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  • Writer's pictureTabitha Tomala

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson Book Review

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Elantris by Brandon Sanderson book cover
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris Book Review

Once a place of great magic whose citizens were worshiped as gods, Elantris now lies a ruin of itself. Any who become Elantrians are thrown into the walled off ex-capital of Arelon cursed to never die and never heal. To become an Elantrian guarantees a slow descent into madness. Even Crown Prince Raoden. Cast off into Elantris and declared dead to all outside its walls, Raoden sets forth to restore Elantris. Meanwhile, his soon to be bride Princess Sarene is left as a widow. Alone, she must navigate the treacherous politics of the current King, and try to save the people of Kae from a religion that seeks to rule them.

Elantris focuses heavily on three political entities. The inner political workings of both Elantris and Kae, as well as the push for the Shu-Derethi religion to overtake the city. Each offers various character viewpoints and shares its own set of challenges. But with all the plotting and planning, this leads to a slower paced story. Moments of actions and conflict are fleeting, and when they do occur are quickly resolved. However, if you enjoy politically driven fantasy novels, this will be an engaging read.

Part of the Elantris mystery is why their magic no longer works. There is plenty of reason for it to still be shrouded in mystery by the end of the novel. But a little bit more of an explanation from stories, or discovered history would have helped enhance the reader’s understanding. Especially because near the end of the novel, multiple magic systems are revealed, however, readers don’t have any foundation to base them on.

The highlight of Elantris was the heartfelt character of Princess Sarene. Her actions and dedication to helping others quickly showed who she was and her intentions. While she may not have been prepared to be a widow, Sarene is determined to make the best of her situation. Which includes removing the stigma from Elantris and offering Elantrians aid. But there are those among Kae who would prefer the unfortunate souls be vilified to serve their own twisted purposes.

Despite the various political affiliations, the writing style of Elantris makes each easy to understand. And the characters, while simple, fully embrace who they are and chase after what they believe in. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy politics and plot-driven development.

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