10 Best Cosmere Books Series According To Their Reading Order

The Cosmere Books Series consist of epic fantasy tales written by Brandon Sanderson. Events in the book series date back to prehistoric times when there was a Godly figure or supernatural being named Adonalsium. However, a mysterious event occurred that resulted in the death of Adonalsium in the hands of 16 conspirators. Upon his death, his remains were shattered into 16 pieces (or shards) which became the powers of creation. 16 different people picked up these 16 different pieces.

Subsequently, it was revealed that each shard represented an ideal that is the action or mission intended to achieve. The shards also have magical powers and as such, whoever picked any one of them was endowed with the magic in the shard. Furthermore, they were possessed by the shard which controlled and directed their actions. As the series unfolds, the shards exerted their powers on different peoples and planets, using those that picked them up as vessels or mediums.

10 Best Cosmere Book Series You Must Read 

While Brandon Sanderson’s books are quite engaging and interesting to read, there is no approved reading order for the incredible Cosmere Book Series. How you choose to read them is up to you and though the books are interconnected, each one is self-sufficient and can be enjoyed without reading the one before it but for a few exceptions. It would also be fine if you decide to read them according to the batch they belong to despite the publication order. Regardless, we have compiled below 10 of the best Cosmere book series you would love to read at any time:

1. Elantris

  • Publication Date: April 21, 2005
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Language (s): English, French, German, and Spanish
  • Print Length: 496
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This is Brandon Sanderson’s first and most popular work with over a hundred editions. Elantris is set in the fictional Cosmere universe and revolves around 3 major characters; Prince Raoden, Princess Sarene, and Gyorn Hrathen. Arelon had its capital at Elantris, a beautiful place with its people blessed with magical powers which they used for the common good of all. These people are more like demigods, however, they were once normal beings until they were possessed by the magical powers of the Shard which transformed them into demigods.

Sadly, the glory of Elantris departs as her magical inhabitants lose their powers without prior notice. They become cursed and the once beautiful and prosperous Elantris appears deserted and Kae becomes Arelon’s new capital. More so, Princess Sarene arrives for a state wedding with Crown Prince Raoden but learns that Prince Raoden had died and she is now his widow. More crisis unfolds and Princess Sarene though bereaved had to help her subjects as she uses her royal status and influence to try to subdue the powers of Hrathen, a high priest of Fjordell who was on a mission to convert Arelon for his god and emperor.

2. The Final Empire

  • Publication Date: July 17th, 2006
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 541
Brandon Sanderson
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In this series, the Cosmere Universe was a wasteland for a thousand years as the Lord Ruler, the Silver of Infinity, reigned over his subjects (the Skaa) with terror because he had the powers of invincibility. When almost all hope was lost, the terrible prison of the Lord Ruler was rediscovered by a half-Skaa. Kelsier also discovered that he had the powers of a Mistborn and he enlisted the help of elites of the underworld and he set out to destroy the divine despot. He also recruits the services of Vin, a half-Skaa orphan to complete his criminal crew. Will Kelsier and his team defeat the Lord Ruler?

3.  The Well of Ascension

  • Publication Date: August 21st, 2007
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 590
Brandon Sanderson
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In this Cosmere edition, Lord Ruler was defeated after a thousand years of his reign of terror. The tale is tragic as Kelsier who was the brain behind his defeat also dies and the responsibility to rebuild the world ruined by the Lord Ruler falls on the shoulders of young Vin who had been trained by Kelsier to become the most powerful Mistborn in the land. However, Vin is uncomfortable by the reverence she receives from the people as a new religion springs up. More so, the change in the people’s behavior following the death of Lord Ruler also bothers her. Vin and the rest of the team built by Kelsier have to fill the void in leadership in the biggest city of the former empire.

Unfortunately, neither Vin nor her crew members have the skills to run the affairs in a city as large as Luthadel. The absence of the Lord Ruler’s most powerful ‘allomantic’ metal and cache of atrium also adds to the challenges they have to face to run Luthadel. However, all hope is not lost for the crew as an ancient legend could help them save the day. The solution would be the Well of Ascension but no one knows if the well truly exists and the type of powers that it holds.

4. The Hero of Ages

  • Publication Date: October 14th, 2008
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 472
Brandon Sanderson
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The world is beset with gloom once again following the death of Lord Ruler. There are heavy ashfalls, mist, and earthquakes rocking the world. Emperor Elend Venture is determined to find any clues left behind by the Lord Ruler that can help him to save the world as he had escaped death by virtue of being a Mistborn at The Well of Ascension.

However, Vin feels guilty for falling for the trick to release Ruin, a mystic force from the well. Ruin is a demigod who has the power to manipulate reality. Ruin is set to destroy the world and there is little or nothing that can be done to prevent it. Vin is unable to discuss any plans to defeat Ruin with Elend for fear that Ruin will learn of their plans with its mystic powers.

5. The Way of Kings

  • Publication Date: August 31st, 2010
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 1007
Brandon Sanderson
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The Way of Kings is an entry into The Stormlight Archive. The story is set in Roshar, a world of storms and stone. The place is generally prone to natural disasters which have shaped its landmarks. The few cities within it are built where the ground and weather permits. More so, the Knights Radiant which constitutes the 10 consecrated orders from centuries back has their Shardplates and Shardblades still intact.

These Shardblades and Shardplates consist of swords and suits of armor which have magical powers that are capable of transforming a weakling into an invincible warrior. These made them a treasure to hunt and one that was well sought after to the extent that rulers traded kingdoms for them. Many wars were also waged to acquire and protect these plates and blades.

6. The Alloy of Law

  • Publication Date: November 8th, 2011
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 332
Brandon Sanderson
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In The Alloy of Law, Scadrial is on the part of modernization 300 hundred years after the devastation that gripped Mistborn. There are railways, electric street lights, and steel-framed skyscrapers springing up. Kelsier and his crew are now buried in history and religion. Despite the achievements in science and technology, the ancient magic of Feruchemy and Allomancy is still at work. These powers are still being used by men and women of valor in the Roughs trying to establish justice and order.

Waxillium Ladrian is a rare Twinborn. He is able to use Allomancy and Feruchemy to push on metals and make them lighter or heavier. Wax is later on forced to return to the metropolis of Elendel following a family tragedy after 20 years in the Roughs. He has to take up the duties of an incumbent of a noble house and put away his weapons. He learns the hard way that the streets of a modern city can be as dangerous as those in the Roughs.

7. Words of Radiance

  • Publication Date: March 4th, 2014
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 1087
Brandon Sanderson
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Words of Radiance tells the story of how Kaladin survives his attack and his enemies who had wished him a miserable death are dismayed. He is put in charge of the royal bodyguards and becomes the first Darkeyes – a person of low status to hold such a noble position. He now has to protect the King and Dalinar from disasters and the Assassin as well as secretly gain a mastery of the new powers associated with Syl, his ‘honorspen’.

The Assassin, Szeth, unleashes his terror on Roshar, killing rulers with his mystical powers which makes it possible to overpower bodyguards and outrun pursuers. One of Szeth’s major targets is Dalinar the High Prince who is thought to be the powerful force behind the throne of Alethi.

In this edition, the character Shallan is also seen as she tries everything all within her powers to stop the return of the Voidbringers. The return of these legendary Voidbringers could bring an end to civilization and open the doors to an era of Desolation. For this reason, Shallan despite being broken in so many ways sets out on a dangerous journey to the Shattered Plains which holds the secrets she needs to succeed.

8. Shadows of Self

  • Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 383
Brandon Sanderson
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In Shadows of Self, technology and magic intertwine in the Mistborn society. There is robust economic growth in the society and as democracy begins to get a firm hold, corruption becomes a threat to be dealt with. More so, four religious groups fight to convert the people to their faiths and this budding modern society is shaken by unexpected terrorist attacks which leads to religious conflicts. However, this ugly situation is arrested by Wax – Wayne Marasi to ensure the growth of Scadrial.

9. The Bands of Mourning

  • Publication Date: January 26th, 2016
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 448
Brandon Sanderson
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Scadrial has acquired the looks and features of the modern world but its past still lurks over it. The Bands of Mourning which belonged to the Lord Ruler are believed to instill in anyone that wears them the same powers that the Lord Ruler had in his lifetime. The Bands of Mourning are magical metals whose existence cannot be ascertained by anyone. When a Kandra researcher returned to Elendel in Scadrial with images that matched the description of the Bands of Mourning and writings in an unknown language, the interest in their bands was reignited. Waxillium Ladrian sets out to New Seran to investigate the findings of the researcher. On this journey, he discovers the true intentions of his uncle Edward and an underground establishment called The Set.

10. Oathbringer

  • Publication Date: November 14th, 2017
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 1248
Brandon Sanderson
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The world is engulfed in desolation as the Voidbringers return with an unquenchable desire for vengeance. More so, the Alethi armies led by Dalinar Kholin have won a major battle but the cost may outweigh the victory. Parshendi is also seen as he summons a violent storm called Everstorm to rage across the land. This raging storm destroys everything on its part and awakens the docile Parshmen to the realization that they have been enslaved for a millennium by humans. Kaladin tries to notify his family of impending doom but has to accept the possibility of the reawakened anger of Parshmen.

Criteria For Our Reading Order

The reading order provided here is not absolute, however, we put into consideration the publication dates before we created this order. Also, note that some books were left out within the series to accommodate the selected 10 that have been discussed above. But following through with this order will definitely keep you in tune with Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere series.

A Comprehensive List of The Cosmere Series According to Their Publication Order

  1. Elantris
  2. The Hope of Elantris – Short story
  3. The Final Empire
  4. The Well of Ascension
  5. The Hero of Age
  6. Warbreaker
  7. The Way of Kings
  8. The Alloy of Law
  9. The Eleventh Metal – Short story.
  10. The Emperor’s Soul – Novella.
  11. Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell – Novella
  12. Words of Radiance
  13. Sixth of the Dusk – Novella
  14. Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania – Short story.
  15. Shadows of Self
  16. The Bands of Mourning
  17. Mistborn: Secret History – Novella.
  18. White Sand Vol. 1
  19. Edgedancer – Novella
  20. Arcanum Unbounded – Collects all the short stories and novellas.
  21. Oathbringer
  22. White Sand Vol. 2
  23. White Sand Vol. 3
  24. Dawnshard – Novella
  25. Rhythm of War
  26. The Lost Metal (Coming out soon)
Tyna G
Tyna is passionate about sharing authentic news and giving her readers great content. Apart from writing, she is a music enthusiast who enjoys watching good movies

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