Rating: 5 / 5
I keep hearing all sorts of good things about Brandon Sanderson and have been wanting to pick up more of his books. I read and enjoyed his YA novel STARSIGHT and have his second in that series on my shelf, but the size of his adult fantasy novels has been a bit intimidating as they are quite large and not really in my genre comfort zone. When I heard about the #Cosmerealong to explore some of his books over the next year plus (and that these long books are being broken down over a couple months each), I decided this would be a great way to try him out with the first book and see if I want to continue.
ELANTRIS by Brandon Sanderson is set in the fantasy world of Arelon and at its heart is its capital Elantris. Elantris was once beautiful, glowing with magic and full of people who used their magical abilities to help everyone. These were once your average, everyday people who awaken suddenly into new powers. In the novel’s present day, the city of Elantris has lost its magic and fallen into rot. Those who once would have been transformed for the good are instead transformed into ugly, disfigured creatures exiled to live in Elantris where they can suffer, but not die.
The novel follows three perspectives. Prince Radeon has been reported as dead, but in truth he has fallen victim to the plague of Elantris. Princess Sarene arrives to marry Radeon, only to learn she is a widow before she is married. Hrathen is a priest with his own motives for dealing with the world of Elantris as he hopes to convert all of Arelon to his religion.
This book was so quick to grab my attention and hang on. Though I did pace my reading out over about five weeks to follow the readalong schedule, the story stayed with me and I never had a problem picking it back up. This book has a little bit of everything including drama and false identities and a touch of romance. Sarene is a fun character as she plays up her dumb girl persona in the face of domineering men, but manages to manipulate them into just the position she wants them. With the multiple POVs and fairly short chapters, the pace really keeps you moving throughout the book.
I went into this book rather intimidated, but it didn’t take long for me to be completely hooked on the characters and the story. I’ve been told that this is one of Sandersons’ least favored books, so I am so excited to see where his next book takes me.