Legendary science fiction author Orson Scott Card calls Brandon Sanderson a writer to watch. 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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DON'T SHOVE WHEN A PAT WOULD BE SUFFICIENT This is a great debut novel. You will notice I say debut. It cost a credit and takes over 27 hours to listen to. So, do you spend the money and the time on a little less polished work. Personally, I am a fan of Sanderson and for that reason I find it important to read his first work. If you are not familiar with Sanderson, I would suggest you start with Mist or The Way of Kings.
SOMETIMES WE MAKE OUR OWN PEACE I love the magic system or shall I say the broken magic system. Being broken makes this book different from others of the same genre. I love the characters. Prince Raoden is the main character. I like him cause he is a true leader and he is able to stay optimistic. He seems to be a precursor to Dalinar in The Way of Kings. Both face what seems insurmountable situations, but through determination, optimism and leadership skills, control their destiny. The afflicted in this story, get hurt and never quit feeling the pain. Raoden stubs his toe and for the rest of his life he will feel the pain of the initial stubbing of the toe. You break your back, your legs, your arms, it never heals and you feel the pain for the rest of your immortal life. Sarene is a Princess who is six feet tall. Men don't like women taller then them and most men are less then six feet. She has learned to deal with this and she is very smart, but can also be a little callous. Being smart and being tall are two strikes against her. It bothers her, but not enough to keep her from being her. Galladon is another interesting character who is often pessimistic, but he is a really nice guy. The Seon is cool and the Derethi Monks quite evil.
MEN OFTEN PLACE PRIDE BEFORE REASON I could not give this a fifth star, due to a few things. Their was a lot of politics and a lot of name dropping. These parts were long and boring. At times the book gets kind of Ayn Randish with it's thinly veiled preaching. Since Dune, every author feels the need to invent a good religion. This religion is different in that it is all about ambition and is even described as militaristic. It is very similar to the Catholic Church in it's makeup. It has a Pope like person at the top of the church and then ranks of bishops and priests, only called by a different name. While this was interesting in structure, their was too much about the inner workings of the church that were boring. I must admit that I put the last eight hours on 2x. I did not want to quit, cause I wanted to see how it ended, but was getting a little bored. The ruling system was set up strictly on capitalism. The richest man in the land becomes the king. Sorry, Trump, but according to BS, this is not a good system. A good business man does not make a good ruler. In this case the ruler is supposedly paranoid, but does not use spies and seems fairly naïve about what is going on in his kingdom.
WHATEVER YOU SAY, SULE The narrator did just fine. Some have said he was slow and toward the end I put him on 2x, but I believe he was reading it the way it was written and had he speed up, he would have been accused of going overboard.
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. :)