Customer Reviews


78 Reviews
5 star:
 (42)
4 star:
 (22)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning stand alone fantasy
Having read Sanderson's continuation of the epic Wheel of Time series and the breathtakingly original work he has produced on his own (so far i've only read The Way of Kings and the Mistborn trilogy) I had really high expectations of Elantris, despite being aware that it was his debut novel and could be a step back.
However, I was a little apprehensive because I like...
Published on 26 July 2011 by Hmckenna

versus
44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, enjoyable debut
Elantris is the first novel by American author Brandon Sanderson. Refreshingly, it is not the first book in a series, but a self-contained novel in itself (although there are a few loose ends left dangling for possible sequels).

The plot starts off sounding the same-old. The kingdoms of Teod and Arelon is in danger of being swallowed up by their expansionist...
Published on 17 Aug 2006 by A. Whitehead


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning stand alone fantasy, 26 July 2011
This review is from: Elantris (Hardcover)
Having read Sanderson's continuation of the epic Wheel of Time series and the breathtakingly original work he has produced on his own (so far i've only read The Way of Kings and the Mistborn trilogy) I had really high expectations of Elantris, despite being aware that it was his debut novel and could be a step back.
However, I was a little apprehensive because I like my fantasy complex and engaging and I just wasn't sure that a stand alone novel would be able to deliver.
Well Elantris didn't disappoint. The plot is rich and original with enough mystery to keep the reader intrigued despite giving the perspective of only three characters. In fact, I felt that the choice to focus on the main three characters was a master stroke; it meant that you got to know the characters intimitely without the necessity of extra books.
Now I don't believe in giving spoilers but I was slightly disappointed with the twist at the end of the book because I felt it was slightly incoherent. I think this reflects Sanderson's relative immaturity in drawing together a plot at the time.
Overall, Elantris is original, engaging and has the rarest of qualities... it is 'unputdownable' and I would thoroughly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, inventive debut, 8 Jun 2009
This review is from: Elantris (Mass Market Paperback)
When it was announced that Robert Jordan's wife had chosen him to write the final volume of The Wheel of Time, Brandon Sanderson became something of a household name in the fantasy scene almost overnight. That's not to discredit the novels that Sanderson had written before this somewhat surprising piece of news, or the fledgling reputation that he'd built, but Sanderson would be the first to acknowledge the boost to his career that the Jordan gig gave him.

I'd read some of the samples of Sanderson's work on his livejournal, and have to say that - in terms of writing - they didn't do a lot for me. Nonetheless, Elantris - his first novel to be published - had a premise that appealed to me. When I saw a hardback copy in a bookshop at a reduced price (due to slight damage to the cover), I snapped it up.

The premise that intrigued me goes as follows: Elantris was a glowing beacon of civilisation, home to beings that were regarded as semi-divine by ordinary humans. Elantrians were highly skilled in the ways of magic, and were semi-immortal. Anyone could become an Elantrian - but only by chance. The transformation was called the Shaod, and it struck seemingly at random, changing the lucky person's life overnight.

When without warning the magic of Elantris failed, the Shaod turned from blessing to curse - it turned its victims into shadows of their former selves, imprisoning them in bodies that would not heal and were horrible to look upon. These unfortunate souls were cast into Elantris - once a city of beauty and wonder, now a decaying nightmare of insanity and despair.

The novel begins with Raoden, Prince of the kingdom of Arelon, waking one morning to find the Shaod has taken him. His royalty doesn't save him - he's cast into Elantris like other Shaod victims, not long before Sarene - Princess of Teod and his betrothed - arrives in the country for their wedding. As Raoden struggles to survive in Elantris and Sarene tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, Hrathen - a high priest of Jaddeth - arrives with the intention of converting Arelon and making it part of Fjordell's growing empire...

With Elantris, Sanderson has managed to conjure up a novel that feels fresh. The premise is clearly based on the legend of Atlantis, but it manages to avoid many of the more tiresome clichés that litter the genre. Sanderson does an impressive job of juggling the various strands of the plot, and manages to deftly explore several political and religious themes. The political intrigue of the subplot adds considerable depth to the novel, and helps to keep things interesting (to the extent where I felt it was actually more interesting than what Raoden was up to in Elantris).

Sanderson displays some solid world-building skills, with the symbolic magic system a particular triumph. The cast list is also impressive; Sanderson manages to imbue each main character (and many of the minor characters) with depth and emotion. Raoden, Sarene and Hrathen are strong, engaging POV characters, though for me Hrathen is head and shoulders above the others. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing his feelings and opinions change over the course of the novel, and seeing the problems that this caused to both him and his mission. I feared that Sarene would turn out to be a bit of a 'headstrong young woman' cliché, but she was much more than that.

I liked Sanderson's prose - clean, smooth and accessible. The short chapters as well were welcome, and gave the novel a good feel of pace. For a debut novel, Elantris is remarkably well written - by that I don't just mean the prose itself, but the way the plot is constructed and the fine balance Sanderson has struck between the POVs. Elantris may be Sanderson's first published novel, but it's not the first novel he ever wrote, and it shows: you feel that the skills Sanderson displays in Elantris have been honed over a dozen previous projects.

The best thing about Elantris is the electric climax to the novel. My intention to have an early night was blown out of the water by the excellence of the book's last fifty or so pages. Truths are uncovered, plot twists are revealed, the body count grows...and it all made for a highly enjoyable reading experience.

Flaws are few and far between. My only real complaint is that Raoden is too perfect. I mean, the guy barely makes a single mistake the entire time. He seems to have everything - leadership qualities, intelligence, wit, resourcefulness, and so on. I would have liked his story to have been a bit more of a struggle, like Sarene's and Hrathen's. After the Shaod took him and his life turned inside out, Raoden shows little emotional response and I found that a bit hard to take. The fact that his father (the king) had made no attempt to help him didn't seem to bother him, and he seemed to take to Elantris like a fish to water - it should have been far harder than that. A little vulnerability wouldn't have gone amiss.

I found the explanation of why the Elantrians' magic stopped working to be clever and original, but couldn't believe the Elantrians didn't figure this out, given their high intelligence. Still, a relatively minor quibble.

All things considered, Elantris is a fresh, promising debut novel and I look forward to checking out more of Sanderson's work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, enjoyable debut, 17 Aug 2006
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elantris (Mass Market Paperback)
Elantris is the first novel by American author Brandon Sanderson. Refreshingly, it is not the first book in a series, but a self-contained novel in itself (although there are a few loose ends left dangling for possible sequels).

The plot starts off sounding the same-old. The kingdoms of Teod and Arelon is in danger of being swallowed up by their expansionist neighbour, Fjordell, whose religions brooks no rivals. Cue a desperate battle in Arelon and its capital, Kae, as various nobles and merchants race to either ingratiate themselves with the Fjordell or find a way of resisting them.

The more original element of the story is that up until a decade ago, Arelon was protected by the Elantrians, god-like beings with total mastery of magic. Occasionally, humans would be unexpectedly transformed into Elantrians by an apparently random magical process. However, something went wrong. The Elantrians' magic failed and they were transformed from demigods into cursed wretches who are permanantly affected by pain. Every time they suffer an injury, from a stubbed toe to a cut to a broken neck, the pain stays with them permanantly. Unless burned or decapitated, they are also immortal, so a broken back or neck is simply a condemnation to agony rather than death. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the Elantrians are catatonic or totally insane. Their city, Elantris, stands alongside Kae and is now quarantined, with humans transformed into Elantrians thrown into the city and forgotten about.

The novel follows the storylines of three characters: Prince Raoden of Arelon, who is unexpectedly transformed into an Elantrian and thrown into the city, where he tries to make a better life for the people of the cursed city; Hrathen, the Fjordese priest who has three months to willingly convert the populace of Arelon before a major invasion is launched; and Princess Sarene of Tedo, betrothed to Raoden but now immersed in the labyrinth of Arelese politics.

The novel is fast-paced, and generally entertaining throughout. Sanderson is not going to be winning major prizes for his prose, which is effective but somewhat uninspired in places, with occasional over-reliance on exposition. That said, his ideas and execution of plot are pretty good. Hrathen could very easily have been turned into the 'evil priest' cliche but Sanderson gives him real depth and humanity. And, after reading books where the main characters do very stupid things very frequently, Sarene is a refreshingly canny character, although occasionally this thretens to tilt the other way and turn Sarene into a Kellhus-like character (see Bakker's Prince of Nothing Trilogy) who can read people's intentions just by looking them. Sanderson just dodges the bullet on that one. The lack of any magic in the book for about 85% of its length is also refreshing and, when it does come, it's obvious Sanderson has put some thought into it.

There are some other major problems, though. The ending, although fails to resolve every last plot point, could be described as a bit too neat. And the absolute explosion of 'twists' (some predictable, some not) and an unexpectedly huge amount of magic use in the final part of the book threaten to make the ending implausible and a bit OTT.

Overall, this is an enjoyable 'typical' epic fantasy novel, with some neat ideas and reasonable character development. The prose could do with some work and Sanderson needs to pace his endings slightly better, but overall this is a fun book, and a superior alternative to the likes of Brooks and Eddings. I think fans of JV Jones, Kate Elliott and possibly Raymond Feist would enjoy it. 3/5

Elantris is not published in the UK at present, but US paperbacks are available at Amazon. His second novel, Mistborn (the first of a trilogy), is out in the USA this month.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Reminiscent of Mistborn (if you read out of order!), 20 July 2014
By 
J. R. Johnson-Rollings (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elantris (Paperback)
Elantis is the first published novel by Brandon Sanderson, who later became famous for being invited to finish the Wheel of Time series, and also for his own later works, including the Mistborn trilogy. I've been reading his works out of publication order, so to me Elantris felt very reminiscent of Mistborn - they share a pattern of female lead character, stratified society, revolution and change.

Sanderson's writing has many strengths, even this early, particularly in world building. Very quickly, he establishes the basis of a fantasy world for his characters to inhabit, and then gradually reveals more and more about it, and in particular its unique magic systems, while leaving plenty of hints that there could be far more to uncover if there were ever a sequel.

The narrative moves at a good pace, keeping things changing throughout, although towards the end the pace is upped quite a bit, and the conclusion almost feels rushed, with a lot happening in the space of a few chapters. The ending also seemed quite abrupt - there's clearly a lot of space to explore further in this world, and it felt like at least a little of that could be done within the novel.

I very much enjoyed returning to something early from Sanderson's canon, and its made me realise again how much I enjoy his writing, and encouraged me to continue catching up with his novels that I've missed so far.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but exceedingly slow, 17 Oct 2011
This review is from: Elantris (Paperback)
I enjoyed Sanderson's Mistborn series and really looked forward to reading Elantris. There are many strengths to the book, not least Sanderson's flowing and elegant prose. But it was incredibly slow in many places, with people just sitting around talking about things. When the action came it was well written. But not up there with Mistborn I'm afraid.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, 21 Aug 2011
This review is from: Elantris (Paperback)
This was Sanderson's debut and already here he showed why he is such a wonderful fantasy writer. The book is also different in a way since this is it, there is no series. This book is it and I liked that.'There was an end to it.

Sanderson is a master when it comes to creating religions, political intrigues and magical systems, he just does it so well. His books shines with it and they are a joy to read. The imagination and work he puts in to his stories makes them so much more.

In this story we meet prince Raoden who is tossed into Elantris to die a miserable death and his family proclaims he died from some sudden disease. He is a true hero and loves his people. And now being Elantrian he does his best to help this poor people. Because they are, well zombies in a way. They feel every wound and they seem to be rotting away. When the pain is too much they just lie down and stay like that. The big question is why this is happening since Elantrians used to have power and magic, but then came the curse...

Sarene is the other main character. She comes as a bride but lands as a widow. Still she stays because just as Raoden wants to save Elantrians now, Sarene wants to save her new people and the people back home. She is no scared little princess, she has a keen mind and is not afraid to say what she thinks.

This book is a lot about the political intrigues that are going on in this country and abroad. There is a big bad empire with a religious ruler who wants to take over the world and make everyone believe in his faith. The people in Arelon does believe in the same god, but there are two roads to God, and as we do know people will always find fault in others. Especially when it comes to religious zealotism and here that is truly shown. Because even if Hrathen is bad with his die or convert scheme then there are worse men out there and we meet them. This religion also despises the former Elantrians since they were almost like Gods.

The other part of the political world is the inner turmoil in the country. The Elantrians used to rule but when that broke down the rich took over and created an order where the richest have titles, and the poor are even poorer and in serfdom. It is a system which is crumbling and seems ripe to be plucked by conquerors.

I have already said that I like the magic, politics and religion he creates. But he also creates such wonderful characters to root for, or hate with a passion. And while doing just that you have this dread inside of you, because how can this book end well? Raoden is rotting, Sarene is playing with fire and there is an Empire who wants to crush everyone.

Conclusion:
A great fantasy book that I could not put down. I was so immersed in the story and wanted to know what would happen to them all. It is a book I recommend and if you are afraid of long fantasy epics then this one book (even if long) is a great way book for you to start with.

Rating:
Could not put it down
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Debut, 8 Aug 2011
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Elantris (Hardcover)
Sanderson has been a star on the rise since before the estate of Robert Jordan announced that he was to finish the Wheel of Time series, yet having read later novels this is the first time that I've had the opportunity to read where it all began, with this his debut.

Released with a spiffy new cover to fit in with his other titles, this is the title that demonstrates the talents behind the later work and whilst its not quite as polished as the more recent titles, its one that shows that the idea's were there at the beginning and that Brandon has honed his craft with each subsequent title. That's not to say that this isn't a great story, it is but when an author proves that they want to make things better as they learn then it lets the reader know that the passion for the story is there.

This tale is in short a tale of two cities as well as three principle players. It's witty, it has great world building and as you can see from the description is one that works on multiple levels as events change the state of play throughout the world. Add to this some clever plot twists, some almost magical prose accompanied by great dialogue and overall it's a satisfactory novel. Definitely one to read and one that really did strike a chord with me. Great stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sanderson's first masterpiece, 14 Oct 2010
This review is from: Elantris (Hardcover)
I loved this book. Far more than any other written by Brandon Sanderson. I know its strange to like an author's very first novel better than his later ones, but Elantris was just that good. I found myself pining for more once I was done, and I don't normally do that when I go into a book knowing its a standalone like Elantris was. Raoden is a strong character, and you really believe he can change Elantris, even when people keep saying how hopeless it is. His ability to learn and lead will leave you wanting a leader like that in real life, or make you want to somehow move to Elantris. Galladon is another strong character, even though he isn't one of the three leads. I found myself loving him more and more as the book went on, even though I found his "Doloken" and "sule" words to be confusing at first. Hrathen was another great character. I felt sorry for him at the end, even though he did become the savior of the book (though not how he intended). Dilaf...well, not to spoil too much, but he got what he deserved. Even after learning his story (yes, even Sanderson's bad guys have good backstories!) I didn't feel sorry for him, and did not feel it justified everything he did.

Sarene is the reason I gave this amazing book 4 stars instead of 5. She came off as a spoiled brat and an annoying whiner. She was politically inclined, and Sanderson's first strong female character, but ALMOST ALL of her scenes near the end play out as if she is nothing more than a spiteful witch. I do not think Raoden deserved her. If anything, Karata was more suited to him.

Overall, great book, great characters, very much recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a one volume fantasy, 1 July 2009
By 
H. Norris (Arizona, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elantris (Mass Market Paperback)
This book has enough complexity to keep it interesting, but not so much that it bogs down the pace of the story. The action keeps moving from scene to scene, move to counter move, and, a rarity in the genre, it wraps up satisfyingly in a single volume.

I was tipped off to Brandon Sanderson when Tor sent out Mistborn, which I also enjoyed. I'm pleased that this author recognizes his readers' desire to have the story completed in a timely manner (Mistborn Trilogy is all already published). Later I learned he was going to finish Robert Jordan's too-long series, and I can't wait to read those as well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely brilliant, 29 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elantris (Kindle Edition)
Love Brandon Sanderson, brilliant author and a another brilliant book highly recommend to anyone out there as a gripping read!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Elantris
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
6.49
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews