The Fantasy Review’s beginner’s guide to The Stormlight Archive epic fantasy series by Brandon Sanderson.
Overview of Our Beginner’s Guide to The Stormlight Archive
The Stormlight Archive is part of Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere, a shared universe for most of his adult fantasy books. The Mistborn series, as well as Elantris, Warbreaker, and even the White Sand graphic novels are also set in this universe, only on different planets.The Stormlight Archive takes place on the planet Roshar, one of thirteen planets in the Rosharan system.This planet is known for its regular highstorms which the flora and fauna have adapted to.
The Magic System
Magic users on Roshar are known as Surgebinders, with their power coming from the use of Stormlight. If we explain any more than this, too much of the mystery will be revealed before you get a chance to read the books, but it is fair to say that this magic system is intriguing, in-depth, very cool to experience, and becomes even more wondrous the more we learn about it.
Each book in The Stormlight Archive follows one main character, with them having plenty of flashback chapters to show how they came to be where they are in the present. The first book, The Way of Kings, follows Kaladin who is a slave. Despite there being a main character, there are many POV characters in these books, some with only one or two sections within Interludes. Some notable main characters for the first book include: Kaladin, Dalinar, Shallan and Szeth.
The Stormlight Archive Books in Order
There are currently four main books in The Stormlight Archive, all of which are over 1000 pages! There are also a couple of novellas you should read which take place between the books. If you don’t read the novellas, you won’t struggle reading the main books or anything, but they are great, extended introductions of characters who will become increasingly important in future books. These novellas also show you more of Roshar which is always great!The Stormlight Archive books in order are as follows:
- The Way of Kings
- Words of Radiance
- Edgedancer (Novella)
- Dawnshard (Novella)
- Rhythm of War
If you want to know more about Roshar and The Cosmere, or get the latest updates from Brandon Sanderson and his team, here are some useful links:
- Brandon Sanderson’s Website
- Coppermind: The Brandon Sanderson Wiki – BEWARE SPOILERS
- Brandon Sanderson’s Twitter
- Brandon Sanderson’s YouTube Channel