Author: Brandon Sanderson
Published: 2005, Tor Fantasy
My Grade: 5 out of 5
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.
Why haven’t I read anything by Sanderson before this? I’ve heard so many great things about Sanderson in general. “Mistborn is supposed to be amazing”, “Stormlight Archive is the best ever”. Elantris I’ve been told has been incredible as well, but definitely his weakest novel. Which is understandable since it was his very first published book. I haven’t read anything by him until now. And all I can say is, if this is his weakest writing, I can’t wait to get into his other works!
At first, I had a hard time getting into the worldbuilding. So many new words were used like I was supposed to know them. If it is correctly written, you should know by context, but that wasn’t quite the case here. Of course, you got there eventually and forgot how much you didn’t understand at first.
Usually when there are multiple storylines and characters to follow, I pick favorites and there are some chapters I almost kind of want to skip, but of course don’t. But not with Elantris. I truly loved all three of the characters: Raoden, Sarene and Hrathen. I was as excited to read about Roaden’s experience inside Elantris, as of Sarene’s political plots outside in Kae as I was reading about Hrathen’s religious invasion and insecurities.
The absolute best part of Elantris was the worldbuilding though. Everytime I picked up the book, I was there. Every scene played up in my mind like it was right in front of me and that was so amazing! Many authors are great at that, but I think this was the best that I can remember ever reading.
Brandon Sanderson’s debut was fantastic and I’m sad I didn’t pick it up sooner. But I now know that I am in for a treat. This easily gets the highest grade, 5 out of 5!