From epic high fantasy and graphic novels to superhero sci-fi and kids books about evil librarians, the works of Brandon Sanderson are fantastic. But with more than 70 publications in his catalog, according to WordsRated, it can be tough to know where to start. But don’t worry, there is actually more than one good place to start.

Who is Brandon Sanderson?

Brandon Sanderson is a bestselling high fantasy and science-fiction author. Born and raised in Nebraska, Sanderson attended Brigham Young University and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Korea before settling in Utah.

Sanderson currently teaches a creative writing class at BYU and his company, Dragonsteel Entertainment, is headquartered in American Fork. His first book, “Elantris,” was published in 2005. Since then, he has published dozens of novels, novellas, short stories and graphic novels, with more on the way.

Cosmeres, Cytoverses, standalones and other series

Besides how extensive the list of Sanderson’s works are, there is another wrinkle when it comes to figuring out where to start.

Sanderson’s book come in two groups.

  • The first group involves his created universes, which he has dubbed the “Cosmere” and the “Cytoverse.” They are his own literary versions of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or DC Extended Universe. The Cosmere is fantasy and the Cytoverse is science fiction, and there are several series and standalone stories within these universes.
  • The second group is his other series and other standalone stories independent of these universes. This group features gritty super hero stories, time-traveling wizards and a middle-grade fiction series about a foster child taking on a secret cult that rules the world.

We’ll take a look at where to start in each of the universes and with the independent series and stories.

Where do I start reading the Cosmere?

The Cosmere universe has by far the most stories in it. According to Sanderson, most of the them can be enjoyed independently, though there is a fair bit of character crossover and Easter eggs going on throughout. To be honest, in order to truly enjoy the full breadth of the Cosmere, you’ll probably need to read everything in it at least twice.

That being said, you need to start somewhere. Here are the best places to start in the Cosmere:

  • Elantris” — Standalone (for now). Sanderson’s first published novel, it follows a prince, his fiance-to-be and a priest as they navigate the fallen city of Elantris.
  • Warbreaker” — Standalone (also for now). A rebellious daughter is sent to marry a magical tyrant-god, her sister goes to save her and a mysterious vagabond with a magic sword tries to achieve goals known only to him.
  • The Emperor’s Soul” — Standalone novella, included in the “Arcanum Unbounded” collection. A thief and magical forger is arrested and tasked with forging a new soul for the emperor of the land.
  • Mistborn: The Final Empire” — The first novel in the Mistborn Saga. Full of romance and action, a young girl joins a gang of magical thieves to take down a Dark Lord.
  • The Way of Kings” — The first novel in The Stormlight Archive. This masterful epic follows a haunted soldier, a troubled artist and a troubled commander with visions of the world ending.

Where do I start reading the Cytoverse?

The science-fiction Cytoverse is much easier to navigate than the Cosmere. It consists of one series, one novella series, and one independent novella. The best place to start in the Cytoverse is:

  • Skyward” — First novel in the series. A girl dreams of overcoming the reputation of her father to become a pilot and defend against the aliens attacking her homeworld.

After Skyward, you can make your way through the other novels and novellas.

Where do I start reading Brandon Sanderson’s other stories?

That depends on what you want to read.

  • If you are interested in a gritty, dystopian superhero series, try “Steelheart,” the first book in The Reckoners series.
  • If you are looking for a fun story for a young reader, start with “Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians,” the first book in the “Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians” series.
  • The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England” is a fun standalone story about a time-traveling wizard and a good way to get a taste of Sanderson’s style.
  • The Rithmatist” is a good place for young adult readers to start. It’s a story about a boy who wants to be a Rithmatist, a magician who can bring two-dimensional figures to life.

If none of this sounds like the fit for you, check here for a more complete list of Sanderson’s works and see if there is something else of his you want to read.

Where can I get Brandon Sanderson’s books?

Sanderson’s books are available as paperbacks, hardcovers, e-books and audiobooks. You can get them pretty much anywhere you get books, whether that is at a bookstore like Barnes and Noble, online on Amazon or directly from Sanderson’s company, on e-book readers like Kindle, or on Audible, Spotify or wherever you get audiobooks.