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Elantris    by Brandon Sanderson order for
by Brandon Sanderson
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2006 (2005)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

The city of Elantris is a paradise, a heaven in this realm, but not all are chosen to become Elantrians. Only those who receive the glowing condition that deems them Elantrian may enter the city and become supreme beings. But then the great change happens, a catastrophe that changes the world forever.

After a quick prologue, Elantris opens to a different and less than idyllic world. Those who are now chosen to be Elantrians find themselves physically altered overnight. They awake covered in weeping sores and mottled skin, unrecognizable by their own family members. They are banished to Elantris, sealed in the fortress of the once great city which has now fallen into disrepair and ruin. Like lepers, they are ignored by society and hated for the way they look and the way they are.

Raoden was the crowned prince of Arelon, loved and respected by everyone in the realm. That is until the opening page of the first chapter, where Raoden wakes to find himself doomed to be an Elantrian. His disfigurement is hidden by his father, the king, and he is tossed into Elantris. Inside he discovers a horrific world whose people have given up on life. Those who are cursed as Elantrian no longer need to eat for they are essentially dead, and yet feel the pangs of starvation. Any wounds they suffer refuse to heal, while they continue to feel pain each day. But Raoden is still the same person inside, and isn't giving up. In time he begins to improve the once great city and help the people who have lost all hope.

Hrathen is a devout high priest of Fjordell, looking to become the new ruler in Arelon and will do all he can to scare the people into hating the Elantrians even more. He will stop at nothing for his ego and his beliefs, even if it means the collapse of the monarchy.

Sarene is the princess from Teod who was destined to marry Raoden and form a strong family alliance. Though Raoden is in Elantris, through an evil law, Sarene is forced to join the royal family of Arelon. While pretending to be a prim and kind princess to the king who expects little from women, Sarene is trying to comprehend what has happened to Arelon and Elantris, as well as to deal with Hrathen. She knows there is more going on than appears and will need to do something if the kingdom is to survive.

Elantris is a new and fascinating world with some very strong and individual characters who make the reader keep reading to the very end, wanting to know what will happen, who will survive, and what is the big story behind the once beautiful city that is now a ghetto. Elantris is a brilliant first novel from bestselling author Brandon Sanderson.

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