Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection by Brandon Sanderson

Originally published on Tor.com and other websites, or published by the author, these wonderful tales convey the expanse of the Shardworlds and tell exciting tales of adventure Sanderson fans have come to expect, including the Hugo Award-winning novella, “The Emperor’s Soul.”

arcanum-unbounded

For many years I read very little fantasy books, until one day a friend recommended The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. From that day on not only did I rediscover my love for fantasy, but I have also loved everything I have read by Brandon Sanderson, and this book was no exception to that.

Arcanum Unbounded is a collection of short stories and novellas set in the different worlds of the Cosmere. Below is a list of the books contents and what world they pertain to:

  • “The Emperor’s Soul” (Elantris)
  • “The Hope of Elantris” (Elantris)
  • “The Eleventh Metal” (Mistborn)
  • “Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Epsiodes 28 through 30” (Mistborn)
  • “Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” (Threnody)
  • “Mistborn: Secret History” (Mistborn)
  • “White Sand”
  • “Sixth of Dusk” (First of the Sun)
  • “Edgedancer” (Stormlight Archives)

If you haven’t read any of Brandon Sanderson’s books set in the worlds of Mistborn, Elantris, or Stormlight Archives, then you are going to find it difficult to read much in this book without spoiling the other series. If however this doesn’t bother you and still want to pick it up then I would highly recommend reading “The Emperors Soul”, “The Eleventh Metal”, “Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell”, “White Sand” and “Sixth Dusk”. While reading this I myself choose not to read Mistborn: Secret History as it contains spoilers for one of the later Mistborn books, Bands of Mourning, and unfortunately I haven’t read that yet.

If however you have read all of the main books set in the worlds of Mistborn, Elantris, or Stormlight Archives, then be prepared to be blown away by an amazing set of novellas and short stories. Even with these being shorter than what Brandon usually writes, you will still find yourself gripped, enthralled, and completely drawn into their worlds.

With this being a short story and novella collection I thought it would be good to tell you some of my personal favourites in this collection. I certainly didn’t have an easy time deciding upon this as I found them all amazing to read, but after some serious thought below are the ones I have come up with:

  • “The Emperor’s Soul” (Elantris)
    • If I’m not mistaken I believe this was the was the first novel Brandon ever got published by TOR, and this itself truly shows how great a writer Brandon is, because it shows that even from his first published book he was a fantastic and prolific writer. “The Emperor’s Soul” is a very gripping and intriguing read. The characterisation within this book is second to none, and for something that short in comparison to Brandon’s other work he still manages to give the same depth and feel.
  • “Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” (Threnody)
    • I think out of all the short stories and novellas I read within this book I found this the most intriguing as the world and characters within it are darker than what I have found with Brandon’s other work. For me it’s hard to describe the depth, characterization, and emotions this book provides in a novella. I was completely blown away by it, and as of right now I think I could safely safe this was my overall favourite in this book.
  • “White Sand”
    • This is a small sample of the “White Sand” graphic novel. For me the world in which “White Sand” resides is completely new to me as I haven’t read the graphic novel. I absolutely loved the world and the magic system Brandon has built for it. One aspect I really loved about it is that the protagonist doesn’t have the same capabilities with his powers as everyone else, but he is still determined and still manages the feats he does. For me this proves that although some people around you may be better at certain aspects, that certainly doesn’t mean that they are necessarily better overall.
  • “Edgedancer” (Stormlight Archives)
    • The world of the Stormlight Archives is a massive world (so too are the books) and for me Edgedancer is a fantastic addition to the already amazing world Brandon has crafted. I found “Edgedancer” to be more of a lighthearted journey through the world of the Stormlight Archives and I thoroughly enjoyed this about it. Not only that but we also get to experience the world through the eyes of one of the Stormlight Archives smaller characters “Lift” and this made it very intriguing to read as we got to experience the world as she does.

With all of the above in mind, if you are a massive fan of Brandon Sanderson like myself or new to him then I would highly recommend picking up this book because, regardless of what you can and can’t read due to spoilers, you will still thoroughly enjoy it. Also if you do enjoy it and decide pick up his other work set in Mistborn, Elantris, or Stormlight Archives, then all the better as you will have this book waiting for me when you caught up to each one.

Brandon Sanderson | Goodreads | Facebook | @BrandSanderson

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