Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blogging Challenge E(lantris) - Book Review

Today's post is a review of the first widely released book by one of my favorite authors, Brandon Sanderon. He's a fantasy writer, a college creative writing professor (though he may have given that up now that he's so busy writing), and one of the cohosts of Writing Excuses with Dan Wells--I Am Not a Serial Killer and Howard Tayler--Schlock Mercenary.

I only became aware of Sanderson, when he was chosen to complete the Wheel of Time series by the widow of Robert Jordan (James Oliver Rigney, Jr.). I mentioned at work that I wanted to read something by Sanderson, so I could see how well I thought he would do finishing the series (he's done incredibly well, by the way).

A coworker lent me the book Elantris.

Elantris is the name of a city where godlike beings used to live, until it was "cursed" ten years before. The story revolves around three characters. There's Raoden, who is the prince of Arelon, the city adjacent to Elantris. He's taken by what is called the Shaod, which is a viewed as painful, ongoing death, and the victims are cast into the ruin of Elantris.

Another main character is Sarene, the princess who was on her way to become Raoden's political bride.  Unfortunately for her (or not--you decide) her marriage contract is still binding, so she remains in Arelon as Raoden's widow.

The third main character is Hrathen, a Derethi high-ranking priest tasked with converting Arelon before the armies of his religion come to destroy the city and its inhabitants.

I love the way Sanderson weaves the story between the three characters. He says this is his weakest work, and you can see how much his writing has grown as he's written other books, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the plot twists, and the characters. I love his characters.

I especially appreciate how, when the climax of the story occurs and what we've been waiting for since the beginning happens, it's not like Superman, secure in his wondrous powers, descending from the heavens to save the day.

If you've been wondering about Sanderson's works, Elantris might be a good place to start. It's currently a standalone novel, and it's probably the shortest of all his works. I highly recommend it.

9 comments:

  1. I don't normally read fantasy but your review has intrigued me. Thanks for sharing!

    Ellie Garratt

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  2. The mention of plot twists and a non-superman-like ending are what sold me! Great review!

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  3. Interesting, this isn't a genre I tend to pick up, maybe I should try it :O)

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  4. I love learning about new authors (or authors that are new to me). Now I'm going to have to check this guy out!

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  5. I don't read much fantasy, which is probably why the name doesn't ring a bell. Sounds like a good book though. Thanks for dropping by my blog. Good to meet you.

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  6. Sounds like my kind of book. Will definitely have to check it out. Thanks for the info!

    Dafeenah

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  7. LOL--did you read my blog before you posted this? I mentioned Elantris in my blog last night! :)

    Sanderson rocks.

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  8. Actually Robin, I thought it was funny when I read your blog because I prepared this post in advance to going to Ireland over a week ago. =D

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