A few years ago, I wrote an article ranking all of the Cosmere books, so as it’s been a while, and new books have been released since, here is my list of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Books Ranked (eras 1 and 2).
The Alloy of Law
I remember when I first read The Alloy of Law, I was pretty disappointed, but my mind has changed over time, especially with a reread. Sure, it’s still my least favourite Mistborn book, but I definitely prefer it now.
This is probably due to it being a reread. I knew what was coming, later on in the book and in the series too, so I could see the bits of foreshadowing, and I loved the characters because of who they would turn out to be.
Maybe that means it’s not a great book, as I only like it because of the next three in Era 2, but I think that’s okay. It’s a great start to a far more epic narrative that you might expect, and definitely worth a read.
The Bands of Mourning
I really enjoyed The Bands of Mourning! Coming off the exciting ending of Shadows of Self, wanting to know more about that world and the answers to my many questions, The Bands of Mourning was a satisfying and enjoyable read.
This is the book where I finally understood Wax and Wayne as characters and started to see why so many other readers love them. I then had to wait quite a while for the next book, which was very difficult considering everything that was hinted to come…!
Shadows of Self
The second book in Mistborn Era 2, Shadows of Self, makes up for The Alloy of Law’s slightly rocky start and sets up the rest of the series very well. You begin to connect with the characters, especially Wayne in this book, and the larger story starts to become a little clearer.
The Final Empire
The Final Empire (sometimes just called Mistborn now) was my entrypoint to Brandon Sanderson’s work, and even modern fantasy, so I have a soft spot for it in my heart. The story is everything fantasy needed to kick it into the modern era.
Vin is a great main character, and the crew she gets involved with, led by the infamous Kelsier, is one of the best of its kind in fiction. And the stakes are high, straight from book 1: the dark lord has won already, so there is one hell of an uphill climb for our protagonist and friends.
The Hero of Ages
As the final book in the Era 1 trilogy, The Hero of Ages, is one of the most satisfying and exciting endings to a series I have read. For the final third of the book you are hit with revelation after revelation, clearly planned out from the beginning by Sanderson, because they work so well.
And this is also the first hint of something larger going on in the universe: the Cosmere. You finish this trilogy wanting more of that, which I think is why I struggled with The Alloy of Law, when I first read it.
The Lost Metal
As the latest novel in the Mistborn series, and the final entry of Era 2, The Lost Metal had a lot of hype to live up to. Opinions are pretty divided, but I’m in the camp of readers who loved it. I wanted more Cosmere links, and I got it.
I can see where some of the criticism might come from, as if you are not well read with Sanderson’s other work, you might feel a little lost, but I do think this book covers enough for any reader to enjoy it.
The Well of Ascension
And finally, my favourite Mistborn book is The Well of Ascension. This might surprise a lot of people as it’s not always the popular pick, but it is exactly what I love from fantasy. It’s the political stuff I got a lot from in this book; political fantasy done well is just so engaging and exciting.
It doesn’t suffer middle-book-syndrome and advances the plot of the trilogy well, while being a great independent story too.
So, that is my new ranking for the Mistborn books. I am currently in the middle of a reread of The Stormlight Archive, so I will release an updated ranking for those books some time in the future.