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Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Brandon Sanderson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,2001931,872 (4.02)4 / 437
Elantris was built on magic and it thrived. But then the magic began to fade and Elantris began to rot. And now its shattered citizens face domination by a powerful Imperium motivated by dogged religious views. Can a young Princess unite the people of Elantris, rediscover the lost magic and lead a rebellion against the imperial zealots? Brandon Sanderson's debut fantasy showed his skill as a storyteller and an imaginer of baroque magical systems to be fully developed from the start.… (more)
Authors:Brandon Sanderson
Info:Tor Fantasy (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 656 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading

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Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (2005)


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English (182)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  All languages (192)
Showing 1-5 of 182 (next | show all)
This had a rather dry start, with many words in an alternate world to learn, which made it slow going. However, it definitely picked up mid-book, and the last 4 to 6 chapters were simply galloping on! I left those last chapters for another day, or I would have been reading into 4 am (again!). I am interested in finding out where he is taking this story. For a first novel, this is quite an achievement. I'm going to say 3.5 stars, because of the words, and names, can be rather much. Well-plotted, and characters were believable throughout. ( )
  OtownShorty | Mar 26, 2020 |
I've had this book on my TBR for quite awhile and finally got around to reading it. This is Brandon Sanderson's first published book and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the information at the front and back telling about Sanderson's development as an author and the development of the book. This book is set in Cosmere, a universe where many of the author's books take place. The author wanted to write an epics that does not require readers to read a large number of books (I didn't know this until researching this book). I own 3 books of Mistborn which also are in the Cosmere Universe.

Elantris was a place of magic, and the Elantrians were gods in the eyes of people, with their ability to create and heal with a mere wave of the hand. But after a cataclysmic event, known as the Reod, the inhabitants of the city became "cursed," and the city was sealed off from society. Anyone affected by the Shaod, or the disease that turns a person into an Elantrian, is thrown into Elantris to stay there forever. A state of being dead without ever being dead (a hell).

The book focuses on three principal characters (Raoden, Sarene, Hrathen) whose stories intertwine. Much of the book occurs in groupings of three chapters, one for each of the three main characters. The majority of the story takes places within the country of Arelon. The Aons are the magic that has been lost during the catclysmic event and the main character, Prince Raoden, works at restoring the Aons magic power.

Awards and receptions; Publisher's Weekly - offers something for everyone, including mystery, magic, romance, politics, religious conflict and robust characters. ( )
  Kristelh | Mar 7, 2020 |
principe elantriano principessa teodita contro invasione shu-dereth ( )
  SamanthaRaciti | Feb 25, 2020 |
One of the most unique reads of my life. ( )
  abbas07 | Jan 26, 2020 |
88 points/100 (4.5 stars/5)

Elantris was once a beautiful city ruled by beautiful people who were basically their own gods, capable of doing anything they wanted. Now they have fallen, becoming what appears to be mindless things, and Raoden has become one of them. As Raoden fights to make the Elantrians into more than they have become, his now widowed wife he never got to see, Sarene, is having to find her way in this new elite society. Meanwhile, Hrathen has come from a distant land to convert the people of Arelon to his religion, or else.

Where does one even begin to review something like this? This is a very good ending that has a very slow start. I think if I had read Elantris before I had read other works in the Cosmere, I probably would have rated it higher. As it stands, I can see how this was a much less refined work.

This had the slowest start of any Sanderson work I've read to date. It really wasn't until 50% into the book that I started to connect to the story at all. I connected with Raoden right away, but I imprint on the first character that makes a presence at all and grip on to them tightly. As always with Sanderson though, I find the story getting ripped away from Raoden every time it was starting to get good, and I'd have to deal with another character I really just did not care about. Over and over and over again. It made for angry cake.

The build up to the ending was great. I got more and more excited at every 10% past the 50% mark. The ending itself was a bit disappointing. I was expecting a bit more than we got. It was a lot of buildup for about 20 minutes of action. I still love the outcome, though. I was just hoping for more. Again, this is probably an outcome of having read other bits of the cosmere before this. The characters also feel like prototypes of characters he is writing in other series.

Raoden (or Raobae as I like to call him) is the best character. He is a natural leader thrown into a terrible situation, but determined to make it better for himself, but most importantly for the people around him. I really liked his story the best, and I turned into a raging she-beast every time the story decided to move away from him. I loved Raoden's trying to make the best of things for everyone, despite it not doing so well for him. Raoden's storyline is all about creating a society from a bunch of down on their luck people.

Sarene, I liked much, much less. In fact, I actively disliked her. I actually call her Shallan-lite and cannot even remember her name - I have to look it up every time I use it. I thought her story took up much more time than it needed to. It felt so unnecessary to go to her half the times we went to her I grew frustrated. In the end, her story came together, and her interactions with Raoden were great. It was just getting to that point that was increasingly frustrating. Sarene is a rather annoyingly smug character who is deeply rooted in hating herself. Sarene's storyline is all about the political side of the spectrum, court intrigue, and just what is a good ruler anyway.

Hrathen's point of view is funny, mostly because it has Dilaf in it. Dilaf has an uncanny ability to cock up every plan Hrathen makes. It is hilarious. I love it. Hrathen's storyline deals with religion and what it means to be religious, and what it means to convert others to your side. Hrathen actively is trying to convert people to his way of thinking, and he is on a deadline. After a previous plan has been a win for him, but left the city he converted on the brink of collapse, Hrathen is having second thoughts about the way he is conducting things. Hrathen's storyline is interesting and I like it much better than Sarene's, but I really would just like Raoden.

The world building, as always from Sanderson, was solid. I loved trying to unravel the mystery of Elantris. Elantris grabbed me instantly of the mystery of what happened to the city of Elantris. I wanted to know what they were going to do to fix Elantris. Well, what Raoden was going to do, at least, because the others were unnecessary for that. Sanderson has a solid hook into this book that takes a while to even get around to. Other than Elantris, the court intrigue was kind of boring, which made me dislike Sarene even more. However, the whole Fjordell part was interesting, and I'm sort of disappointed we didn't get to see inside the country into what was really going on.

Sanderson pays special attention to religion in this book. The entire story is coated in it. They're pretty interesting, too. I like how he likes to point out "they're all the same religion, anyway" quite a few times in the book. It makes the whole fight seem not worth it, and everyone knows it. Everyone knows that the religions are all the same at their core, but they still fight over it anyway. Amazing.

The romance is actually pretty adorable. This is not something I have ever really said about a Sanderson book I have read before (though as of writing this I have only read Stormlight Archive and Warbreaker). I have to get over my annoyance that Sarene spends so much time lamenting the fact that no one at all likes her, even as a friend. After that, though, I really like how the romance plays out. I was fearing it never would when I started the book, and I'd have to put up with all that whining for nothing. Glad to be proven wrong.

Overall, Elantris is the weakest of the Cosmere, but still a good book. As Sanderson put it in the postscript, this is "an outlandish, stand-alone book inspired by the idea of a prison city for zombie lepers." It is an amazing idea, that I really did love the result of, even if I didn't think it was the best thing he had ever written. Elantris could really use a sequel, in all honesty. I felt like the world was unfinished at the end, even if the story was. ( )
  keikii | Jan 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 182 (next | show all)
The author's skill at turning conventional fantasy on its head produces a tale filled with surprising twists and turns and a conclusion both satisfying and original.
added by Katya0133 | editLibrary Journal, Jackie Cassada (May 15, 2005)
A cut above the same-old, but hardly a classic.
added by Katya0133 | editKirkus (May 1, 2005)
A surprisingly satisfying, single-volume epic fantasy that invokes a complex, vibrant world.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Regina Schroeder (May 1, 2005)
The intrigue and excitement grow steadily in this smoothly written, perfectly balanced narrative; by the end readers won't want to put it down.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (Apr 8, 2005)
This a book that if you haven't read already, it should be high up on your list of books to read next. While the steep learning curve and the slow pacing can be a little frustrating at times, the compelling characters and the intriguing mysteries make it so hard to put this book down.

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brandon Sandersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Creer, JeffreyMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de las Heras, StephanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garrett, JackNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, SamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martiniere, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedicated to my mother,

Who wanted a doctor,

Ended up with a writer,

But loved him enough not to complain

(Very much).
First words
Elantris was beautiful, once.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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Haiku summary
Elantris, fabled
city of old. Then: Sheod,
doom. Magic restores.

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