Elantris is the first novel published by now famous fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson. At the time of this review, there is currently no book 2, but Sanderson has said he would be writing a sequel. Elantris is also the first book about Sanderson’s Cosmere. I’ve decided I won’t mention anything about the Cosmere theory in these reviews because Sanderson himself said they were more of an Easter Egg. I quite enjoy going on the hunt, but I can’t really talk about it without spoiling anything.
Elantris was beautiful once, ten years ago. Elantrians had godlike abilities. Then one day the magic just stopped working. Now Elantrians are considered cursed. Anyone who shows signs of the Shaod are immediately tossed into Elantris and no longer exist in people’s minds.
Raedon is the crown prince in Arelon. He is well liked and everyone is just waiting for King Iadon to die just so Raedon can become king. That is, until Raedon gets the Shaod. Not even the crown prince can avoid being thrown into Elantris. Although his people have given up on Raedon (most presumed him dead), he never gives up on the people. Even while stuck in the rotting and decaying city of Elantris, he still works to make Arelon better.
Sarene is Raedon’s wife. Sarene never actually went through a wedding ceremony with Raedon, but her marriage clause stipulates that if Raedon dies before the wedding ceremony then the wedding is still binding. Sarene quickly makes herself as a key player in a religious and political struggle in Arelon between the two religious factions Shu-Dereth and Shu-Korath. Shu-Dereth is an Eastern religion that favours loyalty by domination and Shu-Korath believes in loyalty by devotion.
Sanderson himself said he has become a better writer after Elantris, and I do think it’s pretty obvious. The story was good of course, but it just didn’t quite have the dramatic flare that I have grown quite accustomed to in his later works. Even the magic systems in the book were not as developed which Sanderson is now famous for creating. Still worth the read if you want to go on the Cosmere hunt as many of us have been.