Why Brandon Sanderson (and His Books) Rule

Brandon Sanderson, 43, has published and written a total of 42 books (including 3 graphic novels, 2 novellas, and several short story collections). Arguably the most popular of these include: The Mistborn series, composed of 2 trilogies; the last 5 books of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series; and The Stormlight Archive series with 4 massive books and 2 novellas.
Most of his books occur in the same universe known as the Cosmere. All his books include fantasy and/or sci-fi elements. Mistborn and Stormlight Archives both use a “hard magic system” (where there are clear limits and rules on how the respective magic works).
As a new reader of Sanderson’s works, I was curious to see if the reviews were accurate. So, I asked Yael from a Cosmere server some questions. Yael was introduced to the Stormlight Archives and the first trilogy of Mistborn in 2016 by a friend. They quickly grew to love the Sanderson books, but remained a casual fan until around mid-2017 when they learned Mistborn and Stormlight Archives were connected.
When asked what kept Yael from reading Sanderson books for roughly 5 years, they contributed it mainly to friends who kept them up to date on book releases (only 2 books in Stormlight Archives were out in 2016). They also began going to conventions in 2016 and met other fans of all fandoms – including the Cosmere’s. Not over a year after Yael joined online Cosmere fan groups, including a WhatsApp group for Israeli fans, they saw Cosmere fans in person at the “Olamot Con in Passover of 2019”.
In fact, it was through that WhatsApp community that they learned Sanderson was traveling to Israel for “Icon of 2019, [sukkot] of that year”. Otherwise, they never would have been able to meet Sanderson in person.
I asked them about meeting Sanderson in part because I was amazed to talk with someone who’s met my new-favorite author and to also see how he interacts with fans. Yael was also very excited to meet him, and practically gushed about the interaction. They had created a gold embroidered Cosmere symbol as a gift for the author, which he greatly appreciated. Their copy of Oathbringer (signed a while after the initial meeting) is signed, “to Yael, thank you for the gift!” A few days later, Yael wore their havah, a type of dress from the Stormlight Archive universe. Sanderson recognized them and was very excited to see their havah. Overall, the only surprising thing about the nice author was his height.
Another large factor of Yael’s continued reading was because of Sanderson’s characters and story telling. When asked for a specific reason why they loved the books, they gave an introspective answer best left to their own words. They said: “I… I loved Sanderson’s writing, his characters are so incredibly complex in SA. I attached pretty firmly to Shallan during my first read of [Way of Kings], and I couldn’t let go. Stormlight Archive is often defined as ‘self help books in the guise of fantasy’, and that’s… that’s about the truest thing I’ve ever heard with those books. I can’t begin to describe how important these books are to me, how important they were to me from the start. Reading them, it’s like coming home every time, you know? and I guess even during the first read I felt that. Shallan is such a compelling character in my eyes, I’d… I’d never felt myself more existing in a story. I could just… in a lot of senses (obviously not all), I found Shallan’s story to be parallel to mine, at least in terms of her mental health and how she copes. I also fell in love with Sanderson’s fantasy world in Stormlight, it’s so…. intricate, and incredible. Reading the books left me wanting to learn more about the world, left me wanting to explore it so badly.”
Not only is the story and world-building intriguing, but Stormlight Archives include a diverse array of characters. For mild spoiler reasons, I won’t go into much detail including character names. However, Yael does enjoy the well-written autistic characters; the diverse views and options concerning physical disabilities; and some DID-OSDD representation (while there is speculation behind some aspects of said character’s actions).
Out of the whole conversation, the only negative things Yael had to say about Sanderson’s works are about massive amounts of information given alongside lots of things going on at the same time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with large books (each Stormlight Archive is around 1,000 pages) and lore.
In conclusion, not only are Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy books enjoyable to read as a casual fan, but they also provide a community and an immersive world. Characters are well-developed; the writing style is smooth and very easy to read; more diverse than in most fantasy novels; and a hardworking author listening to his fans are all a part of Sanderson’s legacy.
If you are looking for a sign to read works by Brandon Sanderson, here it is.

Note: quotations from interviewee have been edited to include grammatical corrections and exclude emojis. Abbreviations and typos spelled out in brackets.