I’ve been asked a couple times recently for suggested reading order for Cobalt City books. Or, “I read X, what should I read next?” So here’s me taking a stab at it.
It’s kind of a loaded question, since there’s been such a hodgepodge publication history. In theory, most of the books are written to stand on their own. But it’s certainly helpful to have earlier context for some of the items. You can read Kensei without having read any other Cobalt City books, but the storyline is built out of a lot of stuff that happened earlier.
If you want a strict chronological order of events, setting creator Nathan Crowder has a timeline on his website.
Below is my reading order recommendation, framed as sort of a “complete Cobalt City experience.” This is meant to be mostly chronological where I can, but also geared towards reading complete books at a time. So even though some short stories in the anthologies take place much earlier in the timeline, I’ve tried to minimize the need to bounce around between books.
I’ve added a series of asterisks to the titles. Here’s what they mean.
* These are titles that I feel like you can jump into reasonably easily. They represent the beginning of a new story arc, and could be jumped into pretty easily.
** These are collections that have new content but also include content previously listed.
*** These are stories that appear in anthologies that are not related to Cobalt City.