Review by Emily, basically a bibliophile
Oh, my goodness. Elantris. I read this after I read the Alcatraz books. I loved it just as much, or possibly more than, Alcatraz. I had only seen the funny side of Brandon Sanderson's work, until I read Elantris, which was so much more than that. It has this amazing magic system - but the magic has turned deadly, at least to those who are horribly changed by the Shaod. Before, those who were taken by the Shaod became practically immortal, capable of great feats of strength and magic - but now, all it brings is a living death.
Raoden is one of those taken by the Shaod. Horribly, he finds himself trapped in a city of those who have been changed, most of whom are either mad, starving, or completely unreachable through their pain. Raoden, never one to give up, decides to make things better. And slowly, he does. He cleans up a part of the city, gives the people inside hope that even though they are technically dead, they can still live, and begins to search for the reason that everything went wrong.
In the meantime, Sarene, his betrothed, comes to his kingdom expecting to be married, only to find that her husband-to-be is dead, and that she is now a widow, without ever having married. Instead of giving in to despair, she decides to find out what happened to Raoden, because she senses that something is wrong.
Also, there's a war brewing.
Elantris is a wonderfully complex story. There's a lot of things going on, but none of them interfere with one another. Everything works together to create a story that is totally unique. Also, I loved that while it can be a whole story in itself, there is room to grow should Brandon Sanderson ever wish to expand on the world of Elantris.
Market: Adult fantasy
Violence: ModerateMature Themes: Arranged marriage