Series: Elantris Book One
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.
Arelon's new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping -- based on their correspondence -- to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.
A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.
Finally picked it back up 2 days ago and I'm so glad I did! While it was decidedly lacking in the awesome fighting scenes that I've been getting used it, Sanderson proved that he could write a very engaging fantasy with minimal fight scenes and still make amazing.
I adored everything about this book from the great, lively characters, to the world building to the intrigue. It was great. I thought I wouldn't have liked Raoden much because I'm the kind of person that just doesn't like/trust happy people, and Raoden was definitely a happy/optimistic person throughout the book, but Sanderson made it work. He wasn't just an optimistic guy, he was smart, cunning, manipulative when he had to, and he suffered from his own problems and responsibilities like everyone else.
I adored Sarene as well. All her political scheming was awesome. She wasn't afraid to take charge and put people in their places when they being idiots, sometimes she did very subtly, other she was right in your face, but always she did it for the good of Arelon and you just couldn't help but love her.
The awesome world-building that goes on in Elantris goes without saying. This is a Sanderson book, and his world building is always impeccable so it doesn't come as a surprise, I've come to expect now from all his novels and he has yet to disappoint.
Personally, rough start for me, but Sanderson delivers an amazing book as always :)
Would I Recommend it?
Other books in the Elantris series:
- The Emperor's Soul (Set in the same world but not needed to read in order)