Cosmere Reading Order | 4 Ways to Read Brandon Sanderson’s Books

Cosmere Reading Order

Brandon Sanderson is a prolific writer, but none of his works are more well-known than the books in his created universe, the Cosmere. If you’re new to Sanderson, you may be wondering about the best Cosmere reading order.

There are actually four ways to read the Cosmere books in order. The first is by order of Publication, the second is by order of series, the third is in chronological order, and finally Brandon Sanderson’s recommended path.

Let’s take a look at all four methods and determine which is the best Cosmere reading order for you.

QUICK NOTE: On March 1st, 2022, Brandon Sanderson surprised everyone and announced that he has written three more stand-alone Cosmere novels which will be released quarterly in 2023 to Kickstarter backers, and will be traditionally published at some unknown point after that.

Brandon Sanderson broke records and is the highest selling Kickstarter of all time with a total amount raised of $41 Million.

At this moment, information is limited about these secret projects. As we learn more, I’ll continually update my page on everything we know about Brandon Sanderson’s secret projects.

Cosmere Reading Order by Publication

I like to start this reading order lists with the most obvious reading order, and that’s by publication.

This is the order in which Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere books were written. It’s how millions of fans read the Cosmere books and it’s worthy of consideration for you as well.

So here is the Cosmere reading order by publication:

1. Elantris (2005)
2. The Hope of Elantris (Short Story) (2006)

Mistborn: Original Trilogy
3. The Final Empire (2006)
4. The Well of Ascension (2007)
5. Hero of Ages (2008)

6. Warbreaker (2009)

The Stormlight Archives
7. The Way of Kings (2010)

Mistborn: Wax & Wayne Series
8. The Alloy of Law (2011)

9. The Eleventh Metal (Short Story) (2012)
10. The Emporer’s Soul (Novella) (2012)

The Stormlight Archives Cont.
11. Words of Radiance (2014)

12. Sixth of the Dusk (Novella) (2014)
13. Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell (Novella) (2015)

Mistborn: Wax & Wayne Series Cont.
14. Shadows of Self (2015)
15. The Bands of Mourning (2016)
16. Mistborn: Secret History (Novella) (2016)

17. Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania (Short Story) (2016)
18. White Sand, Vol. 1 (Graphic Novel) (2016)

The Stormlight Archives Cont.
19. Edgedancer (Novella) (2016)
20. Oathbringer (2017)

21. White Sand, Vol. 2 (Graphic Novel) (2017)
22. White Sand, Vol. 3 (Graphic Novel) (2019)

The Stormlight Archives Cont.
23. Dawnshard (Novella) (2020)
24. Rhythm of War (2020)

Mistborn: Wax & Wayne Series Cont.
25. The Lost Metal (November 15, 2022)

26. Tress of the Emerald Sea (2023)
27. Yumi and the Nightmare Painter (2023)
28. The Sunlit Man (2023)

Cosmere Reading Order by Series

The Cosmere reading order by publication is a bit of a hot mess, no?

In this reading order, we’re going to arrange everything by series, keeping novellas and books in order of publication within the series themselves.

This Cosmere reading order is for the person who doesn’t like to jump around from series to series. You can follow one set of characters for the duration of your time in that world.

Be sure to read Warbreaker before starting the Stormlight Archive. There are some crossover characters that I completely missed the first time around because I read Stormlight before Warbreaker.

Elantris
Elantris
The Hope of Elantris (Short Story)
The Emporer’s Soul (Novella)

Mistborn
1. The Final Empire
2. The Well of Ascension
3. Hero of Ages
4. The Alloy of Law
The Eleventh Metal (Short Story)
5. Shadows of Self
6. The Bands of Mourning
Mistborn: Secret History (Novella)
7. The Lost Metal (November 15, 2022)

Standalones
Warbreaker
Sixth of the Dusk (Novella)
Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell (Novella)
Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania (Short Story)

The Stormlight Archives
1. The Way of Kings
2. Words of Radiance
2.5 Edgedancer (Novella)
3. Oathbringer
3.5 Dawnshard (Novella)
4. Rhythm of War

Taldain – Graphic Novels
1. White Sand, Vol. 1
2. White Sand, Vol. 2
3. White Sand, Vol. 3

Cosmere Reading Order Stormlight Archive Brandon Sanderson

The Cosmere in Chronological Order

Reading the Cosmere books in chronological order is the least recommended of the reading paths I’d recommend.

This list is accurate (as far as I’m aware) as of the time of writing, but as new books come out, it could be thrown off.

I will endeavor to update this list as much as possible, but no promises if I forget. Additionally, this reading method will be a little disjointed.

Be aware that there could be spoilers as is typical with this form of reading method. So I wouldn’t recommend it for newcomers. At the very least, DO NOT read Mistborn: Secret History where I list below if you a new reader. It contains major spoilers for the Mistborn series.

You’ll find this Cosmere reading order not too different from reading by series. It’s just slightly different as I still arranged that one in Publication order by series.

Here are the Cosmere books in chronological order:

Taldain – Graphic Novels
1. White Sand, Vol. 1
2. White Sand, Vol. 2
3. White Sand, Vol. 3

Elantris
Elantris
The Hope of Elantris (Short Story)
The Emporer’s Soul (Novella)

Mistborn: First Era
The Eleventh Metal (Short Story)
1. The Final Empire
Mistborn: Secret History (Novella)
2. The Well of Ascension
3. Hero of Ages

Warbreaker
Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell (Novella)

The Stormlight Archives
1. The Way of Kings
2. Words of Radiance
2.5 Edgedancer (Novella)
3. Oathbringer
3.5 Dawnshard (Novella)
4. Rhythm of War

Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania (Short Story)

Mistborn: Second Era
1. The Alloy of Law
2. Shadows of Self
3. The Bands of Mourning
4. The Lost Metal (November 15, 2022)

Sixth of the Dusk (Novella)

Brandon Sanderson’s Recommendation

I’ll keep this final one short. This Cosmere reading order is Brandon Sanderson’s recommended path according to his website.

Brandon himself says that you can start anywhere in the Cosmere as they are all self-contained stories. They do not overlap in any way.

The lore and world is continually shaped in each book in a way that will inform you of the cosmere, but the knowledge isn’t necessary for enjoying each series.

That said, Brandon strongly recommends against starting with Alloy of Law. Though a Book 1, it is technically Book 4 in the Mistborn world and contains spoilers for the original trilogy.

Here is the exact Cosmere reading order as Brandon has them listed on his website.

Mistborn
1. The Final Empire
2. The Well of Ascension
3. Hero of Ages
4. The Alloy of Law
The Eleventh Metal (Short Story)
5. Shadows of Self
6. The Bands of Mourning
Mistborn: Secret History (Novella)
7. The Lost Metal (November 15, 2022)

The Emporer’s Soul (Novella)

Elantris
Elantris
The Hope of Elantris (Short Story)

Warbreaker

The Stormlight Archives
1. The Way of Kings
2. Words of Radiance
2.5 Edgedancer (Novella)
3. Oathbringer
3.5 Dawnshard (Novella)
4. Rhythm of War

Brandon Sanderson doesn’t include any of the standalone novellas or graphic novels (besides Emporer’s Soul) in his list, so I’ve removed them here. We’ll assume you can read those whenever.

Update: I’ve now officially read every book in the Cosmere. How many have you read?

My own personal Cosmere reading order was a little different than any of the ones I listed here.

I read them like this: Mistborn 1-3, Stormlight 1-4, Mistborn 4-6, Elantris, Warbreaker.

I’ve read all the Cosmere novellas and short stories, too, but don’t remember exactly when I read them.

I’m patiently waiting for The Lost Metal to publish in November 2022, and I’ve already signed up for the highest tier Kickstarter for Brandon’s 2023 Subscription Box campaign.

If you love books by Brandon Sanderson, you might also like my book, Soul Render.

Looking for more books to read? Check out these 10 Books like Mistborn.

You might also be interested in checking out this full list of all Brandon Sanderson books in order.

3 thoughts on “Cosmere Reading Order | 4 Ways to Read Brandon Sanderson’s Books

  1. I’ve just started out with Elantris and I look forward to this mammoth universe. Your books look interesting as well; I shall make sure I check them out next! Thank you for this list.

    1. That’s how I would do it as well! For me, I read the first three Mistborns, then read all of Stormlight, then read the last three Mistborns, and then went back and did the standalones.

      If I were doing it again, I’d probably still read the Mistborn trilogy first, then I’d probably read the standalones. Because I felt like Stormlight was the best of all of them and I’d probably would have liked to have saved that for last.

      Plus, there’s a character in Stormlight that you’ll first meet in Warbreaker. It doesn’t hurt to read them the way I did. You wouldn’t even know that character was important, but it would have been nice to read Warbreaker first.

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