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Elantris Mass Market Paperback – May 30, 2006

938 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Elantris Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Sanderson's outstanding fantasy debut, refreshingly complete unto itself and free of the usual genre clichés, offers something for everyone: mystery, magic, romance, political wrangling, religious conflict, fights for equality, sharp writing and wonderful, robust characters. The godlike inhabitants of Elantris, once the capital of the land of Arelon, have degenerated into powerless, tortured souls, unable to die, after the city's magic inexplicably broke 10 years earlier. When the same curse strikes Prince Raoden of Arelon and he's imprisoned in Elantris, he refuses to surrender to his grim fate and instead strives to create a society out of the fallen and to unlock the secret that will restore the city's glory. Meanwhile, Princess Sarene of Kae (Arelon's new capital), who was betrothed to Raoden sight unseen, believes her intended has died. Officially declared his widow, she must use her political savvy and wit to protect Kae from malevolent forces without and within the city, chiefly Hrathen, a leader of the creepy Shu-Dereth faith, who aims to either convert Kae or destroy it within three months. The intrigue and excitement grow steadily in this smoothly written, perfectly balanced narrative; by the end readers won't want to put it down. As the blurb from Orson Scott Card suggests, Sanderson is a writer to watch.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Until 10 years ago, Elantris was the capital of Arelon, inhabited by ordinary humans transformed into magic-using demigods by the Shaod. But the magic failed, Elantris started to rot, and its inhabitants turned into powerless wrecks. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives in Kae, the new capital, close enough to Elantris to constantly remind of faded glory, prepared for a marriage to ally Teod and Arelon against the religious imperialists of Fjordell. But, she is told, her fiance, Prince Raoden, is dead. She and a recently arrived high priest of Fjordell, Hrathen, clash. Sarene tries to retain the freedom of Teod and Arelon, Hrathen tries to incite the populace to convert so that Fjordell can take over. Neither suspects the truth about Raoden. Taken by the Shaod, he struggles to unite the crippled Elantrians and discover why the magic failed. The unrest comes to a head as governments topple, the Elantrians' secrets are revealed, and Fjordell's forces arrive. A surprisingly satisfying, single-volume epic fantasy that invokes a complex, vibrant world. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 638 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reissue edition (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765350378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765350374
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (938 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm Brandon Sanderson, and I write stories of the fantastic: fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers.

January 2015 marks the release of Firefight, the sequel to Steelheart. When only evil people gain super powers and become tyrants, it's up to normal people to hunt them down. There is a free 5-chapter preview ebook of Steelheart here on Amazon that you should check out, with a corresponding sampler audiobook on Audible. My Firefight book tour in the US lasts throughout January.

Recent short releases are Legion: Skin Deep (sequel to Legion), the further investigations of an average man whose many hallucinations are all experts in their own fields, and also my novella Sixth of the Dusk, set in the same universe as Mistborn and Stormlight, revolving around an attack on an island trapper's way of life.

My biggest recent epic fantasy is Words of Radiance, written as a love letter of sorts to the epic fantasy genre. It continues the story of the Stormlight Archive that began in The Way of Kings, and it's the type of book I always dreamed epic fantasy could be. October 2015 and January 2016 will also see the release of two new Mistborn books, Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning.

Mistborn and the Stormlight Archive are among my most popular works, as are my concluding volumes to Robert Jordan's epic series The Wheel of Time. My novella The Emperor's Soul won a Hugo Award in 2013. That year also marked the release of my first young adult fantasy, The Rithmatist.

Sample chapters from all of my books are available at -- and check out the rest of my site for chapter-by-chapter annotations, deleted scenes, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

194 of 213 people found the following review helpful By Joe Sherry on June 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Elantris" is the debut novel from Brandon Sanderson. Blurbs on the cover from Orson Scott Card and David Farland say this book is "the finest novel of fantasy to be written in many years" and "one of the finest debuts I've seen in years." When I read a novel I generally do not pay attention to when it was written and I know that I haven't read all of the debut fantasy novels which have come out in the past several years. I do know when I've read a very good book, however, and "Elantris" is certainly that.

The prologue to the novel was all of five paragraphs but it gave all of the information needed to understand the background of what the story would be. It tells of a beautiful city named Elantris which glowed like magic and where amazing magics were possible and commonplace. Elantris was populated by godlike beings who could wield these powers as I might use a pen. But these beings were once regular humans, soldiers and serfs, princes and beggers and merchants. When something called the Shaod came upon them they were transformed into Elantrians and into a newer, greater existence. But ten years ago something happened.

That something is that the blessing turned into a curse and Elantris and its population started to rot away. The city now abandoned except for the poor souls still called by the Shaod is covered in slime and muck and the Elantrians are the cursed, neither dead nor truly alive.

This was a beautiful set up and pulled me right in from the start. Sanderson introduces Raoden, a prince and heir to the throne of Arelon. The city of Kae lies in the shadow of Elantris and the glory of Arelon has fallen with Elantris. Raoden is a man who gives his people hope, but when he is called by the Shaod he is doomed.
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327 of 384 people found the following review helpful By Dreamking47 on June 23, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think I may rate books differently than other readers. For me, a book starts out as a 3. That means solid writing, no major plot holes or characterization issues, and an overall satisfying experience: the basics we should expect from a published fiction. A lack of any of those facets means the book is a 2 or a 1; additions like social relevance, emotional resonance, memorable writing, or intellectual stimulation can drive the rating up to a 4 or (for those few books that have all or most of these) a 5. There are very few books I'd rate as a 5, which I think is as it should be.

Elantris on my scale is a 3. The writing is clear but rarely poetic. The main characters are well-defined but two of the three are a little too perfect to relate to and don't experience any inner growth, while the secondary characters almost universally seem to exist in order to provide some sort of surprise loop-back later in the book. The system of magic was interesting but the answer to the central question -- why it had stopped working -- turned out to be something I had a hard time believing wasn't commonly known and understood. The city of Elantris was a well-described setting, a character in itself, but other countries and races seemed rather stereotypical portrayals of Earthly analogues. Overall, while reading the book I never stopped in boredom but also I never paused in wonder, and when finished I was satisfied but it's not a book that I feel any great desire to re-read.

That being said, the author is someone that I plan to keep an eye on and hope to read more from in the future. It's my understanding that Elantris was written some 7 years ago, and much of the above is understandable as "young author/first publication" issues.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Graham Garner on May 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was most impressed by this novel's combination of religion, politics, social strata and economics. These elements combine to create a more complex world than the typical good-versus-evil we see in so many other works of fiction. It's pleasing that this work relies on these complex systems and their products, rather than simply setting characters on some physical quest and exposing them to new lands and beings as the source of entertainment. Equally important is the concept of magic, called AonDor, in this novel. The idea is well-rooted in a spiritual construct, rather than simply granted as a source of power and wonder. Furthermore, there are secrets to using it that can only be discovered by study and practice. This is a well-thought out perception of how a magical force might work. There is a well-outfitted cast of characters, and it's satisfying to see that they each have combinations of faults as well as virtues. This makes the characters more engaging, since the protagonists are at-times flawed and make mistakes and the antagonists can still stir sympathy and understanding in the reader. The only detractions I found in this novel were some phrases and expressions that seemed overused by the author, perhaps in his zeal to remind you of the world and characters he created. Things like the princess tapping her cheek, or the Dula character who says "Kolo" in as many as a quarter of his phrases eventually become a distraction and almost come across as overly insistent attempts to make you perceive the characters as the author imagines them. This, however, is a minor distraction when the great value of the other elements are taken into account. All in all, the story is engaging and there are several unexpected events which take the story down paths not anticipated, yet are rewarding. Fantastic work, and I look forward to reading more from Brandon Sanderson.
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