Sunday, July 20, 2008
What a fabulous writer Brandon Sanderson is! This was July's book club selection and from the announcement of the pick last month I was stoked since I love fantasy fiction. If you haven't read a single fantasy book and you're looking to expand your horizons on the genre then this is a great book to start with! There was depth to the characters, developed cultures that were diverse and compelling and a great story with enough twists to keep you guessing. The premise is that Elantris is the city of the Gods where the Gods used to be ordinary men and women (and children too!) who are randomly transformed into glowing-skinned beings who could perform powerful magic and live together in the city. However, 10 years before the opening of the book, the magic suddenly ended and the Elantrian's are now miserable and pathetic creatures that the people who had been worshipping them now consider damned. Now when the transformation occurs, the people go through the ceremony of burial cleansing and are thrown into the city gates and locked inside. There are three main characters - Raoden, prince of Arelon, who was loved by all, including the princess he'd never met; Hrathen, high priest of Fjordell, who will convert the people of Arelon or kill them; and Sarene, princess of Teod, who was a widow before she was ever married. All three characters lives are entwined together and the story is told from their points of view. The most appealing thing about this book is that it is a complete story in the one volume. So many fantasy novels are in a series that you have to then wait for the resolution of the cliffhanger for another year until the next book comes out. (And hope the author doesn't die before he's done writing the entire saga like Robert Jordan did with his Wheel Of Time series.) While this book could have another written to explain elements of the world that Sanderson creates, the story in itself is complete at the end. Even the girls at the book club gathering couldn't quit talking about this book and I think there are only 2 or 3 of us who have ever read fantasy before. Pick it up - you won't be sorry!