The Best Brandon Sanderson Audiobooks

A modern master of epic fantasy, Brandon Sanderson has written a number of fan favorites, including the Mistborn and Stormlight Archive series. Here are just a few of his very best listens.

Brandon Sanderson is one of the best-known and most popular fantasy authors working today. He's written more than 20 fantasy and science fiction books for adults and young adults. Longtime fans know his work in and out, but if you're entering his wonderfully magical worlds for the first time, it can be daunting. Never fear! This guide will walk you through the best Brandon Sanderson audiobooks, from his most well-known series to his lesser-known (but equally excellent) standalone novels. So buckle up and get ready for days (yes, literally, days!) of amazing listening, because there is a wide range of fantastic Brandon Sanderson listens to choose from.


 

Who is Brandon Sanderson?

Brandon Sanderson has one of those storybook writing careers that so many dream of. He wrote steadily during his undergrad and graduate years, and had already written 12 novels by 2003, when he got his first big break. That's when Tor Books decided to buy the novel Elantris—his first published work, but the sixth novel he'd written. In the years following the publication of Elantris, he continued to write and publish fantasy novels, to growing popular and critical acclaim. In 2007, he was selected to finish writing the legendary Wheel of Time series after author Robert Jordan's death. He wrote three additional Wheel of Time novels, completing the series in 2013.

Sanderson's books have given rise to a vibrant fandom. But it's not just avid fantasy readers and listeners who appreciate his work. Aspiring writers and artists, especially those interested in speculative and genre fiction, are also among his fans. Sanderson is known for coining "Sanderson's Laws of Magic," a series of rules for creating magical systems in fictional worlds. He also co-hosts Writing Excuses, a podcast dedicated to the art and craft of genre writing and webcomics.


 

What is the Cosmere?

Sanderson is best known for his epic fantasy series Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive, both of which take place within the fictional Cosmere universe. While these series (as well as several other series and standalones set in the Cosmere) take place on different worlds, in different times, and follow different characters, they all share the same overarching laws and mythology.

The Cosmere came into existence when 16 people conspired to kill the mysterious being known as Adonalsium. Adonalsium's power shattered into 16 powerful shards, each with its own particular magical properties. The 16 people each claimed a shard and traveled with it to a different world, using their shard's power to build a distinct magic system. These worlds, known as the Shardworlds, provide the backdrop for Sanderson's epic stories.


 

The Best Brandon Sanderson Audiobooks: Where to Start

With so many Brandon Sanderson audiobooks to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Though all his works feature intricate world-building and action-packed stories, they range from epic high fantasy to dystopian science fiction. Below you'll find a brief introduction to some of Sanderson's most beloved works and the narrators who bring the audiobooks to life.


 

The Cosmere Universe

Elantris Series

Elantris is the novel that launched Sanderson's career. It tells the story of a world built on magic, which thrived for generations until, suddenly, that magic failed. Without its magic, Elantris is crumbling, its citizens powerless and afraid. When a ruthless new government begins rising to power, it's up to a young princess to save her people—and the world itself—before it's too late. Jack Garrett's lively narration and distinct character voices will keep listeners engaged during this nearly 30-hour audiobook.

For those intimidated by a long series, this standalone novel makes a fantastic introduction to Sanderson's work. And for listeners who prefer full-cast productions, there's also a three-part dramatized version of Elantris, which clocks in at just under 20 hours.


 

The Stormlight Archive Series

Sanderson's best-known series to date, The Stormlight Archive consists of four currently published books: The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, Oathbringer, and Rhythm of War. If you're looking for something immersive, a complicated and fascinating world that you can sink into for weeks at a time, then this is the Sanderson series for you. Combined, the four audiobooks are a whopping 200 hours long—that's eight and a half days of listening!

Narrators Kate Reading and Michael Kramer have their work cut out for them in this series. Set on a war-torn world, the saga follows the intersecting lives of a large cast of characters, all fighting for survival. There's ancient prophecy, powerful magic, desperate citizens, shifting loyalties, dangerous quests, and plenty of human drama. Both Reading and Kramer fully devote themselves to the world and its characters, so listening to these audiobooks is a magical experience in itself.


 

The Mistborn Saga Series

The Mistborn Saga consists of two series, set 300 hundred years apart. The original trilogy (The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages) is set in a world called Final Empire, ruled by an evil entity known as the Dark Lord. Ordinary citizens live in terror of his power. The series follows two unlikely heroes: Vin, an orphan, and Kelsier, a criminal with magical powers. Together, they start a revolution that will change the fate of their world forever.

Sanderson's as-yet-unfinished Wax & Wayne series (The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning) is set in the same world, now on the brink of modernity. Electricity, railroads, and skyscrapers are common in cities. This series focuses on Wax, a rare magic-welder with the power to manipulate metal, who returns to the capital after years of simple living on the frontier. He's soon caught up in the dangerous tides of change—all around him, magic and technology are clashing, with increasingly dire consequences.


 

Series & Standalones Outside The Cosmere Universe

In addition to his completion of the epic Wheel of Time series, Sanderson has written several series and standalone novels that take place outside the Cosmere. Check out the following audiobooks if you're not ready to dive into the intricate world of the Cosmere just yet.

 

The Wheel of Time Series

If you haven't listened to any of the previous Wheel of Time books, the last three may not be the best place to start. But dedicated fans of Robert Jordan's epic series, and fantasy in general, will not want to miss the thrilling conclusion to one of the longest and most beloved series of our time. The audiobooks are a truly brilliant collaboration. Narrators Michael Kramer and Kate Reading bring Sanderson's words to life, while Sanderson's words carry the spirit and magic of Robert Jordan's original vision.


 

Infinity Blade

Looking for something less daunting than a series of 30+-hour audiobooks? You'll want to give the two books in the Infinity Blade series, Awakening and Redemption, a listen! Siris is a young knight on a quest to destroy a tyrannical king. But his success vaults him into a world of new, unspeakable dangers and long-buried secrets. Based on the Infinity Blade video games, Sanderson further explores this fascinating world, where magic and technology blend together and nothing is ever quite what it seems. Samuel Roukin gives an admirable performance, expertly navigating the many high-stakes action scenes that make these books so memorable.


 

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds Series

Combining three novellas into one volume, this audiobook tells the story of Stephen Leeds, a man with an extraordinary power. He can learn any skill almost instantaneously, but his brain then creates a persona to retain the new information. He's gotten used to living with a cast of imaginary people. But when a company hires him to track down a stolen camera, he finds himself on an epic adventure—and the people in his head aren't always on his side. Oliver Wyman's down-to-earth narration perfectly captures Stephen's personality, and he also perfects a range of voices for the various personas in Stephen's head.


 

Skyward Series

This YA space opera series (Skyward and Starsight) is set in a bleak future. What's left of humanity lives on a planet under constant attack by mysterious enemy starships. On the cusp of 16, Spensa longs to be a pilot, and she gets her chance when she finds the ruins of an ancient ship. In the process of repairing it, she discovers that it's no ordinary ship—it appears to be alive. Fast-paced and surprising, this series is full of unforgettable characters, human and nonhuman alike. Suzy Jackson's narration is quick and clipped, full of emotion. Sophie Aldred takes a bit more somber approach. Both narrators, in their own way, capture all of Spensa's bravery, quick-thinking, and determination—so whichever version you choose, you can't go wrong.


 

The Reckoners Series

This action-packed series (Steelheart, Firefight, Calamity, Lux) turns the classic superhero trope on its head. The Calamity—a sudden burst in the sky that gave some people extraordinary powers—changed the world forever 10 years ago. Now known as Epics, those graced with super gifts are nobody's superheroes. The Epics want power, and they'll do anything to get it. The only people who've ever stood up to them are the Reckoners, a group of ordinary humans who secretly study, track, and assassinate them. The story follows David, a young man, who, like the Reckoners but for his own reason, wants to see the Epics dead. Audiobook aficionados will recognize award-winning narrator MacLeod Andrews, whose many talents are on full display in this series. He perfectly captures David's first-person POV, while crafting unique and believable voices for the supporting characters as well.

Andrews also narrates the newest book in the series, the audio-exclusive novel Lux, in which a new team of Reckoners must infiltrate the flying city of Lux to take down the Epic Lifeforce. An orphan named Jax and the ragtag remains of the Texas Reckoners will face an epic battle in a floating fortress as they defend what's left of Texas in this hotly anticipated fourth installment.

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