Elantris | Book Review

I decided it was time to try a Brandon Sanderson book with the big announcement of the kickstarter. Three years ago when I started getting back into reading, I made a choice; this choice was between Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time or Sanderson’s Mistborn. I had picked up both The Eye of the World and Mistborn at the local book store. Because of the announcement for the Wheel of Time TV Series, I pursued The Wheel of Time. Flash forward to the kickstarter and I was captivated by the idea of getting a new book by the same author quarterly. I decided to try Elantris to see if I would like Sanderson’s work.

Why did I start with Elantris instead of Mistborn?

The answer is rather simple. At the moment I have so many series going right now, I thought it would be nice to read a stand-alone. I also thought it would be fun to start with his very first published work. I had zero expectations going into Elantris besides being excited to see how Sanderson writes magic systems. What I found was something truly special! I was absolutely intrigued by the story. I actually don’t remember the last time I read 200 pages of a story so fast. I kept coming back to it every night because I wanted to know more.

“Remember, the past need not become our future as well”

Brandon Sanderson

I was immediately pulled into the story by the amazing main characters – Raoden, Hrathen and Sarene. I felt each of the characters had depth and a compelling backstory that kept me interested from the first page to the last. Normally, I am not interested in the villains as much as the protagonists but Elantris really changed my opinion of that. There was quite significant character growth with our main three characters with Hrathen having the most growth. I think my favorite character in Elantris was Raoden. I loved his story and ties with the magic system.

One thing I liked a lot about Elantris was the new and refreshing spin on zombies. When I think of zombies, I immediately think of the nasty, mindless killing zombies found in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead or the movie Zombieland. But that isn’t entirely the case here. Sanderson crafted a unique version of zombies that works incredible well with the magic system.

I’ve read a few unique magic systems – Harry Potter and Wheel of Time – before I read any of Sanderson’s works. I would describe Harry Potter as more of a soft magic system and Wheel of Time a hard magic system. Elantris to me fell more in the soft magic system because we don’t know how it works or it’s limitations. This is a magic system we are learning about at the same pace as our characters. I like how it was really thought out and fed to us throughout the story. It was a mystery that we were solving together. I can see why everyone really likes Sanderson’s Magic system because of how unique it is and how much of a role it plays in his stories.

Overall, I really enjoyed Elantris. This was an easy 5 out 5 stars; one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read this year! I would highly recommend starting reading Sanderson works with Elantris. Maybe my tune will change once I read Mistborn but Elantris was a great stand-alone novel with a lot of interesting political and religious intrigue. Elantris was unputdownable. The main and side characters were fleshed out with interesting backstory and great character arc. I can’t wait to read another Sanderson story this year… maybe Warbreaker. What do you think? What Sanderson novel should be next for me?

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