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Author Topic: Elantris
jaycloomis
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"Elantris is the finest novel of fantasy to be written in many years." -Orson Scott Card
I stumbled upon this book while browsing the library for another book for my girlfriend. She reads a lot during work and I was trying to find her a good one -- she had just finished reading Lost Boys by OSC and loved it. But I didn't think she'd like the full Sci-Fi ones such as the Ender series.
Anyways, the name Orson Scott Card caught my eye on this one, and I was surprised that Orson would make such a huge comment as 'finest novel of fantasy to be written.' So I nabbed it and cracked it open the other night.
It's a good book, I recommend it to anywone. This Brandon Sanderson (the author) has a lot in common with OSC. They are both members of the LDS church, both live (I'm not sure if Card still lives there, but once did for sure) in Salt Lake City, Utah, and both graduated from Brigham Young University. Sanderson has a Master's in Creative Writing, and an intriguing writing style. I highly recommend this book to anyone. It is about Elantris, a city of gods (not THE city of THE Gods, because they arent Gods, just gods) -- Humans turned into gods at random by a mysterious force.
They are worshiped as dieties for their ability to make magic through the Aons, symbols they can trace in the air to create different miracles. Well one day (10 years ago, in the book) this <em>other</em> mysterious force called the Reod swoops in and starts turning people into decayed, 'dead' yet living beings. They are all thrown in and locked in the walls of the fallen city of Elantris and left to decay, but never die.
The main character is a prince named Raoden, who was struck by the Reod at the beginning of the book and tossed into Elantris with the rest.
It's really a very fascinating book, but I've got one qualm with it: Sanderson has developed a shift in voice from Raoden in Elantris, to his would-be-wife Sarene in Kae, Raoden's father's kingdom, and then to the priest Hrathen. The shift is just too constant, one chaper Raoden, next Sarene, next Hrathen. I can't stand <em>knowing</em> who the speaker is going to be <em>every</em> chapter until the end of the book or the merging of speakers. It's too mechanical.
Anyways, other than that the book is excellent and keeps you turing pages -- if you can get past the momentary dull of a new chapter.

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KPKilburn
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Just out of curiosity (since you mentioned OSC thought this was a great book) does being a good writer qualify you as a good reader also? I'm not trying to insinutate that OSC is not. I've just never read any of his works and know only what little I've read about him on this site.

I've always wondered if it's the same skillset and just because a well-known author recommends something, should it be an indication that it is truly good?

In other words, do writers have the same skill as a publisher (even if they've never been one)? I guess good publishers can pick good books (otherwise they wouldn't have a job very long). Is the same true for good writers?

Sometimes I wonder if an endorsement helps make something good, whether it really is or not. Look at A Thousand Little Pieces and how Oprah's initial endorsement and subsequent attack on the author made such a difference (if it really did - at least that was my impression from what I saw on the news).


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annepin
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Yeah, generally I tend to ignore author's comments on the back of a book, or at least take it with a grain of salt. If I hear them recommend a book in an interview (or in a how-to-write book), though, then I'll consider checking out the book.
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J
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If OSC is right about this author, then Robert Jordan fans are in for a treat. TOR announced that this Sanderson guy is going to finish the Wheel of Time series.
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InarticulateBabbler
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I am almost finished with Elantris, and it's not too bad. However, Robert Jordan Fans will notice the difference.

However, This is the second book that I've read OSC make such a statement about--the first was the Name of the Wind by WOTF winner, Patrick Rothfuss--and both have had glaring mistaks in my eyes. But, they are both worthy reads.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited January 25, 2008).]


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Antinomy
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I enjoy reading about 50 fiction novels a year but I just can’t get enthralled with OSC’s work like so many of you do. Please don’t throw stones, I appreciate and respect the fact that most of you are loyal fans. But quite honestly, I found Elantris and a few other OSC pieces to be slow, a bit predictable and purposely stretched out with future sequels in mind. Sorry, I don’t mean to be blasphemous, it’s just the way I see it.
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InarticulateBabbler
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Uh, Antinomy, you do know that Elantris was written by Brandon Sanderson and not OSC, right? The reference to OSC was because he recommended it.

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InarticulateBabbler
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Just finished this, and I found the end satisfying. I was actually surprised that it did conclude. It was a nice change.
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Christian
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Elantris was pretty good for a 1st novel, but his next two books are better. The can't remember the names at the moment (but the guy only has three books out, they won't be hard to find). I'm more intrigued by J's assertation that Sanderson will be finishing the WoT series. He's a good writer and could pull it off. There will definitely be a style difference, but with the way the series had been dragging for the last five books (no disrepect meant, just stating the fact as I see them) I actually welcome a change of style. With that said, I still wish Jordan was here to write it himself, that would be the penultimate ending.
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InarticulateBabbler
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Harriet chose Brandon to finish The Wheel of Time some time ago. I imagine he's well into it by now. As far as his other books, I know one of them is Mistborn, because they offered it as a free ebook from TOR books and I hopped on it. Nice to hear that it's a worthy read, too, though.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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WELL OF ASCENSION is the sequel to MISTBORN.

He also has a young adult/middle grade book out. I believe the title is ALCATRAZ AND THE EVIL LIBRARIANS.


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InarticulateBabbler
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Thanks, Kathleen.
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Christian
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Yeah, those are the names. Good call. I loved Well of Ascension. It's no 'Wheel of Time', mind you, but it's definitely unique. Sanderson is able to take 'magic-users' and make them unique. I just wish he'd explain the ash. I got used to it during Mistborn and I'm assuming he'll tell us where it came from eventually. He has a way of finishing his books in a way that makes you want more.

I may have to check out his kids' books too.


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Zero
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For a first novel I'd have to say this is pretty good. The characterization is strong, each separate character is likeable (of the big three pov ones), and perhaps best of all the world is well-developed, unique, and the magic system is fresh and interesting. It actually felt more like full metal alchemist than harry potter in that sense, which I enjoyed.

My only few criticisms are that it starts off slowly, it took me quite a while to really feel pulled into the story (could be just a personal taste issue), and I didn't really think the end conflict was well done. It felt rushed and I didn't particularly "buy it," with the newly emerged villain and surrunding events. It wasn't bad or anything, just felt like an ending that wasn't consistent with the quality of the first 90% of the book.


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MrsBrown
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I'm ridiculously fond of Sanderson's Elantris, Mistborn and Well of Ascension. Major fan, loved 'em start to finish, for the storytelling and the characterization.

I thought the ending to Elantris was terrific, fast pace driving toward a satisfying conclusion--it worked for me. I didn't mind the POV shift chapter by chapter; it seemed to me like the way he had to do it to tell the story right and keep us involved in all three characters. IB, what "glaring mistakes" did you spot?

I'm also curious about the ash in the Mistborn series, but I trust this author to explain all in the last book.

Don't get me started on Wheel of Time. It started out great, but I strongly disliked the series by the time I gave up.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited May 16, 2008).]


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