Lesser-known Brandon Sanderson young adult books you should read at least once
Updated: Jul 9, 2022
You've probably already heard of Brandon Sanderson. You've probably already read his popular titles - all 7 Mistborn books, the entire Stormlight series, or even Wheel of Time. You probably already know he is a master of world-building or that he ran an EPIC $41.7 million Kickstarter recently.
With that illustrious bio, I thought I would find all his books to be highbrow and pretentious. And while I can't yet say for certain about his mainstream books, when I went on a mission to read his quirkier, more obscure books, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Brandon Sanderson, the author, has many faces. Some of which I like.
I present to you Brandon Sanderson's less well-known young adult books you should read at least once.
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
This was my first Brandon Sanderson book (audiobook) and it was hilarious and AMAZING! Such a whimsical and fun adventure about an "orphan" boy who discovers he's got incredible (if unorthodox) powers and a much more prestigious lineage than he ever knew about. Not the most original premise but the execution is 😘👌.
Great for a younger YA audience!
I found the narrative super entertaining with the author breaking the fourth wall. I was surprised however at some of the reviews that disliked this aspect of the story, noting that it seemed a bit condescending. I suppose it's not for everyone but I 100% love the humor in it.
LOL. 😆 These are actual quotes from the book:
"In the Hushlands--those Librarian-controlled nations such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand--this book will be published as a work of fantasy. Do not be fooled! This is no work of fiction, nor is my name really Brandon Sanderson."
"Authors write books for one, and only one, reason: because we like to torture people." 😂
If you like a fantasy book that doesn't take itself too seriously, this is a big thumbs-up.
This is Book 1 of a 6-book completed series.
Since I've only just started reading Brandon Sanderson, I decided to start with his shorter works to get a feel for his style because I'm pretty sure his mainstream fantasy books are possibly too heavy for me. 😅
If you feel like some quick, entertaining Sanderson reads, or maybe haven't had a chance to read any of his books yet and wondering where to start, I would definitely recommend these novellas. 👍📖😍 The characters are adult/NA but still teen-friendly.
"Perfect State" gave me some Idlewild (Nick Sagan) feels (one of my all-time fave sci-fi reads) because the main character is a brain in a jar, one among trillions, who lives in a simulated reality. The theme is like coming-of-age, living your life to the fullest, a sci-fi metaphor to real life, with a hint of romance and a super EPIC plot twist ending. 😘👌
I absolutely LOVED this book! 😍 Highly recommended for sci-fi fans. ❤️
I mean, just check out this blurb excerpt 😆:
"God-Emperor Kairominas is lord of all he surveys. He has defeated all foes, has united the entire world beneath his rule, and has mastered the arcane arts. He spends his time sparring with his nemesis, who keeps trying to invade Kai's world.
Except for today. Today, Kai has to go on a date." 🤯😂
"And that's why. . ."
"Why I just do whatever I want," she said. "I invent conflicts, spark wars. Latch on to anything that makes me feel. I had high hopes for hating you tonight, since the compatibility projections said we'd never get along."
"Were they right?"
"Like I said, conflict is fun."
"I can punch you, if you'd prefer." 🤣
CW: There is a brief bit of female nudity but it's not too detailed.
Sixth of the Dusk
I can't believe I found a "grumpy & sunshine" Brandon Sanderson book! 🤯😍
Dusk is the name of the main character. He's part of an old-fashioned world with dying traditions, part of which is how he makes a living from hunting/breeding magical birds on a super dangerous island.
I have to say (and you probably already know! But) Sanderson's world-building is just absolutely fantastic. More specifically because Dusk is such a loner, he barely talks, so there is a lot of just eerie scenery description. Though when the girl arrives, she asks a lot of questions and talks a lot, which of course, the reclusive Dusk doesn't like.
She's come along from the "new world" on a big ship to essentially colonize the island with her people, calling it "progress." I got a quite distinct reverse-gender Pocahontas feels with this story. "You can't stop the world from changing" is a repeated theme.
There is no romance but the second half of the story is all action when Dusk and the girl work together to deal with threats and stay alive (again, super dangerous island.) And I think there are some things to be drawn from the representation of the "apex predator" on the island, in contrast to the references to the "Ones Above," in a matter sort of like however high on the food chain (or social strata) you think you are, there will always be someone higher than you.
I recommend this if you like epic world-building and don't mind waiting for half the book before the action starts.
What's your favorite Brandon Sanderson book? Let us know in the comments!
I'm off to read Skyward next. Happy reading! 🥰📖
This article was written by S. R. Breaker.
S. R. Breaker writes offbeat, easy reading science fiction and fantasy books. Suburban mum by day and author by night, she loves to live vicariously through her characters. They don’t have to vacuum all day long and are almost always guaranteed to survive any fantastical or thrilling incidents, no matter how treacherous she writes them. Visit her epic worlds in books.