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Elantris | [Brandon Sanderson]

Elantris

Legendary science fiction author Orson Scott Card calls Brandon Sanderson a writer to watch, and Publishers Weekly says his debut is "outstanding." Once the godlike rulers of the capital of Arelon, the inhabitans of Elantris have been imprisoned within themselves, unable to die after the city's magic failed years ago. But when a new prince falls victim to the curse, he refuses to accept his fate.
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Publisher's Summary

Legendary science fiction author Orson Scott Card calls Brandon Sanderson a writer to watch. Once the godlike rulers of the capital of Arelon, the inhabitans of Elantris have been imprisoned within themselves, unable to die after the city's magic failed years ago. But when a new prince falls victim to the curse, he refuses to accept his fate.

©2008 Brandon Sanderson; (P)2008 Recorded Books,LLC

What the Critics Say

"... readers won't want to put it down." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"Outstanding." (Publisher's Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (6719 )
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  •  
    Lore SAN JOSE, CA, United States 09-12-13
    Lore SAN JOSE, CA, United States 09-12-13 Member Since 2008

    Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fan

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    "What if your body could never heal?"

    Elantris is Brandon Sanderson’s first widely distributed book and is named after the ruined city of Elantris, which is the focus of the story. It is an excellent book and a complete story, despite the fact that Brandon does plan to eventually write a sequel.

    Within Arelon an affliction known as the Shaod transforms certain individuals into an undead state where one’s body no longer repairs itself. Arelon society treats anyone afflicted with the Shaod as dead and sends them into the ruined city of Elantris for the remainder of their existence.

    Elantrians feel pain and it is a pain that will never go away or diminish as they have no ability to heal. Over time, an Elantrian will accumulate injuries, each time adding to the level of constant pain they feel. Eventually, many go mad from their suffering. Within the walls of Elantris, a desperate, broken society has formed where the strong prey on the weak and the existing inhabitants take advantage of the newcomers sent to join them.

    Raoden, the Prince of Arelon, is taken by the Shaod and thrust into the living hell that is Elantris; however, he refuses to abandon his humanity and seeks to improve the state of affairs within Elantris. Brandon’s concept for this book, while basic in nature, is told within a setting that contains interesting magics and complex politics. Jack Garrett does a fine job as narrator and felt like a good fit for the material.

    This book is certainly not as polished as Sanderson’s later works, but I enjoyed the story just the same. It is a worthy listen and certainly left me wanting more. I look forward to the day that the decade long wait for a sequel comes to an end. :)

    63 of 65 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vava MAPLE VALLEY, WA, United States 04-13-09
    Vava MAPLE VALLEY, WA, United States 04-13-09 Member Since 2012
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    "Original storyline. Good listen."

    I didn't know this was the author's first novel until after I'd purchased it and started listening. For his first run he's done an impressive job. Yes, the ending is fairly predictable but how it gets there is not. He does a great job of keeping the story moving and I found myself actually hoping for more traffic on the way to/from work so I could listen a bit longer. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of 5 is the narrator. He speaks very VERY slowly. I've purchased several books on audio and this is the only one I've had to speed up to "fast" on my iPod. Other than that I would highly recommend this book. I'll definitely be adding the Mistborn trilogy to my library shortly.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Garry Colorado Springs, CO, USA 05-11-09
    Garry Colorado Springs, CO, USA 05-11-09 Member Since 2014
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    "Don't miss this one!"

    I very much enjoyed this book. Even though it was long, it didn't feel like it. There were times I found myself laughing out loud and others where I almost wanted to stand up and cheer (or cry). I think this is intended to be the first in a series of books, but it ends in a way that you'll be OK until the next one is released (if there even is a next one). I see where/how a sequel could take off, but this is a very stand-alone book. Again, listening to the audio version saved me from having to try to come up with pronunciations for all the unique language/names in the text. The narrator did a fabulous job!

    While there is a certain amount of magic and "fantasy" in this fantasy novel, it features deep and complex characters and relationships, as well as a well developed plot that is entertaining, often unpredictable, and always leaves you wanting more. Sure, you'll find a few things as progress through the story that make you say "I totally saw that coming!" But, those instances will be come lost amongst the many twists and turns you never expected, but which all add up to make this a very rich and satisfying entertainment experience!

    51 of 54 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Connelly 04-12-09
    B. Connelly 04-12-09 Member Since 2007
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    "A book for lovers of good books."

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the ideas refreshing and the world the book encompasses to be masterfully crafted. I felt the narrator did a wonderful job and his tone matches the tone of the story nicely. While this novel is written with an adult audience in mind it is appropriate for teens and well enough told that they will be able to follow it. I've been an audible member for 2 years and listened to audio books for close to 15 years. This is one of only a very small number of books that have impressed me enough to write a review. Regardless of your favorite genre this book is a great listen. I definitely found it "credit worthy". Give it a listen.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Kaufer 11-20-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Great Depth of Character and Complexity of Story"

    A great book with good character development. I really liked the combination of the main storyline mystery, set within the environment of the political conflicts. It lead to a good complex story overall. I also really liked the reader, he was very easy to listen to. I mostly listen to more modern science fiction but I may be turned by this book! I will likely try another Sanderson novel.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Spencer 11-21-08
    Spencer 11-21-08 Member Since 2006
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    "Well written and interesting to read"

    If I owned the actual book and not the audiobook I would classify this as a real page turner.

    This is one of the most original pieces of fantasy literature that I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. The magic system, religions and cultures, while not totally unique, have enough of a twist on them to keep the story interesting. The book is not as complex as some other books in the fantasy genre but its simplicity is, in a sense, refreshing. Brandon does a superb job of helping the reader feel like they are part of the story.

    Once I started listening I just couldn't stop... I found myself looking forward to driving to and from work so I could listen to the book... once I arrived at my destination I found myself sitting in the car for those few extra minutes just to hear what was going to happen next.

    Since listening I have purchased it as a gift for my two brothers and will be buying it for my nephew this Christmas.

    48 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 09-28-10
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 09-28-10 Member Since 2014

    I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!

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    "Good debut for Brandon Sanderson"

    I really enjoyed listening to Elantris on audio and I think it???s a great debut. Brandon Sanderson has created a couple of heroes I enjoyed spending time with, and a truly engaging story. But, Elantris had several elements that almost made me cringe:

    1. Some of the ???lessons??? of Elantris (war is bad, zealots are dangerous, women are just as competent as men, political rank should not be determined by wealth but rather by ability, you can do anything if you try) are handled with all the subtlety of a brick to the forehead.... [...]

    2. Prince Raoden and Sarene are perfect. Mary Sue and Gary Stu, actually. Though they have been dealt a bad hand, they are super-smart and super-competent. When they act, roads straighten and obstacles move out of the way. The reader has no doubt that everything will turn out right in the end..
    3. I didn???t believe the political system in which people rise to, and fall from, power based on their income. How long could that kind of system work and what kind of people would go for that?... [...]

    4. The writing is competent, but some of the dialogue is stilted and there are frequent uses of unnecessary explanatory narrative..[...]

    Even with all of this stuff that annoyed me all the way through, I have to say that I still loved Elantris. Mary and Gary ??? I mean Sarene and Raoden ??? are characters to care about, and that still-young-and-idealistic part of me enjoyed reading about the successes that Prince Raoden and Sarene accomplished in Elantris and Arelon. Brandon Sanderson???s greatest strength, though, is his creative magic systems. Just as in the Mistborn trilogy, the magic of Elantris is truly unique and one of the most fun parts of the book.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
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    Jesse Saint Peters, MO, United States 03-31-10
    Jesse Saint Peters, MO, United States 03-31-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Fantastic!"

    I really enjoyed this book. I normally listen to audiobooks for about an hour and a half a day, during my commute to and from work. About 2/3 through Elantris, I started carrying my mp3 player with me and couldn't stop until I'd finished it. I would highly recommend this book.

    14 of 17 people found this review helpful
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    Clark R. Newbold 05-04-14 Member Since 2014

    moon cursed

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    "Excellent Story, Sub-par Narration"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. It is another interesting world from the mind of Brandon Sanderson. His magic systems are always so well developed and his cultures are intriguing. I would recommend reading it instead of listening to it.


    What other book might you compare Elantris to and why?

    The plot was not my standard fare, so I am not sure I have a good comparison.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jack Garrett?

    James Marsters, Michael Kramer, and Kate Reading always do phenomenal jobs with their books. I really don't know how they can vary their voices in so many ways for the different characters.


    Any additional comments?

    The narration just about killed the entire book for me. I almost quite listening before I made it through the first few chapters. I stuck it out because it was by Brandon Sanderson and the plot eventually pulled me in more than the narration pushed me away. I felt there were irritatingly long pauses at weird points in the sentences. The book could probably have been read in 3/4 of the time it took him.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael New Orleans, LA 07-01-12
    Michael New Orleans, LA 07-01-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Rich, Well-Woven and Addictive..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    An exceptional audiobook has the ability to draw you in, suspend reality, and place you within the story. This fantasy novel will do exactly that, so recommending it is a pleasure. Magic, science, politics, epic warfare, and world creation come together in a fantastic read/listen.

    It is, in a word, exceptional.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Elantris?

    Without giving anything away, the hero makes makes a simple yet startling game-changing magical discovery towards the climax of the story. Something so close, yet just out of reach. Buy this audiobook, and when it happens, you'll know exactly what I'm telling you.


    Have you listened to any of Jack Garrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not too much, he's done an extremely capable job. I look forward to hearing more of his work in the future.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    "Wake up. Your nightmare awaits..."


    Any additional comments?

    I've read the other reviews, and while I don't agree with some of them, you'll note that almost all of us recommend you acquire it and listen. What's interesting, is the different reasons why to do so. So, there's not much more I can say, other than: "Get this wonderful audiobook. It will NOT let you down."

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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