Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Elantris" review

Elantris was beautiful, once.

So Brandon Sanderson's first novel (his first!) begins, acknowledging its epic tone despite the fact that it's an entire story in one book. And it's satisfying.

Ten years ago, the Reod struck, causing the beauty of Elantris, as well as its ultra-powerful beings, to fade. Now anyone who is transformed in the Shaod is sent into the cursed city to rot. What once was paradise now has become a slime-covered domain of the damned. Prince Raoden of Arelon awakens one morning to find-- to his horror-- that he is an Elantrian, and his family sends him secretly to Elantris to cover up their shameful secret. Soon after, his betrothed, Sarene, princess of Teod, arrives in Arelon to discover she is a widow before she is even married. Raoden is officially proclaimed dead upon his banishment into the wretched city. But all is not lost, for Raoden finds a friend in Galladon, and together, they attempt to unify and rebuild Elantris.

Meanwhile, Hrathen, high priest and gyorn of Fjordell, is sent to Arelon, in the shadow of Elantris, to convert its people or bring about their destruction. How can he choose, and who can stand against him?

Arelon and the surrounding countries are in a time of unrest, and if something is not done soon, the world will crumble. The spirit of Elantris must be found...or else Arelon is doomed.

The story here is truly epic in scope, but it's totally original. Once again, major kudos to Brandon Sanderson for creating some of his best scenes. And not a word is wasted, for there simply isn't room for extra fat in a one-volume story. It's absolutely moving, full of heart, beauty and hope. That's not to say that the action is anything but spectacular, of course. In short, Elantris is a masterpiece, proving Sanderson is worthy for just about anything. I can't wait for this summer's release of Warbreaker, his next one-volume epic. I'm sure it will be fantastic.

My rating: 10/10


logankstewart said...

I'm reading the Well of Ascension right now, and I'm enjoying it as much as I did Mistborn. Because of the great reviews of Elantris, I'm sure I'll get to that at some point, too.

What about the Wheel of Time? I've never read any of those. Should I?

The Writer said...

Okay, about the Wheel of Time...

I can't really advise you either way. It's huge, epic, and blows those archetypes to proportions never seen before. The first half of the series is truly great fantasy-- though don't go expecting a style anywhere near the style of Sanderson. Robert Jordan, the late author, really has a knack for fleshing out characters and settings, and after a while, you feel like you're in the (unnamed) world. But here's the problem: the second half of the series slows dramatically in pace, and the tenth book is rather difficult to get through. However, it's a major work of fantasy, and it will probably be remembered as one of the greats. I'm personally pretty excited to see what Brandon Sanderson has been doing on A MEMORY OF LIGHT, the twelfth and final novel in the series.

Wheel of Time takes a LOT of your time (and shelf space) to read. It's a big commitment to make, reading the thousands of pages written so far. But I think Robert Jordan's legacy-- these books-- will last a long time.

Essentially, read at your own risk. Sorry if that's not good enough.

Krista said...

Loved Elantris! Great review, I mean great review, by the way! old post I know, but it was before I was following, I think! LOL!