Elantris (Elantris #1)
written by Brandon Sanderson
published by Tor Books
Why did I pick this book: It was recommended to me.
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!
About the book – from Goodreads: 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.