I read this novel because Brandon Sanderson was going to complete the Wheel of Time series, which I'll eventually get around to completing, so I wanted to get more familiar with his style. The end result was that I was absolutely blown away by this spellbinding, magnificently woven tale.
Elantris, the city for which the book is named, was a beautiful splendid place filled with magic inhabited by powerful beings. Ten years prior to the start of the novel, Elantris turned. The city decayed. Its inhabitants turned into these leper-like creatures with their bodies filled with blotches and their hair gone. Raoden, the prince of nearby Kae, is stricken with the fate of Elantris and is thrown into the city right before his wedding to Sarene, the princess of nearby Teod. Sarene still makes her journey, thinking Raoden is dead. She firmly gets involved in the politics of the city, sparring with Raoden's father and keeping a wary eye on the religious fanatics of Fjordell, who threaten to take over the city. Meanwhile, Raoden tries to find out the basis of his affliction and the fall of Elantris, trying to resurrect the city in the process.
This novel was fantastic. Normally I'm critical in my book reading and not so effusive in my praise, but there was nothing to be critical about. Sanderson's prose is sensational. His storytelling is highly professional. The characters are well drawn, including many of the side characters in this ensemble cast. The plot is laid out in logical fashion. Even though there is little bloodshed until the end, the novel is captivating and page turning as Sarene weaves her way through the political tidings of the city, and Raoden sets about solving the mystery. When there is finally some bloodshed at the end, it's very impactful and well written. If you like epic fantasy, then this is an absolute must read.
Carl Alves - author of Blood Street