Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

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Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, 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, hoping -- based on their correspondence -- to also find love. 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.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.


About Brandon Sanderson

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Brandon Sanderson is the bestselling fantasy author of Elantris and the Mistborn Trilogy. He was chosen by Robert Jordan's widow to complete the epic Wheel of Time series and has authored The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight in that line. He lives in American Fork, Utah.
Published April 1, 2007 by Tor Books. 508 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Elantris

Kirkus Reviews

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Debut author Sanderson serves up an epic fantasy novel that is (startlingly) not Volume One of a Neverending Sequence.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Elantris

Publishers Weekly

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Sanderson's outstanding fantasy debut, refreshingly complete unto itself and free of the usual genre clichés, offers something for everyone: mystery, magic, romance, political wrangling,

Apr 18 2005 | Read Full Review of Elantris

BC Books

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The story comes three ways: standard CD (the version I reviewed), MP3 CD and downloadable WMA with digital rights management.

Jun 07 2009 | Read Full Review of Elantris

BC Books

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By using a whole cast — over 20 performers — you don't get one person trying to sound like many different voices, you get unique individual characters.

Aug 07 2009 | Read Full Review of Elantris

BC Books

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The combination of sound effects and artistic vocal performances creates what Graphic Audio calls a “Movie in your Mind,” and that is truly Elantris is.

Aug 07 2009 | Read Full Review of Elantris

BC Books

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Elantris: Part II begins with Raoden continuing to try to make Elantris into a better place by giving the inhabitants work to do instead of wasting their time thinking about their never ending hunger and physical pains.

Jun 07 2009 | Read Full Review of Elantris

BC Books

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Elantris was a city of gods.

May 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Elantris

SF Site

That same day his father orders the priests to perform a funeral service and send Prince Raoden to Elantris -- a fate that befalls all who are considered "dead" after their transformation because they cease to have a heart-beat and do not need food or water to survive.

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Fantasy Literature

Mary and Gary — I mean Sarene and Raoden — are characters to care about, and that still-young-and-idealistic part of me enjoyed reading about the successes that Prince Raoden and Sarene accomplished in Elantris and Arelon.

May 01 2016 | Read Full Review of Elantris


It’s been ten years since the wonders of Elantris abruptly ended, the Shaod became a curse and Elantris itself became a place of darkness and grime, with those touched by the Shaod reduced to little more than powerless shadows of their former selves.

Nov 26 2005 | Read Full Review of Elantris

The British Fantasy Society

With a multitude of religious conflicts and enough political intrigue to bring this imagined world to life, Elantris is a compelling read, despite being sometimes a bit heavy on the detail, and towards the end I found myself drawn more and more into the different character viewpoints as the stori...

Oct 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Elantris

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