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Elantris Mass Market Paperback – May 30, 2006
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
And much like I've said in many of my other posts for Brandon's works, my only complaint is that it takes too long to write. Please write faster...
Elantris was great. The main characters chapters were great, but I did find some of the other POV characters slow at first. The world building was great, the amount of stuff packed into this book kept me picking it back up to finish it.
My first foray into Sanderson's Cosmere and I'm already excited for the next.
The plot of Elantris is intricate and complicated, told through the intertwining stories of three different characters. Raoden, beloved prince of Arelon, is afflicted with the Shaod and banished to Elantris. Sarene is the princess of Teod and travels to Arelon to marry Raoden, unaware of his plight until she arrives. Hrathen is a Derethi gyorn, a high priest of the Fjordell religion, and arrives in Arelon with the intention of converting its people before his god destroys them entirely. Though their motives and circumstances are different, the actions of these three characters change their world incredibly and irrevocably.
More than anything, Elantris is a story about questioning one’s beliefs and challenging the status quo. Raoden, like every other citizen of Arelon, believed that the Shaod was a curse and that exile into Elantris was worse than a death sentence. Once he experiences it, however, his opinion quickly changes, and he strives to make a difference in the lives of those around him. Before his transformation, Raoden worked closely with a group of nobles to overthrow the unfair aristocracy his father instituted. His widow, Sarene, sees the oppression of this system and continues her husband’s work to institute a new government in Arelon. Hrathen seeks to bring his harsh religion to the people of Arelon, using his faith as a guise to conquer one of the last free kingdoms in the known world. Certain events force Hrathen to question not only the methods of his god, but also his very faith and allegiance to his people.
Elantris is excellent, especially for being Brandon Sanderson’s first novel. It is a tale of prejudice and corruption, of war and political upheaval, of gods and men. Elantris poses moral, philosophical, and religious questions in the context of fantasy literature. It should be absorbed and digested with a critical mind, and is by no means to be considered “light” reading. Fans of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and Orson Scott Card’s Ender Quintet will be very pleased with Elantris, and will find themselves intellectually stimulated and entertained.
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