I got Elantris for my birthday yesterday, and immediately dove into it. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve really wanted to read this for a while. I think Brandon Sanderson is my favourite fantasy writer, and this is his debut novel.
Elantris is about the city of Elantris, which was once radiant and magical, where all of its inhabitants were benevolent, and used their magic to benefit the people. However, Elantris fell ten years ago, and its inhabitants are basically zombies who can still think. People are still being turned into Elantrians, but it is no longer a blessing. The religious zealot kingdom of Fjordell is getting very powerful, and Prince Raoden of Arelon is about to be married to Princess Sarene of Teod, forming an important political treaty between their nations in the hope of resisting Fjordell. However, a few days before their wedding, Raoden is taken by the Shaod and turned into an Elantrian, and Sarene is declared his widow. Now Raoden needs to find hope in the anarchy and despair of Elantris, and Sarene needs to stop Hrathen, the Fjordell priest from converting and subjugating both her adopted kingdom and her home kingdom.
I really liked this book. Sarene and Raoden are both people that you want to root for; they’re both intelligent and principled, and very well-matched. I was a bit surprised at how quickly their romance came together at the end (primarily because Sarene is otherwise so sceptical), but other than that, I thought they had great chemistry. Hrathen is also a great point of view character; he’s devoted to his faith but also a rationalist. His battle with Sarene over the conversion of the Arelish people was pretty interesting.
As usual with a Brandon Sanderson book, the magic system was very well thought out. As also seems to be the case with his standalone fiction (I’m looking at you , The Alloy of Law), every loose thread is not explained at the end, which is frustrating because now I really want a sequel!
I don’t think I can say very much more about this book – I was pretty much completely immersed in the world and didn’t get out of it enough to think about what I liked or disliked about it. I’m really excited to read Brandon Sanderson’s annotations of Elantris, available for free online.
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Tor Books, 2005 | Buy the book