Elantris: Tenth Anniversary Author's Definitive Edition Hardcover – Apr 21 2005
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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.
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
Elantris was a crisp autumn gust of originality that blew away from my mind the mouldering dust of the insipid string of words that were called fantasy novels. The races are original, the magic logical, the politics truly intriguing, and the best of all, there is no Good and Evil. Even the antagonist, Hrathen, is depicted as a real human being who believes that what he is doing is just and will save countless lives.
And the plot... I could go on about it for days. All I can say is, you will never expect the end, but when it hits you like a maelstrom, you will realise that there had been countless clues that foreshadowed it. I truly believe that Elantris will become a timeless classic. Get your first editions today!
If you can read the opening line of this novel and not keep reading, then you are something special. This book is populated with interesting characters and relatable problems. Although it might not have the same level of hard realism of some of the darker fantasists out there, his innovative magic system and plot twists help make this book a favourite of mine.
I believe the use of plausible-sounding names of places in the story (Fjordell, Jindo, etc) help make the novel even stronger. Sure Fjordell sounds Norwegian or Finnish or some such, but it gives me some sort of idea of what the country might be like, which is helpful. Better than the fantasy cliche of just stringing together an incoherent bunch of letters that don't give any idea of what the country might be like.
In any case, a highly recommended novel.
(Note that if you are looking for a darker and more harshly realistic story there may be other better choices out there, so check my reviews. Sanderson's books have tend to have less swearing, sex, and throat-slitting as some of the grittier fantasy works, so they reach a broader audience. Highly recommended as more accessible fiction.)
It not only features a great storyline, but three-dimensional characters, good pacing, maintenance of suspense, and best of all, no cliches! The fantasy genre is so full of things that were fresh and new 1,000 years ago, like dragons, but now, it's so cluttered with ultimate good vs. evil plots, nobodys who are pitted against the greatest evil this world has ever seen, and old mentor wizards. Don't get me started on elves, dwarves, orcs, dragons, and all too commonly seen races and creatures.
Not only has Sanderson invented a race called Elantrians who are exquisitely detailed and carefully crafted, but he has given them a terrible curse called the Shaod which has made once beautiful creatures into diseased, half-dead scavengers.
The main character, Prince Raoden, is a very compelling character who never gives up no matter what adversities he is faced with.
His wife-to-be, Princess Sarene, is no damsel in distress, which is also quite refreshing. But she isn't the token "Red Sonja" character who's "the tough chick". Yes, she can handle a sword quite well, but she's in touch with her feminine side, too. She's not Xena. She's not an archetypal character, period.
None of the characters were archetypal, in fact.
The point-of-view shifts were done very well. Clarity was excellent here. As well, the villain was extremely well-developed. Definitely not a cardboard cutout. Sneaky, conniving, and twisted, the true villain's identity was so surprising and unpredictable.
The whole book was unpredictable, in fact.
So if you want to read the best fantasy novel out there right now, grab Elantris. You will most assuredly not be dissapointed. Sanderson delivers what he promises--a gripping fantasy tale free of cliches.
Truly a must read for anybody searching for a fresh new direction in the often cliche-heavy fantasy genre.
The mystery of exactly what happened to the Elantrians hangs over all of "Elantris," Brandon Sanderson's solid but flawed debut fantasy novel. It has a brilliantly complex magical system and an epic interwoven conflict of politics, religion and history, with some genuinely likable protagonists... but it also has some freshman mistakes, as well as an uncomfortable undercurrent to the religious criticism.
Princess Sarene of Teod is shocked when she arrives in her new land of Arelan -- her fiancee, Prince Raoden, has unexpectedly died. And because of an odd clause in their betrothal contract, she counts as his wife even though they technically didn't get married. So now she's a widowed princess with a dead husband she's never seen in person.
However... Raoden isn't actually dead. He's been turned into an Elantrian, meaning he now resembles an immortal zombie who suffers from a never-ending hunger, and will eventually go mad from the assorted small injuries he can't heal from. But he decides to make the best of his imprisonment in Elantris, gathering followers and trying to clean up the filthy, slime-drenched city. And as he studies Elantrian texts, he begins to learn what caused the terrible transformation.
Meanwhile, Sarene finds herself in the middle of political and religious conflicts -- she joins up with some friends of Raoden's in order to figure out if her betrothed was murdered.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
It seemed everything that could go wrong, did for the characters in this book. Right down to the end I wasn't sure how it would turn out. A thoroughly enjoyable book.Published 15 days ago by Brian W.
interrsting world, character and magic structure.
Its just a bit difficult to digest the level of changes can happen in society in few weeks...
Very enjoyable, but the end, while satisfying, sets up for a sequel that doesn't exist.Published 4 months ago by Sean Hunter
Excellent novel. The characters havr thier own voice and for the most part are complex and interesting. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Tammy L Monds
One of the most vivid and intriguing worlds I have ever dove into. Every character is dynamic and each chapter leaves you wanting more. Can't wait to read the next one.Published 8 months ago by Mack H.
Sanderson at his best,well thought out,fast paced with a cast of human characters with human problems and feelings. Great job!Published 11 months ago by Barb Farmer
Well written, well integrated story with a few concurrent plots. I picked this up after reading a few chapters online via a link from Tor books, and enjoyed it. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Tony Bailey
My daughter told me to read this. She'll get a special present now - I've discovered my new favourite author!Published 23 months ago by seekerHAP
Brandon Sanderson and I have a strange relationship: I read his books, love them, and then I'm terrified to pick up his next book. Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2014 by Lucas