My rating: 3 of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 Stars
“So Sarene did what she always did when she learned that someone was keeping things from her. She tried to find out what they were.”
The city of Elantris used to be glorious. Now it’s filled with slime, dirt, misery, and pain. The people were once revered as gods, everyone was desperate to live there. Now to be taken to that city is a curse worse than death. The prince of the neighboring kingdom, Raoden, wakes up one morning to discover that the Shaod has come upon him, marking him as the next new Elantrian. His skin is spotted and shriveled, his hair is falling out, and every little injury or hunger pang will never go away. He must now live in the gang-ruled and dilapidated city for the rest of his life. Welcome to Elantris.
Sarene was betrothed to Raoden when she traveled across the sea to his kingdom for their wedding. When she arrives, she is told her betrothed is dead, but due to the laws of the kingdom she is considered officially married and is now a widow. Happy wedding day, am I right?
Hrathen is a powerful and distinguished high priest of his kingdom. He is sent to topple the government of Prince Raoden’s country and convert all of its citizens to his religion. He and his underling, Dilaf, set out to usurp Raoden’s father, King Iadon, while hopefully spilling as little blood as possible. Glory to Jaddeth!
I have a few pet peeves about this book, which is the reason it does not earn a complete four stars from me. It took a little getting used to because it reads as high fantasy and to be honest I haven’t read a high fantasy book in quite some time. It stretched those brain muscles! However, my main pet peeve was that because of the high fantasy element, the world building went a little too far. Elantris is very focused on these three different religions that many different countries believe, and to be honest, at the beginning it was hard for me to keep straight what was what. I sort of blame that on being a mom of a one-year-old and constantly putting down and picking up this book, but even so I felt that it went a little too in-depth with the explanations of the religions and the country’s political background. (view spoiler)
I also felt that the book plateaued around the halfway mark. I felt like nothing was getting accomplished at all. Luckily, after pushing through several chapters the pace picked back up and let me tell ya, it was a wild ride!
The book switches between the perspectives of Raoden, Sarene, and Hrathen, usually in that order. Some people don’t like books that move around like that, but I enjoy them. Raoden and Sarene are very likable and well-rounded characters that contrast well with the character of Hrathen who is one of the antagonists throughout the story. Hrathen is a complex and interesting character and is not your run-of-the-mill fantasy bad guy. I really enjoyed reading from his perspective. I love me a strong leading lady, and Sarene delivers! She’s feisty, she’s smart, and she’s flawed. She makes snap judgments about people and then ends up having to apologize for her treatment of them. I just really loved her. Raoden is suave, intelligent, amiable, and actually quite funny. This book will surprise you with wit, twists, danger, mysteries, and perfectly described battle scenes.
If you are a fan of high fantasy, Elantris is a fun read indeed!