I have been in a weird mood lately. More like a book hangover and I blame it all on this epic fantasy by Brandon Sanderson. To be honest, I needed a break from all the heavy non fiction I have been into lately. Turns out – this big boy was heavy on politics & religion as well.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
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.
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
I put off reading this book for so long since everybody that read this in my peers had warned me how this is the weakest book Brandon Sanderson has ever written. I was so wary of the opinion since I loved Brandon Sanderson’s writing so much, I could read his grocery list and be in awe of it.
But let me tell you this – I loved this book. It is a slow burn but not in a boring way. The plot, world building and the characters are fleshed out and presented to you in a way that makes you think it is not some fantasy world but reality with the names changed so no one is offended.
“You will find that hate can unify people more quickly and more fervently than devotion ever could.”—Elantris, Brandon Sanderson
The Epic WorldBuilding
The best part of this book is how the information isn’t just said out loud with regards to how the world works. It is underlined and intertwined as the characters figure out their surroundings themselves.
The way Elantris is described it keeps you intrigued. Even though complex, I wasn’t left confused for a minute and the premise does give food for thought with regards to the present state of the world.
The book is told in three narratives – Raoden, Sarene, and Hrathen. Hrathen who is religiously driven brings out the political side of the story, while Sarene is a strong intelligent women with logic that ties blind faith with logic and gives a taste of feminism that slowly brews in the background. Raoden that suffers from the Shaod himself gets the whole magical world in motion while he figures out the magical system of Elantris.
All three tie the story together making it extremely character driven to an extend I was invested in how they would end up. It isn’t high on romance which I loved but does feature the star crossed lovers trope to some extent.
I was left thinking about these characters and their circumstances long after I finished this book.
“They say they give their women more freedom, but there’s still the impression that the freedom was theirs to ‘give’ in the first place.”—Elantris, Brandon Sanderson
Overall, This book has it all. Even though it revolves around politics and religion – the two topics I am not a fan of. I was mesmerized with how beautifully the message has been delivered.
Highly recommend if you are new to Brandon Sanderson or Epic Fantasy.
Published: May 1st 2005
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Fantasy