Series: Elantris #1
Release Date: August 11, 2011
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ELANTRIS WAS A PLACE OF GLORY
The capital of Arelon, the home to people transformed into magic-using demigods by the Shaod.
But then the magic failed, Elantris started to rot, and its inhabitants turned into powerless wrecks.
And in the new capital, Kae, close enough to Elantris for everyone to be reminded of what they have lost, a princess arrives. Sarene is to be married to unite Teod and Arelon against the religious imperialists of Fjordell. But she is told that Raoden, her husband to be, is dead.
Determined to carry on the fight for Teod and Arelon's freedom, Sarene clashes with the high priest Hrathen. If Hrathen can persuade the populace to convert, Fjordell will reign supreme.
But there are secrets in Elantris, the dead and the ruined may yet have a role to play in this new world. Magic lives.
After reading The Final Empire, I was in denial and really didn’t want to carry on with the rest of the Mistborn trilogy, so I went ahead and picked Elantris up instead. Still set in the Cosmere universe, I knew that I was in for a treat, although I wasn’t expecting anything as phenomenal as my first Sanderson book. And I was kind of right. While Elantris is pretty awesome, and while I adore the world that it’s set in, it wasn’t The Final Empire by any means.
In this world, Elantris was once a place of magic and awesomeness, but something happened that caused the city to lose its magic, as did the citizens who resided there. There is this whole mystery of what exactly happened to Elantris that is a prominent plot point throughout the book. How could anything destroy a city in such a way? And why don’t the people who live there die? Prince Raoden is sent to Elantris after he goes through a thing, and through his eyes we discover what’s really going on there.
Outside of Elantris’ walls, we have Sarene, who was on her way to marry Raoden for a political marriage. She gets caught up in all of the mystery business, with the priests and the preachers and the royal family. It’s all very complicated but Sarene is bloody awesome. I loved the inside-outside dynamic that she and Raoden provided, although I wasn’t a fan of the romance that eventually blossomed between them.
Sanderson is so good at world-building, you guys. While he does seem to recycle tropes and basic plot points and themes, he goes on to build upon them and develop them and eventually you are left with an amazing world that feels pretty damn unique. The fantasy elements are, of course, the most compelling part of the story, and I loved reading about the world as it started to take shape. I love this Cosmere universe so much, and I am actually pretty excited about doing a reread at some point in the future so I can note down absolutely everything.
Elantris is a really good book, that is currently a standalone although I think Sanderson might be planning a potential sequel. Either way, Elantris is awesome, and I highly recommend reading it if you’re already a fan of Sanderson’s other series. I’m not sure I would recommend starting with this book as your first venture into the Cosmere, but it’s certainly a very good read.