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Once the godlike rulers of the capital of Arelon, the inhabitans of Elantris have been imprisoned within themselves, unable to die after the city's magic failed years ago. But when a new prince falls victim to the curse, he refuses to accept his fate.
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By Lore on 09-12-13
What if your body could never heal?
Elantris is Brandon Sanderson’s first widely distributed book and is named after the ruined city of Elantris, which is the focus of the story. It is an excellent book and a complete story, despite the fact that Brandon does plan to eventually write a sequel.
Within Arelon an affliction known as the Shaod transforms certain individuals into an undead state where one’s body no longer repairs itself. Arelon society treats anyone afflicted with the Shaod as dead and sends them into the ruined city of Elantris for the remainder of their existence.
Elantrians feel pain and it is a pain that will never go away or diminish as they have no ability to heal. Over time, an Elantrian will accumulate injuries, each time adding to the level of constant pain they feel. Eventually, many go mad from their suffering. Within the walls of Elantris, a desperate, broken society has formed where the strong prey on the weak and the existing inhabitants take advantage of the newcomers sent to join them.
Raoden, the Prince of Arelon, is taken by the Shaod and thrust into the living hell that is Elantris; however, he refuses to abandon his humanity and seeks to improve the state of affairs within Elantris. Brandon’s concept for this book, while basic in nature, is told within a setting that contains interesting magics and complex politics. Jack Garrett does a fine job as narrator and felt like a good fit for the material.
This book is certainly not as polished as Sanderson’s later works, but I enjoyed the story just the same. It is a worthy listen and certainly left me wanting more. I look forward to the day that the decade long wait for a sequel comes to an end. :)
108 of 117 people found this review helpful
By Garry on 05-11-09
Don't miss this one!
I very much enjoyed this book. Even though it was long, it didn't feel like it. There were times I found myself laughing out loud and others where I almost wanted to stand up and cheer (or cry). I think this is intended to be the first in a series of books, but it ends in a way that you'll be OK until the next one is released (if there even is a next one). I see where/how a sequel could take off, but this is a very stand-alone book. Again, listening to the audio version saved me from having to try to come up with pronunciations for all the unique language/names in the text. The narrator did a fabulous job!
While there is a certain amount of magic and "fantasy" in this fantasy novel, it features deep and complex characters and relationships, as well as a well developed plot that is entertaining, often unpredictable, and always leaves you wanting more. Sure, you'll find a few things as progress through the story that make you say "I totally saw that coming!" But, those instances will be come lost amongst the many twists and turns you never expected, but which all add up to make this a very rich and satisfying entertainment experience!
62 of 68 people found this review helpful