too surprising that it tends to fall on most people’s least favorite cosmere list. That being said, it is still a great book and one you should read in order to really get everything out of the cosmere.
In Elantris, we follow 3 PoVs. A Prince, who contracts a terrible disease and must now live in the walled-in city of the infected. The betrothed of the former prince, who is still considered widowed even though they never met nor married. And finally, a radical priest trying to save the souls of the wicked.
This really is a fun standalone and does have a slight romance. The cosmere connections in this series really weren’t obvious (to me) until Rythm of War in the Stormlight Archives.
There are so many amazing cosmere books, it really was hard to rank my favorites, but here we have my attempt at a list. I would love to hear what you think are the best cosmere books!?!
As I’m sure you noticed, I did not include any of the novellas or short stories here. That would just be too much, but if you are wondering, Mistborn a Secret History is my favorite of those cosmere novellas.