Published: August 11, 2011 (2005)
Source: For review
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful and 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. 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.
This was Sanderson's debut and already here he showed why he is such a wonderful fantasy writer. The book is also different in a way since this is it, there is no series. This book is it and I liked that.´There was an end to it.
Sanderson is a master when it comes to creating religions, political intrigues and magical systems, he just does it so well. His books shines with it and they are a joy to read. The imagination and work he puts in to his stories makes them so much more.
In this story we meet prince Raoden who is tossed into Elantris to die a miserable death and his family proclaims he died from some sudden disease. He is a true hero and loves his people. And now being Elantrian he does his best to help this poor people. Because they are, well zombies in a way. They feel every wound and they seem to be rotting away. When the pain is too much they just lie down and stay like that. The big question is why this is happening since Elantrians used to have power and magic, but then came the curse...
Sarene is the other main character. She comes as a bride but lands as a widow. Still she stays because just as Raoden wants to save Elantrians now, Sarene wants to save her new people and the people back home. She is no scared little princess, she has a keen mind and is not afraid to say what she thinks.
This book is a lot about the political intrigues that are going on in this country and abroad. There is a big bad empire with a religious ruler who wants to take over the world and make everyone believe in his faith. The people in Arelon does believe in the same god, but there are two roads to God, and as we do know people will always find fault in others. Especially when it comes to religious zealotism and here that is truly shown. Because even if Hrathen is bad with his die or convert scheme then there are worse men out there and we meet them. This religion also despises the former Elantrians since they were almost like Gods.
The other part of the political world is the inner turmoil in the country. The Elantrians used to rule but when that broke down the rich took over and created an order where the richest have titles, and the poor are even poorer and in serfdom. It is a system which is crumbling and seems ripe to be plucked by conquerors.
I have already said that I like the magic, politics and religion he creates. But he also creates such wonderful characters to root for, or hate with a passion. And while doing just that you have this dread inside of you, because how can this book end well? Raoden is rotting, Sarene is playing with fire and there is an Empire who wants to crush everyone.
A great fantasy book that I could not put down. I was so immersed in the story and wanted to know what would happen to them all. It is a book I recommend and if you are afraid of long fantasy epics then this one book (even if long to some) is a great book for you to start with.
Could not put it down
I am not a fan of these, but it kind of grows on me. But it seems a bit..sci-fiesqe