Friday, March 13, 2015

Book: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

I am a big fan of Brandon Sanderson, I have re-read his Mistborn Trilogy several times now, and just recently finished the first two books in his newest series, The Stormlight Archive.  I love his rich worlds full of strong women, cheeky men, creative magical systems, and new creatures.  His writing style is smart but not overly-wordy, always a enjoyable read.It seemed like it was time I read the first book he published, Elantris.   It is currently a stand alone book, but there are plans to release two more books in this world years after this story takes place.

Elantris is told through three main characters:  Raoden, the prince of Arelon; Sarene, princess of Toed and betrothed to Raoden; and Hrathen, a high ranking priest in the Shu Dereth religion.  Sarene is on her way to her official wedding, she left a week early in order to spend time getting to know Raoden before the ceremony.  Before she gets there, Raoden wakes to find he has been cursed by the Shoad.  It is like being dead without actually being dead.  Your skin is discolored and dried out, if your are injured it never heals and is incredibly painful, and you are always painfully hungry.  Raoden is condemned to Elantris, once the city of the Gods, the home to those cursed by the Shoad.  When Sarene arrives in Arelon she learns she is a widow.  The marriage contract considered her and Raoden already wed.  She finds herself in a strange city, a member of the most powerful family, and without a husband.  She also finds out she is not alone.  Sarene has a head for politics, and finds her way into a group of wealthy land owners brought together by Raoden that are trying to change the broken ways of Arelon.  Meanwhile Raoden is trying to make the best of his situation by trying to change the way of things in Elantris.  After doing some reading, and based on his knowledge of Elantris before it fell, Raoden believes the key to restoring Elantris and hopefully the inhabitants, is restoring power to the Aons.  Aons, are drawn images that when given power were able to do amazing things like heal people.  But something happened and the Aons were no longer able to draw the power the needed.  Will Raoden figure out how to repair things?  And then there is Hrathen, hell bent on converting the people to his religion, and using whatever means possible to do it.  He has a horrible minion that seems to one up and undermine Hrathen whenever possible.  His story line was not my favorite, but it was important to the other two.

Usually the chapter per character thing bothers me, but for some reason it doesn't bother me as much with Sanderson.  He has a way of not ending a chapter just as it starts to get good, but also I found I just didn't mind because I cared about what was going on with each character-even Hrathen.  I enjoy the way he unfolds the magic systems he creates, and the interactions between the characters and how their relationships unfold (or fall apart).  The only complaint I had about this book was that it ended.   I'm looking forward to seeing where he takes it, and where things are in the world years from when Elantris took place.  I love having books to look forward to!

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