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. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. 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. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. 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.
A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.
About the Author
Brandon Sanderson grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. He teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University and lives in Utah with his wife and children. He has been chosen to complete the concluding volumes of Robert Jordan’s bestselling Wheel of Time® series.
Read an Excerpt
PRINCE Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity. Still drowsy, Raoden sat up, blinking in the soft morning light. Just outside his open balcony windows he could see the enormous city of Elantris in the distance, its stark walls casting a deep shadow over the smaller city of Kae, where Raoden lived. Elantris’s walls were incredibly high, but Raoden could see the tops of black towers rising behind them, their broken spires a clue to the fallen majesty hidden within.
The abandoned city seemed darker than usual. Raoden stared at it for a moment, then glanced away. The huge Elantrian walls were impossible to ignore, but people of Kae tried very hard to do just that. It was painful to remember the city’s beauty, to wonder how ten years ago the blessing of the Shaod had become a curse instead....
Raoden shook his head, climbing out of bed. It was unusually warm for such an early hour; he didn’t feel even a bit chilly as he threw on his robe, then pulled the servant’s cord beside his bed, indicating that he wanted breakfast.
That was another odd thing. He was hungry—very hungry. Almost ravenous. He had never liked large breakfasts, but this morning he found himself waiting impatiently for his meal to arrive. Finally, he decided to send someone to see what was taking so long.
"Ien?" he called in the unlit chambers.
There was no response. Raoden frowned slightly at the Seon’s absence. Where could Ien be?
Raoden stood, and as he did, his eyes fell on Elantris again. Resting in the great city’s shadow, Kae seemed like an insignificant village by comparison. Elantris. An enormous, ebony block—not really a city anymore, just the corpse of one. Raoden shivered slightly.
A knock came at his door.
"Finally," Raoden said, walking over to pull open the door. Old Elao stood outside with a tray of fruit and warm bread.
The tray dropped to the ground with a crash, slipping from the stunned maid’s fingers even as Raoden reached out to accept it. Raoden froze, the tray’s metallic ring echoing through the silent morning hallway.
"Merciful Domi!" Elao whispered, her eyes horrified and her hand trembling as she reached up to grab the Korathi pendant at her neck.
Raoden reached out, but the maid took a quivering step away, stumbling on a small melon in her haste to escape.
"What?" Raoden asked. Then he saw his hand. What had been hidden in the shadows of his darkened room was now illuminated by the hallway’s flickering lantern.
Raoden turned, throwing furniture out of his way as he stumbled to the tall mirror at the side of his chambers. The dawn’s light had grown just strong enough for him to see the reflection that stared back at him. A stranger’s reflection.
His blue eyes were the same, though they were wide with terror. His hair, however, had changed from sandy brown to limp gray. The skin was the worst. The mirrored face was covered with sickly black patches, like dark bruises. The splotches could mean only one thing.
The Shaod had come upon him.
THE Elantris city gate boomed shut behind him with a shocking sound of finality. Raoden slumped against it, thoughts numbed by the day’s events.
It was as if his memories belonged to another person. His father, King Iadon, hadn’t met Raoden’s gaze as he ordered the priests to prepare his son and throw him into Elantris. It had been done swiftly and quietly; Iadon couldn’t afford to let it be known that the crown prince was an Elantrian. Ten years ago, the Shaod would have made Raoden a god. Now, instead of making people into silver-skinned deities, it changed them into sickly monstrosities.
Raoden shook his head in disbelief. The Shaod was a thing that happened to other people—distant people. People who deserved to be cursed. Not the crown prince of Arelon. Not Raoden.
The city of Elantris stretched out before him. Its high walls were lined with guardhouses and soldiers—men intended not to keep enemies out of the city, but to keep its inhabitants from escaping. Since the Reod, every person taken by the Shaod had been thrown into Elantris to rot; the fallen city had become an expansive tomb for those whose bodies had forgotten how to die.
Raoden could remember standing on those walls, looking down on Elantris’s dread inhabitants, just as the guards now looked down on him. The city had seemed far away then, even though he had been standing just outside of it. He had wondered, philosophically, what it would be like to walk those blackened streets.
Now he was going to find out.
Raoden pushed against the gate for a moment, as if to force his body through, to cleanse his flesh of its taint. He lowered his head, releasing a quiet moan. He felt like curling into a ball on the grimy stones and waiting until he woke from this dream. Except, he knew he would never awaken. The priests said that this nightmare would never end.
But, somewhere, something within urged him forward. He knew he had to keep moving—for if he stopped, he feared he’d simply give up. The Shaod had taken his body. He couldn’t let it take his mind as well.
So, using his pride like a shield against despair, dejection, and—most important—self-pity, Raoden raised his head to stare damnation in the eyes.
BEFORE, when Raoden had stood on the walls of Elantris to look down—both literally and figuratively—on its inhabitants, he had seen the filth that covered the city. Now he stood in it.
Every surface—from the walls of the buildings to the numerous cracks in the cobblestones—was coated with a patina of grime. The slick, oily substance had an equalizing effect on Elantris’s colors, blending them all into a single, depressing hue—a color that mixed the pessimism of black with the polluted greens and browns of sewage.
Before, Raoden had been able to see a few of the city’s inhabitants. Now he could hear them as well. A dozen or so Elantrians lay scattered across the court-yard’s fetid cobblestones. Many sat uncaringly, or unknowingly, in pools of dark water, the remains of the night’s rainstorm. And they were moaning. Most of them were quiet about it, mumbling to themselves or whimpering with some unseen pain. One woman at the far end of the courtyard, however, screamed with a sound of raw anguish. She fell silent after a moment, her breath or her strength giving out.
Most of them wore what looked like rags—dark, loose-fitting garments that were as soiled as the streets. Looking closely, however, Raoden recognized the clothing. He glanced down at his own white burial cloths. They were long and flowing, like ribbons sewn together into a loose robe. The linen on his arms and legs was already stained with grime from brushing up against the city gate and stone pillars. Raoden suspected they would soon be indistinguishable from the other Elantrians’ garb.
This is what I will become, Raoden thought. It has already begun. In a few weeks I will be nothing more than a dejected body, a corpse whimpering in the corner.
A slight motion on the other side of the courtyard brought Raoden out of his self-pity. Some Elantrians were crouching in a shadowed doorway across from him. He couldn’t make out much from their silhouetted forms, but they seemed to be waiting for something. He could feel their eyes on him.
Raoden raised an arm to shade his eyes, and only then did he remember the small thatch basket in his hands. It held the ritual Korathi sacrifice sent with the dead into the next life—or, in this case, into Elantris. The basket contained a loaf of bread, a few thin vegetables, a handful of grain, and a small flask of wine. Normal death sacrifices were far more extensive, but even a victim of the Shaod had to be given something.
Raoden glanced back at the figures in the doorway, his mind flashing to rumors he’d heard on the outside—stories of Elantrian brutality. The shadowed figures had yet to move, but their study of him was unnerving.
Taking a deep breath, Raoden took a step to the side, moving along the city wall toward the east side of the courtyard. The forms still seemed to be watching him, but they didn’t follow. In a moment, he could no longer see through the doorway, and a second later he had safely passed into one of the side streets.
Raoden released his breath, feeling that he had escaped something, though he didn’t know what. After a few moments, he was certain that no one followed, and he began to feel foolish for his alarm. So far, he had yet to see anything that corroborated the rumors about Elantris. Raoden shook his head and continued moving.
The stench was almost overwhelming. The omnipresent sludge had a musty, rotten scent, like that of dying fungus. Raoden was so bothered by the smell that he nearly stepped directly on the gnarled form of an old man huddled next to a building’s wall. The man moaned piteously, reaching up with a thin arm. Raoden looked down, and felt a sudden chill. The "old man" was no more than sixteen years old. The creature’s soot-covered skin was dark and spotted, but his face was that of a child, not a man. Raoden took an involuntary step backward.
The boy, as if realizing that his chance would soon pass, stretched his arm forward with the sudden strength of desperation. "Food?" he mumbled through a mouth only half full of teeth. "Please?"
Then the arm fell, its endurance expended, and the body slumped back against the cold stone wall. His eyes, however, continued to watch Raoden. Sorrowful, pained eyes. Raoden had seen beggars before in the Outer Cities, and he had probably been fooled by charlatans a number of times. This boy, however, was not faking.
Raoden reached up and pulled the loaf of bread from his sacrificial offerings, then handed it to the boy. The look of disbelief that ran across the boy’s face was somehow more disturbing than the despair it had replaced. This creature had given up hope long ago; he probably begged out of habit rather than expectation.
Raoden left the boy behind, turning to continue down the small street. He had hoped that the city would grow less gruesome as he left the main courtyard— thinking, perhaps, that the dirt was a result of the area’s relatively frequent use. He had been wrong; the alley was covered with just as much filth as the courtyard, if not more.
A muffled thump sounded from behind. Raoden turned with surprise. A group of dark forms stood near the mouth of the side street, huddled around an object on the ground. The beggar. Raoden watched with a shiver as five men devoured his loaf of bread, fighting among themselves and ignoring the boy’s despairing cries. Eventually, one of the newcomers—obviously annoyed—brought a makeshift club down on the boy’s head with a crunch that resounded through the small alley.
The men finished the bread, then turned to regard Raoden. He took an apprehensive step backward; it appeared that he had been hasty in assuming he hadn’t been followed. The five men slowly stalked forward, and Raoden spun, taking off at a run.
Sounds of pursuit came from behind. Raoden scrambled away in fear— something that, as a prince, he had never needed to do before. He ran madly, expecting his breath to run short and a pain to stab him in the side, as usually happened when he overextended himself. Neither occurred. Instead, he simply began to feel horribly tired, weak to the point that he knew he would soon collapse. It was a harrowing feeling, as if his life were slowly seeping away.
Desperate, Raoden tossed the sacrificial basket over his head. The awkward motion threw him off balance, and an unseen schism in the cobblestones sent him into a maladroit skip that didn’t end until he collided with a rotting mass of wood. The wood—which might once have been a pile of crates—squished, breaking his fall.
Raoden sat up quickly, the motion tossing shreds of wood pulp across the damp alleyway. His assailants, however, were no longer concerned with him. The five men crouched in the street’s muck, picking scattered vegetables and grain off the cobblestones and out of the dark pools. Raoden felt his stomach churn as one of the men slid his finger down a crack, scraped up a dark handful that was more sludge than corn, then rammed the entire mass between eager lips. Brackish spittle dribbled down the man’s chin, dropping from a mouth that resembled a mud-filled pot boiling on the stove.
One man saw Raoden watching. The creature growled, reaching down to grab the almost-forgotten cudgel at his side. Raoden searched frantically for a weapon, finding a length of wood that was slightly less rotten than the rest. He held the weapon in uncertain hands, trying to project an air of danger.
The thug paused. A second later, a cry of joy from behind drew his attention: one of the others had located the tiny skin of wine. The struggle that ensued apparently drove all thoughts of Raoden from the men’s minds, and the five were soon gone—four chasing after the one who had been fortunate, or foolish, enough to escape with the precious liquor.
Raoden sat in the debris, overwhelmed. This is what you will become....
"Looks like they forgot about you, sule," a voice observed.
Raoden jumped, looking toward the sound of the voice. A man, his smooth bald head reflecting the morning light, reclined lazily on a set of steps a short distance away. He was definitely an Elantrian, but before the transformation he must have been of a different race—not from Arelon, like Raoden. The man’s skin bore the telltale black splotches of the Shaod, but the unaffected patches weren’t pale, they were a deep brown instead.
Raoden tensed against possible danger, but this man showed no signs of the primal wildness or the decrepit weakness Raoden had seen in the others. Tall and firm-framed, the man had wide hands and keen eyes set in a dark-skinned face. He studied Raoden with a thoughtful attitude.
Raoden breathed a sigh of relief. "Whoever you are, I’m glad to see you. I was beginning to think everyone in here was either dying or insane."
"We can’t be dying," the man responded with a snort. "We’re already dead. Kolo?"
"Kolo." The foreign word was vaguely familiar, as was the man’s strong accent. "You’re not from Arelon?"
The man shook his head. "I’m Galladon, from the sovereign realm of Duladel. I’m most recently from Elantris, land of sludge, insanity, and eternal perdition. Nice to meet you."
"Duladel?" Raoden said. "But the Shaod only affects people from Arelon." He picked himself up, brushing away pieces of wood in various stages of decomposition, grimacing at the pain in his stubbed toe. He was covered with slime, and the raw stench of Elantris now rose from him as well.
"Duladel is of mixed blood, sule. Arelish, Fjordell, Teoish—you’ll find them all. I—"
Raoden cursed quietly, interrupting the man.
Galladon raised an eyebrow. "What is it, sule? Get a splinter in the wrong place? There aren’t many right places for that, I suppose."
"It’s my toe!" Raoden said, limping across the slippery cobblestones. "There’s something wrong with it—I stubbed it when I fell, but the pain isn’t going away."
Galladon shook his head ruefully. "Welcome to Elantris, sule. You’re dead— your body won’t repair itself like it should."
"What?" Raoden flopped to the ground next to Galladon’s steps. His toe continued to hurt with a pain as sharp as the moment he stubbed it.
"Every pain, sule," Galladon whispered. "Every cut, every nick, every bruise, and every ache—they will stay with you until you go mad from the suffering. As I said, welcome to Elantris."
"How do you stand it?" Raoden asked, massaging his toe, an action that didn’t help. It was such a silly little injury, but he had to fight to keep the pained tears from his eyes.
"We don’t. We’re either very careful, or we end up like those rulos you saw in the courtyard."
"In the courtyard.... Idos Domi!" Raoden pulled himself to his feet and hobbled toward the courtyard. He found the beggar boy in the same location, near the mouth of the alley. He was still alive... in a way.
The boy’s eyes stared blankly into the air, the pupils quivering. His lips worked silently, no sound escaping. The boy’s neck had been completely crushed, and there was a massive gash in its side, exposing the vertebrae and throat. The boy tried without success to breathe through the mess.
Suddenly Raoden’s toe didn’t seem so bad. "Idos Domi..." Raoden whispered, turning his head as his stomach lurched. He reached out and grabbed the side of a building to steady himself, his head bowed, as he tried to keep from adding to the sludge on the cobblestones.
"There isn’t much left for this one," Galladon said with a matter-of-fact tone, crouching down next to the beggar.
"How ?" Raoden began, then stopped as his stomach threatened him again. He sat down in the slime with a plop and, after a few deep breaths, continued. "How long will he live like that?"
"You still don’t understand, sule," Galladon said, his accented voice sorrowful. "He isn’t alive—none of us are. That’s why we’re here. Kolo? The boy will stay like this forever. That is, after all, the typical length of eternal damnation."
"Is there nothing we can do?"
Galladon shrugged. "We could try burning him, assuming we could make a fire. Elantrian bodies seem to burn better than those of regular people, and some think that’s a fitting death for our kind."
"And . . ." Raoden said, still unable to look at the boy. "And if we do that, what happens to him—his soul?"
"He doesn’t have a soul," Galladon said. "Or so the priests tell us. Korathi, Derethi, Jesker—they all say the same thing. We’re damned."
"That doesn’t answer my question. Will the pain stop if he is burned?"
Galladon looked down at the boy. Eventually, he just shrugged. "Some say that if you burn us, or cut off our head, or do anything that completely destroys the body, we’ll just stop existing. Others, they say the pain goes on—that we become pain. They think we’d float thoughtlessly, unable to feel anything but agony. I don’t like either option, so I just try to keep myself in one piece. Kolo?"
"Yes," Raoden whispered. "I kolo." He turned, finally getting the courage to look back at the wounded boy. The enormous gash stared back at him. Blood seeped slowly from the wound—as if the liquid were just sitting in the veins, like stagnant water in a pool.
With a sudden chill Raoden reached up and felt his chest. "I don’t have a heartbeat," he realized for the first time.
Galladon looked at Raoden as if he had made an utterly idiotic statement. "Sule, you’re dead. Kolo?"
THEY didn’t burn the boy. Not only did they lack the proper implements to make fire, but Galladon forbade it. "We can’t make a decision like that. What if he really has no soul? What if he stopped existing when we burned his body? To many, an existence of agony is better than no existence at all."
So, they left the boy where he had fallen—Galladon doing so without a second thought, Raoden following because he couldn’t think of anything else to do, though he felt the pain of guilt more sharply than even the pain in his toe.
Galladon obviously didn’t care whether Raoden followed him, went in another direction, or stood staring at an interesting spot of grime on the wall. The large, dark-skinned man walked back the way they had come, passing the occasional moaning body in a gutter, his back turned toward Raoden with a posture of complete indifference.
Watching the Dula go, Raoden tried to gather his thoughts. He had been trained for a life in politics; years of preparation had conditioned him to make quick decisions. He made one just then. He decided to trust Galladon.
There was something innately likable about the Dula, something Raoden found indefinably appealing, even if it was covered by a grime of pessimism as thick as the slime on the ground. It was more than Galladon’s lucidity, more than just his leisurely attitude. Raoden had seen the man’s eyes when he regarded the suffering child. Galladon claimed to accept the inevitable, but he felt sad that he had to do so.
The Dula found his former perch on the steps and settled back down. Taking a determined breath, Raoden walked over and stood expectantly in front of the man.
Galladon glanced up. "What?"
"I need your help, Galladon," Raoden said, squatting on the ground in front of the steps.
Galladon snorted. "This is Elantris, sule. There’s no such thing as help. Pain, insanity, and a whole lot of slime are the only things you’ll find here."
"You almost sound like you believe that."
"You are asking in the wrong place, sule."
"You’re the only noncomatose person I’ve met in here who hasn’t attacked me," Raoden said. "Your actions speak much more convincingly than your words."
"Perhaps I simply haven’t tried to hurt you because I know you don’t have anything to take."
"I don’t believe that."
Galladon shrugged an "I don’t care what you believe" shrug and turned away, leaning back against the side of the building and closing his eyes.
"Are you hungry, Galladon?" Raoden asked quietly.
The man’s eyes snapped open.
"I used to wonder when King Iadon fed the Elantrians," Raoden mused. "I never heard of any supplies entering the city, but I always assumed that they were sent. After all, I thought, the Elantrians stay alive. I never understood. If the people of this city can exist without heartbeats, then they can probably exist without food. Of course, that doesn’t mean the hunger goes away. I was ravenous when I awoke this morning, and I still am. From the looks in the eyes of those men who attacked me, I’d guess the hunger only gets worse."
Raoden reached under his grime-stained sacrificial robe, pulling out a thin object and holding it up for Galladon to see. A piece of dried meat. Galladon’s eyes opened all the way, his face changing from bored to interested. There was a glint in his eyes—a bit of the same wildness that Raoden had seen in the savage men earlier. It was more controlled, but it was there. For the first time, Raoden realized just how much he was gambling on his first impression of the Dula.
"Where did that come from?" Galladon asked slowly.
"It fell out of my basket when the priests were leading me here, so I stuffed it under my sash. Do you want it or not?"
Galladon didn’t answer for a moment. "What makes you think I won’t simply attack you and take it?" The words were not hypothetical; Raoden could tell that a part of Galladon was actually considering such an action. How large a part was still indeterminable.
"You called me ‘sule,’ Galladon. How could you kill one you’ve dubbed a friend?"
Galladon sat, transfixed by the tiny piece of meat. A thin drop of spittle ran unnoticed from the side of his mouth. He looked up at Raoden, who was growing increasingly anxious. When their eyes met, something sparked in Galladon, and the tension snapped. The Dula suddenly bellowed a deep, resounding laugh. "You speak Duladen, sule?"
"Only a few words," Raoden said modestly.
"An educated man? Rich offerings for Elantris today! All right, you conniving rulo, what do you want?"
"Thirty days," Raoden said. "For thirty days you will show me around and tell me what you know."
"Thirty days? Sule, you’re kayana."
"The way I see it," Raoden said, moving to tuck the meat back in his sash, "the only food that ever enters this place arrives with the newcomers. One must get pretty hungry with so few offerings and so many mouths to feed. One would think the hunger would be almost maddening."
"Twenty days," Galladon said, a hint of his former intensity showing again.
"Thirty, Galladon. If you won’t help me, someone else will."
Galladon ground his teeth for a moment. "Rulo," he muttered, then held out his hand. "Thirty days. Fortunately, I wasn’t planning any extended trips during the next month."
Raoden tossed him the meat with a laugh.
Galladon snatched the meat. Then, though his hand jerked reflexively toward his mouth, he stopped. With a careful motion he tucked the meat into a pocket and stood up. "So, what should I call you?"
Raoden paused. Probably best if people don’t know I’m royalty, for now. " ‘Sule’ works just fine for me."
Galladon chuckled. "The private type, I see. Well, let’s go then. It’s time for you to get the grand tour."
Excerpted from Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.
Copyright © 2005 by Brandon Sanderson.
Published in May 2005 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson, is a great novel. This story of "gods" brought low is quite gripping, leaving the reader on the edge of his or her seat. The story of the Elantrans, and their once great race and city, is very deep, with a plot that has more twists and turns than a hedge maze. A prince deeply loved by his people, shows the signs of the changing, pronounced dead, and thrown in the old city of Elantris with the rest of these immortal beings. His betrothed arrives at the palace only to find that he has "died," yet the story she is told seems not to fit with what she sees. A priest of the most powerful religion in the world sees the fall of Elantris as a sign that his religion is the one true path...or is it? Elantris was hard to put down, and even harder to know that it is a standalone, for I only want more!
I highly recommend this book to fantasy buffs as well as fans of Sanderson's other works. While not quite as fast paced or polished as his Mistborn series, it was a fantastic read with a very satisfying conclusion.
I really enjoyed this book. I found the time and world fascinating. It was amazing to think of an arranged marriage princess bride arriving to her new land to find out that her intended was dead and she was married to him, thus a widow never having met him in person. I have to admit that I have never met a character who came so close and yet had such a hard time getting married. I marvel how both the Princess and Prince created their own realms similarly yet apart. You want so badly for them to get together because you know that they would be good together. I love how the Prince pieces together the puzzle and comes to really love the Princess. He was so good at changing everyone in Elantris by giving them a job to do, a purpose. It really helps you appreciate our need for purpose in our lives. I was fascinated by the science involved in Elantris. It is hard to keep track of all of the characters especially because they sometimes have similar sounding names. There are a ton of characters to keep track of too. I found the priests involvement in the story disturbing at times but also intriguing. I do like how it ends.
What if the city of the gods, a beacon of hope and healing around the world, suddenly turned into a place of disease and ceaseless pain? The story of Elantris picks up ten years after the miraculous city of Elantris suffers that fate, and details the political maneuverings in the outside world in the aftermath. The book has no elves, no rings, no dragons, no wands, no vampires, and no werewolves and tells a humdinger of a good story. This is the first book I've read by Brandon Sanderson, and if they're all this good, I'm going to get every one.
I love this novel. It is completely unlike anything that has been done before. Sanderson's ability to create new types of magic is just incredible. And then he uses it to help the characters grow and develop and it is wonderful. I had definitely been in a reading slump, all the fantasy novels started to feel the same and then I picked up Elantris... I couldn't put it down. I was drawn into the intrigue and depth. I rarely knew exactly what was coming next. Sometimes I'd have a good idea, and he sets it up well to give the right hints, letting the reader think and then realize it had been set up perfectly. I really cannot recommend this book enough.
I enjoyed this book. It's definitely not as good as Sanderson's later works, but it's reflective of his fertile imagination. I loved the premised and enjoyed the plot. The characters were just okay and the ending wrapped up a little too neatly, which is why I don't rate it higher. Don't let the overhyping spoil it for you. It's a fine, middle-of-the-pack fantasy.
Compelling characters, Rich and Dynamic world, Page-turning story. I've now read several Brandon Sanderson novels/series and I can honestly say I LOVE Elantris. It's a stand-alone and is a great quick read for me. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes Fantasy, anyone who likes good fiction and anyone interested in reading Brandon Sanderson. The only problem I had was that I didn't want to haul around my hard copy for when the impulse to read it struck. Problem solved! I now own it on Nook as well!
It's so rare these days for me to have a sense of completion when I read a fantasy novel, that this was a pleasant change. Sanderson built an interesting, layered fantasy world and laid out a very tight plot. It was fast paced and the characters were fun. It definitely shows that this is his first work though, because there's definitely a level of predictability about the whole book. Though I enjoyed this book, I far prefer his Mistborn trilogy.
This was an excellent book. For people who are "dying" , they are taken to a city of the damned. The prince of the city, finds himself there, but refuses to let the sickness stop him from helping others, learning more about the sickness, & finds the cure. Prince Raoden is a true prince. He helps the city occupants remember their humanity & with that establishes leadership over many of the factions in the city of the damned. I would also encourage to read many of his other stories.
I enjoyed it despite the politicking. Did I enjoy this book: I did. A friend of mine recommended it to me, and well, I’m a sucker for sci-fi. There was just a bit too much politicking for my interests, but I did enjoy it, and if you’re a fan of Dune, you’ll like it as well. The imagery was stunning – it would translate well to the big screen – and the writing was darn close to perfection. The conclusion felt a bit contrived; it was, despite the numerous deaths, just a bit too neat. The Elantrians are doused in oil, Spirit is on his way to eternal damnation, and Serene is moments away from her demise, and yet – suddenly – everything falls into place quite perfectly, and everything turns out okay. It was just a bit too lovely to be believable (well, as believable as a book about a city of once-magical-now-zombie people can be, I suppose). Even still, I enjoyed it up to the last page. Would I recommend it: For sure! Especially if you’re a fan of the Dune series, you’ll like the mix of politics, magic, and love affairs. Will I read it again: It’s unlikely due to the ginormous “To Read” list I’m currently grappling with, but Sanderson left ample room for a sequel, and I’d certainly read that! As reviewed by Melissa at Every Free Chance Book Reviews.
A rich, detailed story with characters you can truly care about, this is a great saga. Sanderson weaves a very complex, realistic tale with something for everyone. Politics, religions, love, hate, loyalty, betrayal. He does tend to go to the dark side before coming out on top though.
I honestly did not see how this would be resolved til it was. Great read and inspiring optimism amid what would be certain dispair.
This is one of the best books that I have ever read. The characters are so funny and pull you into the story without even trying. I think that I like this book even more than the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians books by Brandon Sanderson. Of course, the Alcatraz books are for kids, but they're still amazing. I digress. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why is it impossible to give this book more then 5 stars?
I got into Brandon Sanderson because he was the author tapped to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. I've read the Mistborn trilogy, both his WOT books, and loved them, so I thougt I should read his first novel as well. Elantris is definetly a simpler work than those later books. Secondary characters aren't that well defined, and even the main three protagonists can be a little one dimensional at times. But this is still a good page turner, displays Sandersons strengths, such as well written female characters,clarity of plot, slow, realistic revealing of the secrets of the world. A good summer read.
Incredible story telling, amazing ending, gifted author! Check out his mistborn trilogy too.
I haven't read many fantasy books, but I really enjoyed Brandon Sanderson's reading so I thought that I would do a review on one of his books. Since I was unfamiliar with his work, I went to one of my friends who is a really big fan of his writing and asked him where to start, so I started at the beginning, with his first novel, Elantris. I was almost immediately drawn into this book. I really enjoyed his style of moving from one vantage point to another, giving you the different sides of the story. I loved that this book wasn't as predictable as I thought. As I read books, I'm usually trying to come up with what would happen in the end. I merely got the gist of what was going to happen. I can honestly tell you that I was surprised at the things that happened in this story. I however get impatient when I read a book. I was constantly reading and waiting to see if my conjectures were right. This is one of those books that is hard to put down. I stayed up until two in the morning trying to finish it. It was absolutely fantastic. Sanderson utilized so many elements. It wasn't one of those books where there was a single problem that the entire book was based on. All of his main characters are constantly trying to solve multiple problems, making you wonder exactly how everything fits together. It was a remarkable novel and I would suggest it to just about everyone.
Elantris is an outstanding novel. Though this is Sanderson's debut, do not be fooled. The novel quickly picks up pace in the first chapter and gains momentum from there on. There are three protagonists--Raoden, prince of Arelon; Sarene, princess of Teod; Hrathen, a gyorn, or Derethi priest. All three characters are well-developed; the reader will soon fall in love with them. The story starts off with Raoden. He awakes to find himself a victim of the Shaod, a condition in which causes a person to seem dead. He is then thrown into Elantris, the city of the dammed who are cursed with the Shaod. The city used to contain god-like humans, but it now holds cursed humans. Raoden wants to restore the former glory of Elantris and studies Aons, Elantrian magic. He soon discovers the problem... In Arelon, Sarene, intended to be wedded to Raoden, finds herself widowed. So, she engages Hrathen in a religious battle hoping to save Arelon--Shu-Korath, her religion, versus Shu-Dereth, Hrathen's religion. However, Sarene is unaware that Hrathen is, in fact, preventing Wyrn from slaughtering the people by converting them to Shu-Dereth. Resistance will cause problems... This is an amazing book; the best I've read in a long time. Elantris is original and intellectually-stimulating. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy novel with interesting characters, as well as an engaging plot.
Brandon Sanderson is now among my favorite authors of all time because of his writing style, character progression, and storyline. He has a way with words that creates a feeling that you are a part of the world, not just a casual observer. Through this feeling, he is able to convey emotions much better because it makes the reader feel them just as much as the characters in the story. The character progression in this book is great, watching the main people grow from emotional states that one might find a bit distasteful, to grown adults with stable emotions. They are not perfect, but that makes the readers able to relate to them even better. Best of all, though, is the storyline that Mr. Sanderson creates. He is able to develop a plot by using a simple obstacle and turning it into one of the biggest worlds of intrigue, mystery, violence, love, supernatural, and all around mayhem. he turns a simple murder into governmental collapse; he turns a travelling princess into the savior of a world; and he turns a very evil antagonist into something that may surprise the reader (sorry no spoilers). The fact that he does these things doesn't make him a great author, for anyone could do that; it is how he does it. He is very subtle with his touch in the progression of the plot, he adds in some ostentatious pieces to distract the reader, and then he springs a twist on you that has been building in the underlying intrigue part of the plot. This is one of the best books that I have read in a long time, and I give it an incredible amout of recommendation and respect.
Some people seem to dislike Sanderson's way of not explaining everything about everything. From my perspective, and after reading his other books, I believe Sanderson didn't write Elantris as a part of a series, or even found telling the entire history (other than a few plot points that required it)of the complex civilizations that make up his world entirely necessary to the story. In fact, I thought the parallels between Islam and Derethi were almost obvious, and didn't really require a full, extensive explanation for those who could pick up on that. As well, he includes a glossary with definitions at the back of the book for those who find it too much of a struggle to understand.
Other than that, I was very pleased to discover that Sanderson is a brilliant story teller (I only checked him out because he is finishing up Memory of Light). His characters have depth and likability, and, even though I tend to loathe political fantasy, the political intrigue parts of the story are *actually* intriguing. He gives the tired genre of fantasy a much needed make-over. Would highly recommend this, and his other books.
A very engaging and original stand-alone fantasy. It's characters are well developed and easy to empathize with. It's plot and many subplots come together in a complete and satisfying way.
I have just finsihed reading this amazing book and I am glad I found it. I feel in love with all the wonderful people in this book and read it every chance I got. When I wasn't able to read it I could not get it off my mind this book blew me away becuase at the time I bought it I was not able to fully read what it was about and by luck it was one of the best books I have read. Now I am going to by another book by this author.
My job requires a lot of travel, so I'm always looking for great books to keep me company. I finished this one in four days, even with full days and busy nights. Any spare moment I could get was spent reading this novel. As a long-time lover of fantasy, I will be watching this author's career excitedly.
I'm in shock... I can't remember the last time I read good modern fantasy- oh, right. There wasn't a last time. The book does have a few problems- first, his made up languages/alphabet- inventing a language is not a good idea. It's very hard to take someone seriously when they're constantly being referred to as a 'gyorn'. Also, as a general rule, thousand-petaled flower-type things are not good alphabet-wise. Second, the 'cliamctic final battle' drags. For something like 50 pages. Overall, however, it's a good book. It was especially attractive in the store because it had no 'Volume One of Whatever' on its cover, which is quite nice after all the (badly-written) never-ending fantasy sequences that people normally write.
well I didnt actually read the book. but I just met him. he was in the mall at a book store in a mall here in provo. I talked to him for a little bit. I dont know if he said anything about a sequel but he said slomething about four other books which may have to do with the first one. I didnt have enough money to buy it but I think it is something I will get around too. I havent read any fantasy in the past few years and I think this may be a good step back into it. he was a really really nice guy and I was happy to meet him, me being an aspiring writer myself. but yeah I think some people who have read the book might like to hear this but I dont really care I jsut felt like saying that if you really really like him I got to meet him so I get to rub it in your face. just kidding. he was cool though