Maradaine Reading Order

I’ve been asked about this a lot, and I’ve been dragging my heels on giving a definitive answer here, but with People of the City just a few months away (pre-order!) it’s high time for me to put out the answer.

There’s three basic ways you could read Maradaine:

  • Release Order
  • Chronological Order
  • By Series

First off: none of those are bad ways to read it.  Release Order, of course, was your only choice if you’ve been with me from the beginning (and if you have: hey, you’re awesome, I love you).  (But also, if you’re just jumping on now: you’re awesome, I love you.)  And, of course, I had to make certain creative choices based on the fact that Release Order wasn’t going to be Chronological Order, and therefore to some degree, release order is perfect in terms of how revelations unfold.

So that would be:

Thorn of Dentonhill
Murder of Mages
The Alchemy of Chaos
An Import of Intrigue
Holver Alley Crew
The Imposters of Aventil
Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe
Way of the Shield
A Parliament of Bodies
Shield of the People
The Fenmere Job
People of the City

However, I think the strongest method– and grain of salt in that it’s literally impossible for me to gauge how a new reader would react to the events of the books unfolding– would be in-world chronological.  There is a very specific chronology at play, and there’s a foreword in People that spells that out (and gives you a handy recap of the previous eleven books), but here’s how that goes.

Thorn of Dentonhill
Murder of Mages
Holver Alley Crew
Way of the Shield
The Alchemy of Chaos
An Import of Intrigue
Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe
Shield of the People
The Imposters of Aventil
A Parliament of Bodies
The Fenmere Job
People of the City

Now, I can see how if you read one of the first books, you’d want to stick with those characters instead of transitioning to other people.  That makes a lot of sense.  So I did think of this method where you read a whole trilogy, and then step back in time to another trilogy.  Now, there’s a bunch of ways you can do this, but here’s the way I like most:

Holver Alley Crew
Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe
The Fenmere Job
Thorn of Dentonhill
Alchemy of Chaos
Imposters of Aventil
A Murder of Mages
An Import of Intrigue
A Parliament of Bodies
Way of the Shield
Shield of the People
People of the City

What I like about this is you read three books with one cast, which ends with their crossover with a major character from the next series.  So, you follow Asti & Verci and the rest of the crew up until they interact with the Thorn, and then go, “So let’s find out more about the Thorn” and do his adventures, and so on.  Is that the best way to do it?  I’m not sure– see the above caveat– but I think it’s interesting, and it might suit how some readers engage best with stories.

So there’s my definitive non-answer about reading order: I would nudge you toward Chronological, but that might not be right for you.

Regardless, I hope you get a chance to read them all and love them your way, and that you’re safe and well.