Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy/High Fantasy
Length: 590 pages
The plot follows 3 main POV’s: Sarene, a princess to be wed to Raoden, Hrathen, a priest from another religion seeking to convert an entire populace by any means necessary, and Raoden, prince of Arelon who has fallen to the Shaod, the transformation, and has become an outcast. Sarene hopes to prevent Hrathen’s people from conquering her new home of Arelon so they face off and try to outwit each other. Meanwhile, Raoden must survive Elantris which has turned into a crumbling city filled with gangs and others who have gone insane…a fate he may share if he’s not careful.
“To live is to have worries and uncertainties. Keep them inside, and they will destroy you for certain–leaving behind a person so callused that emotion can find no root in his heart.”
Each of the main characters has his/her quirks and things that define their personality. Sarene is the opinionated, somewhat awkward princess who is a skilled politician. Hrathen is the logical and calculating priest who tries to justify the horrible things he’s done and has to do; while Raoden, is the smart, optimist who never gives up. When you’re enjoying a nice read like this it’s hard to not like these characters on some level.
“You will find that hate can unify people more quickly and more fervently than devotion ever could.”
Elantris reads a lot like a young adult book although it is an adult fantasy book; this probably has to do more with Sanderson’s writing style. It is a book that is rather slow paced since it deals more heavily in political intrigue than action and fighting (like Mistborn). Although it can be rather slow at times, the characters are likable, endearing and at times humorous. This feels like a rather light-hearted fantasy, at least it did for me, for a good chunk of the book.
What makes Elantris interesting is that it touches on things like religion and faith. For a debut novel, this is a pretty good read and for me, it was exactly the kind of read I needed. While the story in itself and the way the plot moved wasn’t exactly earth-shattering, it was very entertaining and a great introduction to Sanderson’s Cosmere universe. The final resolution is a bit ironic and it left feeling pleased it ended the way it did.
I’ve heard others recommend that Sanderson’s book should be read in order as his books get better and better. If you compare Mistborn with Elantris, depending what kind of reader you are, Elantris might pale in comparison. But still, it’s a bit unfair to compare them as Mistborn is more action-driven and Elantris deals more with politics- still both have well-developed characters.
4 out of 5 mortars