Elantris has it all; religious fanaticism, political intrigue, compelling characters, moral ambiguity and, of course, an amazing magic system. Based on the drawing of symbols, Elantris was the city of Gods where even the walls, buildings and ground shone with magic. Until one day ten years ago when it simply began to rot… Sarene is a Princess from Teod who arrives in Arelon ready to marry Prince Raoden only to find he had died suddenly. Hrathen is a Fjordish Gyorn, tasked with the task of converting Arelon to the Derethi religion in three months. If he fails, Arelon, and likely Teod, will be annihilated.
This is a political rollercoaster of a novel. It started off quite slowly, and while I quickly became very attached to the main characters, I was worried I wouldn’t like this as much as Sanderson’s later stories. In this respect it was clear to see how much he has developed as a writer when compared to Mistborn and Warbraker. It soon picked up however, and I was hooked. I really enjoyed the way he masterfully intertwined the narratives of the three Protagonists to give the reader a clear understanding of all the plot lines. This gets even more exciting as the characters meet and begin to interact with each other, often the different perspectives of certain events helped me better understand the characters’ motives. It is easy to judge a character’s actions when you see it through the eyes of their opponent, but when you’re then switched to reading from their perspective, you realise each character is a lot more complex than they appear.
The world buiding is outstanding once again. I could really picture the cities and their landscapes, as well as the characters themselves. I admire the way the author can create such vivid images in my brain without being overly descriptive. I never had to put it down because I felt bogged down by a havily detailed paragraph about a place/character/house etc… which can be the case with other writers.
Overall another really enjoyable read. Brandon Sanderson is definitely one of my favourite authors and I cannot see that changing anytime soon. I couldn’t predict where the story was going and there were moments where I gasped so loudly that my kitten jumped across the room. Please don’t be put off by the slow start; it really is a great story. I really hope there is a sequel one day as I would love to see more of these characters and the magic system. If you’re new to Sanderson though, I would recommend starting with The Final Empire before trying this one.