This is another book from Brandon Sanderson, but it’s his first widely published novel. I really liked seeing where he started from and the story is pretty good too.
Author: Brandon Sanderson
ROTS Setting: UU, Medieval, Higher Magic
Synopsis: Elantris, City of Gods, the White. Elantris, City of the Cursed, the Damned, the Forsaken. In the aftermath of the Reod and the subsiqent collapse of Elantris, the nation of Arelon is a broken husk of it’s former glory. The power vacuum draws in old enemies and allies alike. But Elantris isn’t dead. Yet.
Recommendation: Adult or late teen. This is Sanderson’s first published novel, so it lacks some of the finesse of his later works, but it is still well done.
The magic is pretty classic, but has plenty of unique elements that make it feel fresh and vibrant. I won’t get into many of those aspects because they are important to the story, but there are a couple I can mention.
Seons fascinate me. Little balls of light that can think and speak as well as any human, they can speak to each other over infinite distances and can allow humans to communicate to each other through them too. The fact that they are a mystery throughout the book drives me a bit nutty. I need to know more and I’d like a whole book about it too.
The sudden and complete loss of magic, which brings the downfall of Elantris, coupled with how it was lost in the first place and the “solution” found was simple and complex. It felt fulfilling.
In regards to the story line. The beginning of this was a little like being thrown into the deep end of a pool. Trying to keep the names, places and unique phrases of the various languages straight was a fight. The first half of the book was built pretty well, but I kept waiting for the building up to the climax that never seemed to happen. There wasn’t any building of suspense or urgency until right at the end/climax. It’s a finesse thing, as the story line as a whole wasn’t bad.
The characters were true to themselves, if a little too fairy tale perfect. I think there was opportunities for greater growth and depth for the characters but that is more a critique than a complaint. Plus Sanderson clearly learned from his experience writing this book.
All-in-all it was a good book and enjoyable experience. I look forward to reading more in the same universe. There’s a novella and a short story, I believe, with plans for another novel eventually.