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Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
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Elantris (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Brandon Sanderson

Series: Elantris

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,5311372,387 (4.02)4 / 362
Member:imager
Title:Elantris
Authors:Brandon Sanderson
Info:Tor Fantasy (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 656 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Green Dragon, Fantasy, Magic, Religion

Work details

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (2005)

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English (128)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 128 (next | show all)
Another amazing book from Sanderson. If this is really the first one he published, it is even more astounding. Very memorable novel with a different anotehr different take on the magic system. ( )
  Guide2 | Aug 14, 2014 |
I've got fond memories of this book - everything from the cover blurb to the cover art to the smell of the pages, it started a love affair (totally platonic, I swear!) between me and Brandon Sanderson.
The plot is pretty original; on any given day, a normal member of the population may begin a transformation. This is widely feared, because this means exile to the city of Elantris, but also an existence of constant pain, hunger, and hellish immortality.
What causes this metamorphosis? An ancient curse from a scorned god? An incurable disease? Whatever it may be, the walls of Elantris function as a quarantine, prison, and civil rights blindfold, all-in-one.
Here's a hint as to the cause - it's less "mummy's curse" and more "spiritual constipation."
Funnily enough, the characters are sometimes frustrating: the main character, a prince, and his love interest, a princess (surprise!), might have been named Mary Sue and Johnny Stu. That's unfair - they just subscribe to a lot of childish protagonist stereotypes and then magically grow up by the end of the novel.
Still, I enjoyed it all the way through, and I like Sanderson now. I consider that a win. ( )
  zhyatt | Aug 10, 2014 |
Can be a bit slow at times, unanticipated ending but a good read.
  Musefall | Jul 29, 2014 |
Possibly my favorite book by Brandon Sanderson, Elantris is a fast-paced, entertaining read. Unlike some of Sanderson's other works, Elantris is a stand-alone, and it leaves nothing wanting. The story takes place in a well-imagined world of political intrigue and magical mysteries, and the plot moves along at a brisk pace. While it's true that some plot elements may seem a bit contrived - or else just incredibly convenient - and the morals of the story are delivered with a less-than-subtle hand, the book kept me entertained and interested from cover to cover. It's perfect for anyone interested in a well-written stand-alone novel. ( )
  CinnamonandGinger | Apr 8, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Upon arriving in Arelon to marry Prince Raoden, the competent and strong-willed Princess Sarene discovers that he has died. What she doesn’t know is that Prince Raoden has succumbed to the Shaod and been cast into Elantris, an uncivilized slum of undead zombie-like people who have no government and no resources. I won’t say anything more about the plot, since it’s been covered in Bill’s review (above).

I really enjoyed listening to Elantris on audio (nice production by Recorded Books) and I think it’s a great debut. Brandon Sanderson has created a couple of heroes I enjoyed spending time with, and a truly engaging story. But, Elantris had several elements that almost made me cringe:

1. Some of the “lessons” of Elantris (war is bad, zealots are dangerous, women are just as competent as men, political rank should not be determined by wealth but rather by ability, you can do anything if you try) are handled with all the subtlety of a brick to the forehead. For example, the men’s attitudes toward women, and the subsequent behavior of the women, are so ridiculously patriarchal as to be unbelievable. If a woman uses her brain, the men (and women) are intimidated by her. Therefore, Sarene hasn’t been able to find a husband. Obviously there’s a lesson here, but it loses its potency when we see that nearly all of the women actually are stupid and are just as intimidated by Sarene as the men are. Also, when Sarene mopes that she (a princess) hasn’t been able to attract a husband because she doesn’t act like they want her to, it makes me think that the men in this society are just as stupid as the women are (and why would she want to marry one of them?)...

2. …Except for Prince Raoden and Sarene, of course. They are perfect. Mary Sue and Gary Stu, actually. Though they have been dealt a bad hand, they are super-smart and super-competent. When they act, roads straighten and obstacles move out of the way. The reader has no doubt that everything will turn out right in the end, so there’s essentially no tension. However, Hrathen, the high priest who is trying to convert Arelon for his wrathful god and emperor, is a more complex character and saves this novel from feeling too simplistic.

3. I didn’t believe the political system in which people rise to, and fall from, power based on their income. How long could that kind of system work and what kind of people would go for that? Well, I guess the same sort who are intimidated by Princess Sarene… I also had trouble believing that the people who lived in Elantris never tried to better their lives before Prince Raoden showed up.

4. The writing is competent, but some of the dialogue is stilted and there are frequent uses of unnecessary explanatory narrative, such as telling the reader what something implies or when someone was “speaking for the first time,” or “declining to answer” or holding their questions or obviously unconvinced, etc. This made for some long passages (usually during meetings) where not much actually happened.

Even with all of this stuff that annoyed me all the way through, I have to say that I still loved Elantris. Mary and Gary — I mean Sarene and Raoden — are characters to care about, and that still-young-and-idealistic part of me enjoyed reading about the successes that Prince Raoden and Sarene accomplished in Elantris and Arelon. Brandon Sanderson’s greatest strength, though, is his creative magic systems. Just as in the Mistborn trilogy, the magic of Elantris is truly unique and one of the most fun parts of the book. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 128 (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 (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brandon Sandersonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Garrett, JackNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martiniere, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
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. (From the epilogue)

Prince Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary
Elantris, fabled
City of old. Then: Sheod,
Doom. Magic restores.
(passion4reading)

No descriptions found.

"Elantris: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities to benefit all the people of Arelon. Yet each of these godlike beings had been an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Then, ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, feeble, leper-like creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling. The Shaod became a curse." "Arelon's new capital city, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris, which its people do their best to ignore. Princess Sarene of Teod has come to Kae for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping - based on their correspondence - also to 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. Sarene decides to make the best of a sad situation and use her position to oppose the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god." "But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspects the truth about Prince Raoden's disappearance. Taken by the same strange malady that struck the fallen gods of Elantris, Raoden was secretly imprisoned within the dark city. His struggle to create a society for the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps even reveal the secret of Elantris itself."--book jacket.… (more)

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