Introducing: Cruising The Cosmere
Show of hands: how many of you started reading Brandon Sanderson’s books with no idea of what the Cosmere would be? When I picked up Mistborn way back before his first Wheel of Time book came out, my entire goal was to get a sense of the writing style of this Sanderson guy who was taking over one of my favourite series. I’d never heard of him. Needless to say, I was hooked on Mistborn, I loved his version of Randland, and then over the course of a few years I read most of what he had written at that point. I think I grabbed Elantris next, then The Way of Kings. I found Warbreaker before Words of Radiance came out, which turned out to be a good thing, and that was the first time I realized – hang on, that Hoid character is the same guy every time! Wait, do these books all take place in the same world?
A quick Google search introduced me to the idea of the Cosmere and I was fascinated. I suspect the only reason I hadn’t noticed it for so long was that I read the books all out of order and spaced over the course of at least five years. I was still thinking of Sanderson as “that guy who took over Wheel of Time” rather than a fabulous author in his own right. Once I figured out what he was up to though, the idea sparked in me to do a full reread with an eye to catching each glimpse of the Cosmere. By that time his body of work was intimidatingly large however, and I had to put it off.
But now it’s time! Buckle in dear readers, because we’re taking a tour of the Cosmere, one book at a time. Over the course of a truly ridiculous number of months I will be reading my way through every book, novella, and short story set in the Cosmere. I will be including the new Stormlight Archive book Oathbringer in this once it comes out and I will post once or twice a month with my progress, impressions, and thoughts.
WARNING: THIS REREAD WILL INCLUDE SPOILERS!
Since it’s a reread rather than a series of reviews, I’ll largely focus on plot elements and how they intertwine across worlds. I’ll talk about magic systems, world-hoppers, and the Shards. There will be wild speculation! There will be laughing, yelling, capslock, and excited bouncing! I expect to be thrilled by all the new things I discover as I read these interlocking series with an eye to their continuity.
I encourage you to read along with me as I take this magical cruise. Leave comments with your own insights and thoughts, post about it in the forum, and clue me in when I inevitably miss a hint. If there’s something you think I should pay more attention to in the next book, I want to hear about it! I’ll read one book a month, which should be ample time for everyone to keep up. In the case of short stories and novellas I will either read more than one in a single month, or tack them on before or after the main novel of the month. For example, if I read Elantris in April then I would read both “The Hope of Elantris” and The Emperor’s Soul in May.
A NOTE: Although considerable detail has been added by Sanderson at conventions and in interviews about how the Cosmere works, I’ll be focusing on what’s written in the books themselves. I know “Word of Brandon” is semi-canonical, but authors change and develop their ideas all the time, and it’s possible that something he revealed to a fan three years ago might not hold true six years down the line as he starts a brand-new series that he hasn’t even outlined yet. For the sake of cohesion I will be treating published books, novellas, and short stories as canon, and will at the most mention a WoB explanation as a possible answer to mysteries.
My readthrough will be in this order:
“The Hope of Elantris”
The Emperor’s Soul
Mistborn Series One:
– The Final Empire
– The Well of Ascension
– The Hero of Ages
Mistborn: Secret History
Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell
The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance
Mistborn Series Two:
– The Alloy of Law
– Shadows of Self
– Bands of Mourning
– The Lost Metal (if it’s out)
“The Eleventh Metal”
Sixth of the Dusk
I’m reasonably sure that covers the Cosmere! Depending on how long it takes (I estimate about 15 months, but we’ll see) there might be any number of new things popping up though – I am constantly amazed by how many projects Sanderson has going at any given time. I hope The Lost Metal will be out by the time I get to Wax and Wayne, but if not I will just have to wait impatiently.
I can’t wait to go on this cruise with all of you, and I hope you’re looking forward to it too! My first book will be Elantris, so watch your step and pack your soulstone – we’re going to Sel.