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by Brandon Sanderson
Release date: May 2005
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasyhigh fantasy

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.

updated 2015-08-20

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