What is a great fantasy series for new readers?

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Answered by: Brandon, An Expert in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Category
If you’re new to the fantasy genre and want to read a great fantasy series, I recommend Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy.

Most people wouldn’t yet consider Sanderson a part of the fantasy genre’s canon, which is mostly because he is such a new author. However, within five years, I believe Sanderson’s reputation as a fantasy writer will be on par with that of Robert Jordan or Terry Goodkind.How new is Brandon Sanderson? Well, Elantris, his first published novel, came out in 2005, which means his career currently spans six years. But during his first six years as a published author, Sanderson has finished an impressive 12 books and shows no signs of slowing down. Sanderson recently released The Way of Kings, the first of a ten-novel series, and is also working on the final novel in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series.

While all of Brandon Sanderson’s books have been amazing, I’m singling out his Mistborn trilogy in particular because it is one of the few trilogies I’ve read where all three volumes are equally breathtaking. Sanderson has a legendary ability to structure lengthy plot lines in a way that constantly surprises and entertains the reader. Each book in the Mistborn trilogy contains a massive ending plot twist that absolutely redefines everything the reader previously thought about the characters and story.The entire plot line of the series revolves around allomancy, a fictional magic system centered around the ability to “burn” ingested metals to fuel different powers. Sanderson is known for creating a unique magic system for each of his series. He creates magic systems out of a few basic principles and thinks through the ramifications of those principles on a society.

In Mistborn, for example, Sanderson has a unique economy and caste system set up around allomancers, people who are born with the rare powers of allomancy. While reading Mistborn you can’t help but be amazed by Sanderson’s ability to think through a situation ten levels deeper than most other authors.

Fantasy readers commonly complain about the constant recycling of cliches, but with Sanderson that’s never an issue. In fact, most of his novels derive their main premise from a subverted cliche.

Mistborn at first seems like your typical fantasy novel where the band of unlikely heroes team up and eventually overthrow the evil lords with nothing but happiness and celebration at the end. However, the heroes of Mistborn defeat their dark lord at the beginning of the series. Much of the series is dedicated to answering the question, “What happens to the heroes after they beat the evil villain?” Sanderson shows us that final victories are often just the beginning of more suffering and conflict.

For those who like reading wholesome books that avoid graphic depictions of sex and violence, Mistborn shouldn’t disappoint. George R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series started a trend where fantasy writers try to make their series more “realistic” through gritty profanity and depictions of sex. I often enjoy these series, but I also know that many readers prefer cleaner content. Sanderson avoids vulgar language, focuses on the emotional aspects of love more than the physical aspects, and only describes violence occasionally to lend a solemn tone to a scene.

If you’re looking for a great fantasy series, Mistborn is a compelling and accessible series that will remind you of the sense of wonder you had as a child.

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