Sanderson. Where to start then?

Ryan W. Mueller

Journeyed there and back again
#21
My suggestion is to start with the first Mistborn book, Elantris, or Warbreaker. I don't get the hate for Elantris and Warbreaker. I loved them (and I'm eagerly awaiting the sequels). I don't think The Way of Kings is the best book to start with because it takes a while to get going, and I think you need to trust Sanderson first.

You could also try some of his shorter stuff. The Emperor's Soul (set in the same world as Elantris but not really connected all that much) won the Hugo for best novella. He's also written some great Cosmere short stories with Sixth of the Dusk and Shadows for Silence in the Forest of Hell.

There's also his non-Cosmere stuff, which is generally for younger audiences.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#22
I didn't like Warbreaker. I thought too many elements of the worldbuilding were dumb. A few of my least favorite:

  • talking swords
  • reanimated dead squirrels

And if the censoring sex thing bothers you from the other books, it's kind of dealt with in Warbreaker and it's painfully awkward.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#23
I wouldn't see a problem starting off with either Elantris, Warbreaker or Mistborn. Elantris was my personal fave, so if you're in the mood for a standalone, go with that in my opinion.

And for what it's worth, my personal favourite public toilets, based on my rather limited international defacating, are in Italy. Lovely facilities all round!
 

MrMarbles

Fought a battle in the name of the old gods
#25
Why not start with Elantris? It was his first, and where I started. I really liked it, thought it was a great story. Honestly, following his publication chronology would probably work well considering his overall Cosmere strategy of linking all his fantasy series together in the greater Cosmer universe.

So yes! I recommend Elantris, then the Mistborn trilogy, then Warbreaker, and then the rest. Emperor's Soul might be my personal favorite :D
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#27
Come in , we're all adults here (kinda). Whenever I read the interaction between Elend and Viv all I could think was 1 thing; why don't they freaking bone!?
Not exactly the kind of stuff I'm looking for when I'm trying to find good fantasy so it doesn't bother me that much:D
 

Amaryllis

Journeyed there and back again
#28
Why isn't Elantris a good starting point? Pardon if I simply missed the post explaining it. It is a standalone and seems pretty representative of him as a writer, containing all the 'essentially Sanderson' standbys. The world is a tad less imagined than that of this other works, but no worse than a majority of fantasy.
 

Ryan W. Mueller

Journeyed there and back again
#29
Come in , we're all adults here (kinda). Whenever I read the interaction between Elend and Viv all I could think was 1 thing; why don't they freaking bone!?
I don't see the issue with this at all. I'm not reading fantasy to read about sex. In fact, I don't think I've ever read a sex scene that I think has added anything meaningful to a plot.

It's also possible that the characters just aren't that big on sex. You know, those kind of people do exist.
 

Ryan W. Mueller

Journeyed there and back again
#30
Why isn't Elantris a good starting point? Pardon if I simply missed the post explaining it. It is a standalone and seems pretty representative of him as a writer, containing all the 'essentially Sanderson' standbys. The world is a tad less imagined than that of this other works, but no worse than a majority of fantasy.
I agree. At first, I didn't like Elantris as much as some of the others. But it's really stuck with me since I've read it. Plus, Hrathen is probably the best character Sanderson has ever written (and I'm a fan of most of his characters).
 

Ryan W. Mueller

Journeyed there and back again
#31
Didn't they have sex? I figured it was kind of implied that they were. They share a bed - I remember her slipping in and out from her nightly patrols.
Yeah, people can have sex without the author showing it. Just as I respect authors like Abercrombie or Martin who show everything in all its detail, I also respect authors like Sanderson who choose not to show it at all. It doesn't make the books feel any less real.
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#32
At first, I didn't like Elantris as much as some of the others. But it's really stuck with me since I've read it. Plus, Hrathen is probably the best character Sanderson has ever written (and I'm a fan of most of his characters).
Spot on, I feel exactly the same.

@Amaryllis Elantris is a good starting point. I wish I had begun with it and not with Mistborn, my experience with Elantris was at first a bit of a let down, only because Mistborn set the bar so high for me. But just as with Ryan the story really made an impression.

It's just that, Mistborn is generally viewed as being pretty amazing, so chances are the person reading it will want to read Elantris next. However if they were to start with Elantris which is seen as a pretty decent novel, nothing spectacular, they might not want to give Mistborn or Stormlight a chance afterwards.

My final opinion, read them in publication order. I loved Elantris!:p
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#33
Didn't they have sex? I figured it was kind of implied that they were. They share a bed - I remember her slipping in and out from her nightly patrols.
I watched some reviews on YT that said no sex was implied or happened. Never read Mistborn so I can't know for myself.

The thing about sex in books is that it's tricky business. Writers err on both sides of the spectrum with it. Too much of it, and it's vulgar, it doesn't contribute to the story, or it's cringe worthy. Not enough of it, or none of it, and the characters seem angelic, idealized, their relatability is diminished.

It's not that I want to read 3 pages of sex for every 10 pages of text in my fantasy books. I really dont. But when you have two characters, who obviously dig each other and spend a lot of time with each other, ignoring their sexuality, ignoring a natural progression of relationships, ignoring the passion they have for each other, creates detached, boring characters.
Add to the mix that these are teens, and I just plainly don't believe you when you portray them as asexsual beings. Of course there are asexuals out there, but if your characters are sexual and attracted to each other, then you need to move the relationship along. But with Sanderson there is no kissing, no petting, no cuddling, no sex. No expression of character's lust and passion for each other whatsoever. What are these characters? Robots? Angelic beings? Or humans?

I understand that it's not important to many of you. That you are interested in the story primarily. But it's different to me. Characters are everything to me. They are the ones that make me interested in a story, by making me care about what happens to them. If I'm reading about human characters that are missing a big chunk of what makes them human, namely their sexuality, I feel it and it bothers me. There's so much that can drive a story and character progression which comes from character's passions and emotions. I have a similar problem with reading sci-fi because many characters are missing emotions, they seem cold and distant.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#34
I watched some reviews on YT that said no sex was implied or happened. Never read Mistborn so I can't know for myself.

The thing about sex in books is that it's tricky business. Writers err on both sides of the spectrum with it. Too much of it, and it's vulgar, it doesn't contribute to the story, or it's cringe worthy. Not enough of it, or none of it, and the characters seem angelic, idealized, their relatability is diminished.

It's not that I want to read 3 pages of sex for every 10 pages of text in my fantasy books. I really dont. But when you have two characters, who obviously dig each other and spend a lot of time with each other, ignoring their sexuality, ignoring a natural progression of relationships, ignoring the passion they have for each other, creates detached, boring characters.
Add to the mix that these are teens, and I just plainly don't believe you when you portray them as asexsual beings. Of course there are asexuals out there, but if your characters are sexual and attracted to each other, then you need to move the relationship along. But with Sanderson there is no kissing, no petting, no cuddling, no sex. No expression of character's lust and passion for each other whatsoever. What are these characters? Robots? Angelic beings? Or humans?

I understand that it's not important to many of you. That you are interested in the story primarily. But it's different to me. Characters are everything to me. They are the ones that make me interested in a story, by making me care about what happens to them. If I'm reading about human characters that are missing a big chunk of what makes them human, namely their sexuality, I feel it and it bothers me. There's so much that can drive a story and character progression which comes from character's passions and emotions. I have a similar problem with reading sci-fi because many characters are missing emotions, they seem cold and distant.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. I feel exactly the same way about characters.

I don't see the issue with this at all. I'm not reading fantasy to read about sex. In fact, I don't think I've ever read a sex scene that I think has added anything meaningful to a plot.
It's also possible that the characters just aren't that big on sex. You know, those kind of people do exist.
I don't read it for the sex either, but I want to be immersed in the story and read about characters that feel like real human beings, not robots or angels (as Alucard mentioned above). Ignoring sexuality, which is not just the act of sex in itself, but also the feeling of passion, of sexual tension between characters, makes for unbelievable characters and this bothered me a lot whilst reading Mistborn (which I liked, but for that reason didn't love).
 

YordanZh

A Poet of the Khaiem
#35
I've never cared if the characters in a book are shown having sex, going to the toilet, etc. All I care are the things that matter to the development of the story and the characters. If a sex scene won't contribute to the them at all, then I don't need it. As @lyraseven said, the knowledge that the two characters are in love, live together and "share a bed" is enough.

Now, if the sex scene is going to show something important to the story or the characters - go ahead, show it, make it juicy even, I don't mind. If something important is going to happen in the toilet while Logan is enjoying a long and pleasant ... time in the toilet - great! But if I'll just be informed that "the character has basic human needs", yeah, I pass. And I'm saying that as a reader who's also primarily interested in the characters, like @Alucard. Hell, the opening words in the blurb for my novel are "A character-driven novel". :D

So all that being said, I didn't mind that there were no sex scenes in Mistborn. I was kind of expecting them, since the overall setting of the trilogy is quite grim (some would even say grimdark) and I'm used to sex scenes in grim books, but I didn't miss the sex at all - the development of the main characters was interesting and complete without it.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#36
Honestly I don't think you can go wrong with any Sanderson stuff. I really enjoyed WoT (despite its innumerable flaws), and I thought Sanderson did a brilliant job wrapping it up. I loved Warbreaker, especially as a download made available for free by the author. I mean, that's just awesome! I loved Elantris and all the clever things he did there. Way of Kings was something truly special for me, like Name of the Wind. I have re-read that book so many times. Words of Radiance was a very solid followup.

Of everything I've read, I actually liked the Mistborn series the least. I was annoyed by the end of Well of Ascension (book 2) and gave up on the series. It's been a while so I can't remember exactly why I didn't love it. I didn't hate it, I just enjoyed it less than the rest of his work.
 

RBWatkinson

Possibly a Darkfriend
#37
Well.. I'm not that bothered by YA-ness (I'll happily read kids books) so I'm leaning toward Mistborn, it seems to be what folk are saying as the one no one would want to miss out or spoil (even if it's not out and out his best writing)
If you like YA you might also like his series Reckoners beginnning with Steelheart. Good solid distopian world building for youngsters.
 

YordanZh

A Poet of the Khaiem
#38
Of everything I've read, I actually liked the Mistborn series the least. I was annoyed by the end of Well of Ascension (book 2) and gave up on the series. It's been a while so I can't remember exactly why I didn't love it. I didn't hate it, I just enjoyed it less than the rest of his work.
Mistborn actually gets worse (or "less good") with each next book, at least for me. I loved The Final Empire and enjoyed the next two as well, but they were definitely on a downward spiral. It would've worked much better as a stand-alone imo, just with ~200 more pages to the first book. But hey, I liked the other two books as well, just not as much as the first one, so I still enjoyed the trilogy quite a lot. But you definitely shouldn't read the third book if you didn't like the second. :p
 

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#39
Mistborn actually gets worse (or "less good") with each next book, at least for me.
I've heard this before, with people outright swearing me off Alloy of Law. I intend to do the first 3. I'm enjoying Final Empire so far. I see what folk mean, its a bit nostalgic for the fantasy of the early 90s (Dragonlance, Shannara) - the heroes are heroes (even if they're anti heroes) and the bad guys look like bad guys. The styling is very post anime/cyber-steam punk. All of which makes it a good, if not particularly complex, mix for adventure.
 

YordanZh

A Poet of the Khaiem
#40
I've heard this before, with people outright swearing me off Alloy of Law. I intend to do the first 3. I'm enjoying Final Empire so far. I see what folk mean, its a bit nostalgic for the fantasy of the early 90s (Dragonlance, Shannara) - the heroes are heroes (even if they're anti heroes) and the bad guys look like bad guys. The styling is very post anime/cyber-steam punk. All of which makes it a good, if not particularly complex, mix for adventure.
Oh, I haven't read the Alloy of Law yet, so I can't comment on that, just on the trilogy.