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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Brandon Sanderson's debut novel, Elantris -- an instant fantasy classic about a fallen city of the gods and its inexplicable rise from its own ruins -- is a singular storytelling tour de force that is absolutely beyond compare.
The city of Elantris was once the most beautiful in the world. Inhabited by a godlike populace and home to innumerable wonders, it attracted people from far and wide. But then something happened. The magic that powered Elantris suddenly disappeared. The once-radiant Elantrians became leprous creatures, and the city fell into shadow.
Ten years after the Punishment, Elantris is a ghost town, a "land of sludge, insanity, and eternal perdition," inhabited by those few who become afflicted with the Shaod, a dread disease that blackens the skin, stops the heart, and suspends those ill-fated souls in a state of nightmarish half death. Raoden, the beloved crown prince of Arelon, contracts the ailment just as he prepares for his wedding to Princess Sarene of Teod. He is secretly whisked away to Elantris, where King Iadon informs his people that his son has died of an "unexpected disease." Sarene arrives shortly thereafter, finding a kingdom on the verge of collapse. In the shadow of the ghostly city, Sarene vows to do what she can to stop the religious and political upheaval. Raoden, meanwhile, uncovers the jaw-dropping secrets of Elantris.
In a genre where mainstream success regularly leads to mind-numbing repetition (unnecessarily prolonged series that recycle predictable plotlines) and shameless mass imitation, true creative genius is often hard to find. Fantasy fans need not look any further for such genius -- Brandon Sanderson is his name, and Elantris is his calling card. Paul Goat Allen