Sunday 21 August 2011

Review: Elantris - Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 656
Published: August 11, 2011 (2005)
Publisher: Gollancz
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.

My thoughts:
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


  1. wow Blod, 656 pages. Sounds like a really good fantasy book to sink your teeth into. This also sounds like something that can be made into a mini-series. Nice review.

  2. Sometimes for me with fantasy books the characters get lost a bit in the world building and the plot, but it sounds like this one has equally strong characters. Love it:)

  3. Nice review Blodeuedd, he is the one who finished the Wheel of Time series? I'll keep this one in mind.

  4. This was my first experience with Brandon Sanderson and it was really fantastic - I think he's actually working on a sequel, possibly, or a book set in the same world, but I also liked that it stood alone. That's rare these days.

    Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm

  5. I want it, I want it, I want it and one day I will get it for sure. You review is bad for my finances but thank you!

  6. One of the problems I have with fantasy is the lack of stand alone books. I may pick this one up.

  7. sometimes it's nice read books that you know aren't going to be a series.

  8. I was thinking I like the cover when I saw your cover thoughts, lol. I'm not a fan of fantasy but you make this one sound interesting.

  9. Religious zealotry is a scary topic as I believe that there are many roads to God as well.

  10. I do not like politics :( But this does sound like it has more than politics going on for it. And it is not a series too :) I will keep it in mind.

  11. I still haven't tried his books so maybe this would be good to start. Since this isn't part of a serie. Why I think fantasy books are nearly always long series?

  12. @Naida
    Lol, I am used to them being long so I do not even think about it :)
    As in tv? Cos that would be cool

    I would not say anyone gets lost here, they stand out above the rest :D

    Yup he is the guy...omg the last part is coming soon! *faints*

    Oh, I did not know that :D But yes that would work since even if it was the end there is always room for more in this world. I just hope he finishes a certain other series first

  13. That's a big book...I'm not much for fantasy so I don't think it would be for me. I think it's a nice cover, though.

  14. @Ana
    Oh they all say that :) If I lived near a real bookstore I'd sure go crazy too.

    I know, they are sure rare but some are out there

    It was great. I do love a good series, but I am not good with waiting

    Honestly it keeps growing on me for some reason :)
    Oh fantasy is the best

  15. @Stephanie
    It always freaks me out how some are willing to kill for their God. Innocent people who have done nothing wrong. And I do like how he put that here. These poor people did believe in one thing, but long ago the religion split in two. And now the other one is wrong. Epic

    Oh fear not. It is not boring but it has to be there. You can't be around kings and dukes without having politics in it. And yes not a series and it does give you so much more

    Lol, maybe cos they always are ;) I mean I am happy when it is just a trilogy

    I love fantasy so perfect for em :D Who know maybe you would like it

  16. I have heard so many good things about this author, but haven't read anything by him yet. I don't mind the sci-fi angle, so I may have to pick this one up.

  17. This sounds fantastic! It's quite the chunkster at over 600 pages too. I do actually like that cover. It's what I first noticed and then needed to know what the book was about.

  18. I enjoyed this one. It was long but well paced for the most part.

  19. lol. Sanderson is a Genious! I have to say. Wonderous imagination on this man. I keep wondering what he will come up with next.

  20. This is a book I have wanted to read since it came out, bur for whatever reason, I haven't picked it up yet. I need to get on it.

  21. My favorite part of Elentris is the way that Sanderson manages to so succinctly sum up the history that lead to the current events in just a page, and then starts off the story in a way that immediately drew me in. With that said, this isn't my favorite of his books because the characters really annoyed me. Raoden is just so annoyingly perky all the time and Sarene was just plain obnoxious. It made it hard for me to enjoy the story.

  22. I was just thinking that I was going to comment that this book sounds wonderful but I'm not in the mood for such long books at the moment. Then you wrote the recommendation for those afraid of long epic fantasys' LOL

  23. I like that this one isnt a series. It seems like all the books I'm reading lately have been part of a series.

  24. Interesting. I'll put it on the tbr. The next big fantasy series I want to tackle is Goodkind's Sword of Truth Series.

  25. @Melissa
    Do read book by him :D Cos well, fantasy is the best genre is the world. Trust me on this.

    That is fantasy for you. I do like when they are chunksters, I feel right at home at once then.

    It's..yeah, something else

    It was a good book, now I have almost read all his books

    I know, that man and his imagination! How does he come up with the magic? And here he had signs and all for the magic.

    So good

  26. @Ryan
    Then you really should get cracking on it :=) it will be worth it

    I know, how does he do that? I never feel lost. the history is there witout him rambling on about it.

    Lol, well yes I do agree that he was one happy guy. I usually hate the happy people but here it worked because he was not truly happy. he tried to be for everyone else so that he would not just sit down and go all comatose.

    And no love for Sarene either? I liked her spunky self

    Haha, yes there you go, it was truly meant to be.

    I know, they are everywhere these days. in every genre

    @jenny girl
    I read them up to a point, and then I waited years for the library to get the next one and by then I could not even remember where I stopped

  27. This sounds good, I'm going to go check it out. And if you're getting Secod Grave on the Left, you gotta read First Grave on the Right first to fully appreciate it! Hope you love Charley as much as I do!

  28. Jenny
    Oh I made a mistake, sorry! I meant that I got book 1 :) Did not make that clear cos yes I have to start at the beginning



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