Hello Humans! I promised it at the end of my Fire & Heist readalong and here we are! I’m writing this intro having just finished the first six or so chapters of Elantris and I am already confident that I’m going to have a much better time! I’m still in the early stages of reading Brandon Sanderson, I’ve read Skyward and Warbreaker both of which I adored, but Elantris was something of an impulse Kindle purchase when it was on sale a few months ago – so let’s see how it goes!
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.
Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also 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. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.
Chapter One – Six
Today in ‘tropes I hadn’t realised were big wins for me’: princesses stranded in foreign courts. I love them. It’s my jam. So if you’ve already read this you can guess which strand of the story I’m most excited about!
But this writing is just so rich and detailed without feeling horrendously dense. You know you’re going to have a good time when a book has this feel. It’s possible that I’m more comfortable reading this because I have friends who have assured me that it’s a good read…but I genuinely think it’s the writing style.
My kindle is telling me I’ll be reading for another five hours…so strap in for a long one friends!
Chapter Seven – Fifteen
OOOOH. Well, for one thing – this is going to take me forever to finish. I don’t think even I could binge read this book in the bath. But I am enjoying it a huge amount so I don’t mind too much. I’m loving how much of a slow burn it is – which isn’t always something I like about a book, but in this case, it’s working for me. I feel like, even though there are a lot of politics and politicians and various characters in play I have a reasonably good handle on who is who and who wants what, which is not something I often feel as though I have. So good on you Sanderson – you’ve got me on this one.
Sarene is still my favourite character, but Raoden is growing on me, he’s a bit ‘perfect’ but I’m sure we’ll get some grit out of him sooner or later – we’d better.
Chapter Sixteen – Twenty
Oof, I said this would be a long one didn’t I. THERE ARE SO MANY MORE PLANS AFOOT. I love plans. I love plots. I love creative solutions to problems. I am a very happy Judith indeed. I’m just waiting for at least one of these plans to catastrophically fail, as yet it seems like everyone’s winning (broadly speaking) but we’ve got more than forty chapters to go, although my Kindle does seem to have decided that this will only take one hour as opposed to four, which is nice.
So really, I have no idea what to expect, it feels like there’s a heck of a lot more book to come, we shall see!
Chapter Twenty – Twenty Seven (End of Part One)
The end of part one comes at 57% in? Our two MCs haven’t really met yet? AND YET I AM STILL SO INVESTED IN THIS? A sign of a great fantasy read. I am obsessed with the fact that there are women with swords in this, all books should have women with swords, even contemporary fiction. Fight me.
But in all seriousness, the rest of the chapters in this book must be incredibly short to be able to fit into the rest of the book (one of the fun things about reading on Kindle is you do get exact percentages). Over half the number of chapters but under half the amount of book left. Intriguing.
I am still obsessed with Sarene, Roaden is still ok. But Sarene has a sword and a brain and I’m deeply enamoured.
Also, the various plans have yet to fall apart…does that mean that they won’t, or that when they do it will be even more catastrophic? Time will tell.
Chapter Twenty Eight – Forty One
As you can tell by the number of chapters I read in this chunk, my hunch was correct and they have indeed got much shorter and more action-packed. ARGH, things are getting really good, particularly towards the end of this section, the dramatic irony is real and it is working. It’s that feeling where you kind of want to smack a character and say ‘can’t you see what plan is afoot?’ – but in a good way. It makes everything so much more bittersweet and ramps up the tension in a way that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
Also, metaphysic beginning to fall into place. Yes. More of this please (twenty chapters more).
Chapter Forty-Two – Forty-Nine
Speedy check-in as I have to get back to work! BUT YES THE THINGS THAT I WANT TO HAPPEN ARE HAPPENING AND THEY ARE HAPPENING IN A COOL WAY. YESSSSSSSS.
Chapter Fifty – End (it shifts to part three)
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. One of my favourite resolutions to a book ever. Is that in part because it feels like such an achievement to finish a lengthy book? Possibly. But also this was so creative and so wholesome and so interesting and yes the romance moved ridiculously fast but after fifty pages I’M OK WITH IT. I adored this ending, so satisfying especially for someone like me who is so not used to standalones, the lack of cliffhanger was amazing.
Holy heck. I loved this book. It was exactly what I needed from an adult fantasy, it had so many elements that I love to read but none of them felt trope-y or overwrought, it was so slow to start but in the end it felt really balanced and pretty perfectly paced, I liked all the POVs. Just exceptional to read and I cannot wait to read my next Sanderson novel (I may have to raid my friend’s shelves once more…
My rating: 5/5 stars – easy.
I bought this book myself, all opinions are my own.
What will the TBR tea-cup pick next?
It’s Abhorsen! Another book that has been languishing on my Kindle TBR for quite some time. I’m really excited to get back into this series, the first two of which I actually had on audiobook – so reading it will be a new experience. I also need to read this to catch up with my spouse who keeps almost spoiling me as to what happens!
I’ve got a couple of ARCs I ought to finish before starting another owned TBR title, including one which I am very excited about because I will be on the blog tour so be sure to look out for that in the next couple of weeks, but check back in soon for my readalong of Abhorsen.