Elantris: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities to benefit all the people of Arelon. Yet each of these godlike beings had been an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Then, ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, feeble, leper-like creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling. The Shaod became a curse.
Arelon's new capital city, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris, which its people do their best to ignore. Princess Sarene of Teod has come to Kae for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping – based on their correspondence – also to find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died, and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. Sarene decides to make the best of a sad situation and use her position to oppose the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspects the truth about Prince Raoden's disappearance. Taken by the same strange malady that struck the fallen gods of Elantris, Raoden was secretly imprisoned within the dark city. His struggle to create a society for the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps even reveal the secret of Elantris itself.
Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. A welcome breath of fresh air, it is a rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and is a complete and thoroughly satisfying story in a single volume. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.
"Elantris is the finest novel of fantasy to be written in many years. Brandon Sanderson has created a truly original world of magic and intrigue, and with the rigor of the best science fiction writers he has made it real at every level.” – Orson Scott Card
“Elantris... is marked by vivid and strongly drawn characters and ingenious plot twists that will keep the reader turning pages. Don’t miss it!” – Katherine Kurtz
"Brandon Sanderson is the real thing – an exciting storyteller with a unique and powerful vision. Elantris is one of the finest debuts I've seen in years." – David Farland
"While every new fantasy author is hailed as unique, new, and different, Brandon Sanderson's Elantris does indeed provide an absorbing adventure in a unique, different, and well-thought-out fantasy world, with a few nifty twists as well." – L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Brandon Sanderson was born in December 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested for him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This all changed in eighth grade when an astute teacher, Mrs. Reader, gave Brandon Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. Brandon thoroughly enjoyed this book, and went in search of anything similar. He discovered such authors as Robert Jordan, Melanie Rawn, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, and Orson Scott Card. Brandon continued to be an avid reader through junior high and high school. He liked epic fantasy so much that he even tried his hand at writing some. His first attempts, he says, were dreadful.
Cosmere :: Series
The cosmere is the greater universe in which The Stormlight Archive - and many of Brandon Sanderson's other adult fiction books - take place. The books take place on different Shardworlds, and each of these worlds is set in the same small galaxy within the cosmere universe.
Brandon has said that one does not need any cosmere knowledge to understand the books, and that they can be enjoyed separately, but it will be necessary eventually to have a certain understanding of Realmatic Theory.
All things exist in three Realms: the Physical, the Cognitive, and the Spiritual.
The Physical Realm is the most readily understood as it is merely the manifestation of the world as experienced by the characters, with properties similar to our own.
The Cognitive Realm, also known as Shadesmar on Roshar, can be used as means of Worldhopping and travel. Worlds are much closer to each other in the Cognitive Realm than in the Physical. When there, a Worldhopper is within walking distance to other worlds (though it may take weeks/months to travel between worlds). Both Shallan and Jasnah have traveled to the Cognitive Realm. It is the place of ideas and has much in common with Platonic Ideals.
The Spiritual Realm is that of the "soul." Little is know about this Realm. It is believed that this is the location of the afterlife for cosmere residents. Shardholders may not have full access to the Spiritual Realm.