Ranking the Cosmere Books - The Fantasy Review

Ranking the Cosmere Books

Why You Should Read Mistborn

I have read all of the main cosmere books, so they are the ones that I’m listing below. The system for the cosmere books ranked here is based purely on my enjoyment of the book, rather than looking at the individual novels in a literary sense – but of course those opinions often overlap!

Although I have ranked these books in order from “least enjoyed” to “most enjoyed”, I enjoyed reading all of them, so if you’re looking for some negative reviews for Brandon Sanderson’s cosmere books, you’re looking in the wrong place!

The Cosmere Books Ranked

11 – Elantris

elantris Brandon Sanderson's cosmere books ranked

I have a soft spot in my heart for this book. I didn’t get around to it until I’d already finished Warbreaker and The Mistborn Trilogy, so I was already in love with the cosmere and Sanderson’s writing style.

This is the book where it all began – not literally. As the first book Brandon Sanderson had published, it is obviously not up to the standard of his other books. It is certainly not up to the standard of other debut fantasy books that come out now – e.g. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang – however it is still a story worth reading.

I loved reading this book because I could see how far Brandon Sanderson had come in such a short space of time. If you compared The Final Empire to Elantris, you’d think there had been 20 years between them, but The Mistborn Trilogy was Sanderson’s second publication.

So, even though when ranking the cosmere books this comes bottom of the list, I still love it and would happily reread it in the future sometime when I want something relaxing to fall back into.

10 – The Alloy of Law

the alloy of law Brandon Sanderson's cosmere books ranked

The reason I didn’t like this book is probably mostly my own fault. I had just finished reading Mistborn Era 1, so I was on the high that that finale gave me.

The Alloy of Law is a very different book written in a very different style with new characters that seem nothing like what I was used to!

I rushed into Mistborn Era 2, and that’s completely my own, fault. The only things that I stand by is that Wax is not developed enough in this book for me to like him much.

Wayne is a little better, but he only gets away with it because he’s funny – that’s it. The later books massively make up for this entry.

9 – Warbreaker

warbreaker Brandon Sanderson's cosmere books ranked

As a standalone novel, I thought Warbreaker was pretty damn good! Sanderson certainly has more of a knack of writing a series of books, however, as given the time, his characters and world will become well developed and explored.

I felt like this book might have been better of the overall story was told over several books – or there was more to it.

I am aware that a second book has been planned, so I’m hoping to see more of this world and its characters!

8 – The Bands of Mourning

cosmere books ranked

The Bands of Mourning was fantastic! Finally, we got to see what we all wanted to see in the first place; more story built off the first era trilogy.

Wax and Wayne also became some of my favourite characters, as well as the others in this series who began to stand out on their own. It took a little while to feel epic, this series, but it’s worth the wait.

7 – Oathbringer

oathbringer Brandon Sanderson's cosmere books ranked

Oathbringer, the third book in The Stormlight Archive is a brilliant book, but it took me 6 months to read it… I think it is because I got a little bored around the 40% point and stopped reading it for a few months.

The funny thing is, once I picked it up again, it soon began to pick up again and things started happening!

I am so glad I came back and finished this book – otherwise I would have been missing out on the continuation of one of the best epic fantasy series currently being written (and it wouldn’t have been rated so highly when ranking the cosmere books!).

6 – The Final Empire

the final empire Brandon Sanderson's cosmere books ranked

This is the first Sanderson book I ever read and I think it should be everyone’s first foray into the cosmere.

Vin is a fantastic main character to follow in The Final Empire as she is taken from being a street urchin to a powerful hero (no more spoilers in case you haven’t read them yet).

The world, the plot, the themes – everything about this book is incredible.

5 – The Hero of Ages

cosmere books ranked

The final book of Mistborn Era 1 has one hell of an ending that not only sets us up for Era 2, but it gives all of our heroes a send off so brilliant, I don’t think I’ve seen a better ending since The Return of the King!

I loved how far the characters had all come and how far they still had to go. The reveals in this book were jaw dropping, and the set up for Era 2 had be straight into The Alloy of Law (even though that was a bit of a mistake on my part!)

3 – Shadows of Self

shadows of self Brandon Sanderson's cosmere books ranked

This book saved Mistborn Era 2 for me. After The Alloy of Law, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever want to continue with the series – I was just going to focus on The Stormlight Archive instead.

Luckily, I picked Shadows of Self up and I couldn’t let it go.

Wayne’s character sold this book for me. He became complex, intriguing, and so much fun to be around!

The plot itself became more interesting to me as it linked a little to the larger world, and that’s the sort of story I wanted from this book.

3 – Words of Radiance

words of radiance Brandon Sanderson's cosmere books ranked

This was a massive book, but after finishishing The Way of Kings, I jumped right into Words of Radiance and burned through it in less than a week.

I was so surprised by the ease in which this book could be read. If it wasn’t for Shallan’s storyline being a tiny bit disappointing for me, this might just have been ranked #2 on this ranking the cosmere books list!

2 – The Well of Ascension

the well of ascension Brandon Sanderson's cosmere books ranked

This is an incredible second book of a trilogy. The Well of Ascension changed tack from the first book, as rather than being a fantasy heist story it was more of a political intrigue, and I loved it!

It reminded me of some Trudi Canavan books that I used to read all the time.

I found the slower pace allowed the world to develop and become more exposed to the reader without lots of other things detracting from the incredible world that Sanderson has created. It also allowed character such as Elend to shine a little more than in the first book.

1 – The Way of Kings

cosmere books ranked

The first book of Sanderson’s epic (to-be) 10-book series, The Way of Kings, is the perfect beginning to one of the best stories I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Kaladin is the main character in this entry. His underdog plotline is what kept me hooked, so I kept on reading even when I was thrown one way and then the other with all the different POV’s and new settings and flashbacks I struggled to keep up with!

This is not for someone new to Sanderson’s work, but if you loved Mistborn then this is the natural progression for you as you know that if you work through the harder chapters to begin with, it will all pay off.

The payoff in this book is immense!

cosmere books ranked

Read all of my reviews for Brandon Sanderson’s books HERE

Owner and Editor of The Fantasy Review. Loves all fantasy and science fiction books, graphic novels, TV and Films. Having completed a BA and MA in English Literature and Creative writing, they would like to go on to do a PhD. Favourite authors are Trudi Canavan, Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson.

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