As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

November 4, 2012

ELANTRIS by Brandon Sanderson, 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. 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. . . . 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. (Amazon)

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
Language: Mild
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Mature Themes: Arranged marriage

1 comment:

MKHutchins said...

I adore this book! I picked it up because the cover's so incredibly pretty, and then I didn't put it down because the first line promised an awesome read: "Prince Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity."

So glad I picked it up -- it's a great book that happily led me to read a lot more of Sanderson's excellent books.