Hello from the Cosmere
I read a ton of epic/high fantasy whenever I get the time. This has perhaps been my only consistent genre over the years, while Ive flipped in and out of others. One of my favourite (pretty high on the list) fantasy authors is Brandon Sanderson. His world building and character development is stunning and unlike any Ive ever read.
Ive read a LOT of books by Sanderson - Most of his series take place on different worlds with uniquely creative powers and ecosystems but they are all loosely connected to a universe, a Cosmere. The one thing Ive always been at a loss over, after finishing his books, is collecting my thoughts and writing about them. Something about the larger-than-life universe overwhelms me.
I read the original Mistborn trilogy around 8 years ago and very successfully introduced most of my class-fellows to Cosmere fandom. I decided to re-read the original trilogy this year in order to be all primed (and caught up) to read the next books in the series. At a glance, after stripping it of all fantastical and magical elements, Mistborn seems like a classic tale of good versus evil and the struggle of the oppressed against the high powers. But evil is a very simplistic term as you begin to read this book unraveling secrets, questioning long held perceptions and wondering - maybe evil is necessary?
*curtain rises* The Mistborn world is that of darkness, despair and mystery. During the day there is a perpetual ash-fall from the skies and at night mists envelop the land. The oppressed class of Skaa toil in their fields and factories under the iron grip of the noble houses who play powerful politics in their keeps and carry powers of Allomancy in their bloodlines. The Allomantic powers manifest upon ingesting and burning different kinds of metal - each metal is tied to a unique power. Burning steel allows you to push against metals, pewter enhances your physical strength, zinc lets you inflame emotions and so on - there are a number of other metals with different properties - but not everyone has these powers which makes them so much more coveted and feared. The few people who do have these powers can burn only one metallic attribute. But there are even fewer among them who can burn all metals - Mistborns.
The story follows a crew of Skaa thieves and rebels and they plot to throw the last emperor, a despot who grants Allomantic powers, and has been ruling for nearly a millennia. They build armies, spy on noble houses, plot, conspire and scheme. Sanderson crafts an unforgettable cast of characters that grow with you as you revel in their success and despair in their failures. Over the next three books, the one thing that remains consistent is the realization that there is always another secret and nothing is as it seems.
The Wax and Wayne Trilogy takes place 300 years after the original Mistborn trilogy. It is very interesting to see how the characters from the original trilogy find their place in the subsequent books as figures of religion, theology and legends. It also offers you an insight into how history is distorted over time with minor changes in truth translating into major deviations over centuries. The Misborn world 300 years later is on the cusp of an industrial revolution where allomancers are trying to craft their powers around a changing world.
My first impression of the sequel trilogy was western gunslingers meeting allomancy. It’s very interesting to see urban fantasy, epic fantasy and allomantic powers colliding in the new world. The secrets of the past are still there and catching up with the times. You get a new cast with appearances from some old characters heading out into new quests and adventures. Unlike the original trilogy, these books have a more standalone nature with some threads connecting the books together. They’re also shorter, with a lot more witty banter and incredible female lead characters.
If you want dip your toe sin Brandon Sandersons Cosmere - I would recommend the reading order given in this list. It has multiple series in order of events/overarching plot. It’s no small undertaking, but if you’re an enthusiast like me with a love for world building - it will blow your socks off.
I am off to the read the Rhythm of War so I can finish this year with a bang (or vice versa depending on how the book ends)
See you next year and all that jazz,