“Elantris” by Brandon Sanderson (Tor, 2005)

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The city of Elantris is a paradise, a heaven in this realm, but not all are chosen to become Elantrians.  Only those who receive the glowing condition that deems them as an Elantrian may enter the city of Elantris and become supreme beings.  But then the great change happens, the catastrophe that changes the world forever.

After a quick prologue, Elantris opens to a different and less than idyllic world.  Those who are now chosen to be Elantrians find themselves physically altered overnight.  They awake to find themselves covered in weeping sores, mottled skin, and are unrecognizable by their own family.  They are banished to Elantris, sealed in the fortress of the once great city which has now fallen into disrepair and ruin.  Like lepers or the unwanted, they are ignored by society and hated for the way they look and the way they are.

Raoden was the crowned prince of Arelon, loved and respected by everyone in the realm.  That is until the opening page of the first chapter, where Raoden wakes to find himself doomed to be an Elantrian.  His disfigurement is hidden by his father, the king, and he is tossed into Elantris.  Inside he discovers a horrific world where its people have given up on life.  With this curse, its people no longer need to eat for they are essentially dead, and yet feel the pangs of starvation.  Any wounds they suffer refuse to heal, while they continue to feel the pain of the wound each day.  But Raoden is still the same person inside, and isn’t giving up.  In time he begins to change and improve the once great city and the people who have lost all hope.

Hrathen is a devout high priest of Fjordell, looking to become the new ruler in Arelon and will do all he can to scare the people into believing and hating the Elantrians even more.  He will stop at nothing for his ego and his beliefs, even if it means causing the collapse of the monarchy.

Sarene is the princess from Teod who was destined to marry Raoden and form a strong family alliance.  But Raoden is in Elantris, and yet through an evil law, Sarene is forced to join the royal family of Arelon.  While pretending to be the prim and kind princess to the king who sees little in women of power, Sarene is first trying to comprehend what has happened to Arelon and Elantris, as well as trying to deal with Hrathen.  She knows there is more going on than there appears and will need to do something if the kingdom is to survive.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on November 7th 2008 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Brandon Sanderson check out BookBanter Episode 2.

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