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Publisher's Summary

Legendary science fiction author Orson Scott Card calls Brandon Sanderson a writer to watch.

Once the godlike rulers of the capital of Arelon, the inhabitans of Elantris have been imprisoned within themselves, unable to die after the city's magic failed years ago. But when a new prince falls victim to the curse, he refuses to accept his fate.

©2005, 2015 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC. (P)2008 Recorded Books,LLC

Critic Reviews

"...readers won't want to put it down." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Outstanding." ( Publisher's Weekly)

Featured Article: The Best Brandon Sanderson Audiobooks


Brandon Sanderson is one of the best-known and most popular fantasy authors working today. If you're entering his wonderfully magical worlds for the first time, it can be daunting. Never fear! This guide will walk you through the best Brandon Sanderson audiobooks, from his most well-known series to his lesser-known (but equally excellent) standalone novels. So buckle up and get ready for days (yes, literally, days!) of amazing listening.

What listeners say about Elantris

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    10,740
  • 4 Stars
    5,314
  • 3 Stars
    1,726
  • 2 Stars
    378
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Performance
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  • 3 Stars
    1,570
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    377
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    9,396
  • 4 Stars
    4,212
  • 3 Stars
    1,533
  • 2 Stars
    345
  • 1 Stars
    150

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What if your body could never heal?

Elantris is Brandon Sanderson’s first widely distributed book and is named after the ruined city of Elantris, which is the focus of the story. It is an excellent book and a complete story, despite the fact that Brandon does plan to eventually write a sequel.

Within Arelon an affliction known as the Shaod transforms certain individuals into an undead state where one’s body no longer repairs itself. Arelon society treats anyone afflicted with the Shaod as dead and sends them into the ruined city of Elantris for the remainder of their existence.

Elantrians feel pain and it is a pain that will never go away or diminish as they have no ability to heal. Over time, an Elantrian will accumulate injuries, each time adding to the level of constant pain they feel. Eventually, many go mad from their suffering. Within the walls of Elantris, a desperate, broken society has formed where the strong prey on the weak and the existing inhabitants take advantage of the newcomers sent to join them.

Raoden, the Prince of Arelon, is taken by the Shaod and thrust into the living hell that is Elantris; however, he refuses to abandon his humanity and seeks to improve the state of affairs within Elantris. Brandon’s concept for this book, while basic in nature, is told within a setting that contains interesting magics and complex politics. Jack Garrett does a fine job as narrator and felt like a good fit for the material.

This book is certainly not as polished as Sanderson’s later works, but I enjoyed the story just the same. It is a worthy listen and certainly left me wanting more. I look forward to the day that the decade long wait for a sequel comes to an end. :)

190 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Don't miss this one!

I very much enjoyed this book. Even though it was long, it didn't feel like it. There were times I found myself laughing out loud and others where I almost wanted to stand up and cheer (or cry). I think this is intended to be the first in a series of books, but it ends in a way that you'll be OK until the next one is released (if there even is a next one). I see where/how a sequel could take off, but this is a very stand-alone book. Again, listening to the audio version saved me from having to try to come up with pronunciations for all the unique language/names in the text. The narrator did a fabulous job!

While there is a certain amount of magic and "fantasy" in this fantasy novel, it features deep and complex characters and relationships, as well as a well developed plot that is entertaining, often unpredictable, and always leaves you wanting more. Sure, you'll find a few things as progress through the story that make you say "I totally saw that coming!" But, those instances will be come lost amongst the many twists and turns you never expected, but which all add up to make this a very rich and satisfying entertainment experience!

93 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Well written and interesting to read

If I owned the actual book and not the audiobook I would classify this as a real page turner.

This is one of the most original pieces of fantasy literature that I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. The magic system, religions and cultures, while not totally unique, have enough of a twist on them to keep the story interesting. The book is not as complex as some other books in the fantasy genre but its simplicity is, in a sense, refreshing. Brandon does a superb job of helping the reader feel like they are part of the story.

Once I started listening I just couldn't stop... I found myself looking forward to driving to and from work so I could listen to the book... once I arrived at my destination I found myself sitting in the car for those few extra minutes just to hear what was going to happen next.

Since listening I have purchased it as a gift for my two brothers and will be buying it for my nephew this Christmas.

76 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not Sanderson's Finest

For a little perspective, let me start by saying that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. According to Goodreads, I've read 18 of his novels or novellas, and I'm actually reading the hardcover edition of Calamity right now.

That said, I thought Elantris was, frankly, just bad. I had been warned that, as Sanderson's first published novel, it was little rough around the edges, but that was an understatement. Unfortunately, I discovered that Elantris was full of flat characters, unrealistic dialog, and tons of fantasy tropes. Sadly, Sanderson's amazing ability to write fast-paced novels with good characters and great magic systems must have manifested AFTER writing Elantris because none of those qualities were present here and it was quite a let down.

What really surprised me the most was just how boring the novel was. There's almost no action until the last hour or two of the recording and there's no sense of suspense at all. The characters, plot, and worldbuilding just didn't push the story along like they should have. It's not even clear until near the very end of the book why the "bad guys" are even bad at all.

However, I do have to wonder if this was one of those rare cases where the narrator actually made the book worse. Jack Garrett was just not a great choice for a fantasy novel. Everything just came off a little too upbeat and his reading style was really slow. This is the first time I felt compelled to use my Audible app's increased speed feature, first going up to 1.25x and then later to 1.5x when I just couldn't wait to be done.

Now, for whatever reason, this novel gets pretty amazing reviews, well, everywhere. I don't really understand why that is, but it may be that Elantris simply wasn't a good fit for me or perhaps it was a case of the wrong novel at the wrong time, so if you really love Brandon Sanderson and you still haven't read Elantris, perhaps you'll still like it, but just beware that the reasons that you love Sanderson may be the same reasons why you won't like Elantris. And do yourself a favor and pick up a print copy.

58 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The best standalone fantasy I've ever read

I'm not a writer, so there's nothing I can say about Sanderson's writing that others haven't already said with more skill and understanding. I can say that this is one of those books that you wish you could forget so that you could relive the experience anew with every re-read. This book has everything- magic, romance, politics, war- there's even an entire story arch related to women's empowerment. This story isn't as shrouded in details as some of Sanderson's other books, but the back and forth between the three main characters coupled with the myriad minor characters, gives enough complexity to satisfy even the most die-hard fantasy readers. In short, this is the best stand alone fantasy book I've ever read, and if you're looking to jump into Sanderson's Cosmere books, this is a great place to start.

With regards to the performance, Jack Garrett is for the most part very good. The reason I only gave the performance 3 stars is because he used the same voice for one of the main characters, Serene, as he did for the voice of the narrator in the story. Most listeners probably wont be bothered, or may not even notice, but for some reason it got to me. I suppose I'm spoiled by Kramer/Reading and Tim Gerard Reynolds.

57 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Elantris

I bought and devoured the Mistborn Trilogy Narrated by Micheal Kramer. I loved the series and Kramer took me there. So I couldn't wait to pick up Elantris. I don't think that I will finish this miserable experience. Who is Jack Garrett? This Narrartor is horrible. The pauses and swings in emotional lilt have me losing the context of what is being told constently. Ugh! I am so dissapointed. I even tried listening to this book under the fast playback setting on my player and it was somewhat more bearable but it just isn't worth it.

Skip Elantris and check out the Mistborn Trilogy.

48 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A book for lovers of good books.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the ideas refreshing and the world the book encompasses to be masterfully crafted. I felt the narrator did a wonderful job and his tone matches the tone of the story nicely. While this novel is written with an adult audience in mind it is appropriate for teens and well enough told that they will be able to follow it. I've been an audible member for 2 years and listened to audio books for close to 15 years. This is one of only a very small number of books that have impressed me enough to write a review. Regardless of your favorite genre this book is a great listen. I definitely found it "credit worthy". Give it a listen.

39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Original storyline. Good listen.

I didn't know this was the author's first novel until after I'd purchased it and started listening. For his first run he's done an impressive job. Yes, the ending is fairly predictable but how it gets there is not. He does a great job of keeping the story moving and I found myself actually hoping for more traffic on the way to/from work so I could listen a bit longer. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of 5 is the narrator. He speaks very VERY slowly. I've purchased several books on audio and this is the only one I've had to speed up to "fast" on my iPod. Other than that I would highly recommend this book. I'll definitely be adding the Mistborn trilogy to my library shortly.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Flat; Predictable; Painful

This is one of the most 'juvenile' (here, I am referencing the 'quality' of the writing and the story, NOT the fictional category) fantasy novels I have ever had the misfortune to read. The characters are 2-dimensional; the plot, while promising, is so predictable - so "perfectly, perfect" - that it fails to be the driving force of the story (a Critical Point, here); the dialogue is stilted, and unconvincing (I can feel the PAIN the author suffered while trying to contrive this work) - yet, the DIALOGUE is the driving element of the 'story'. The author uses 'conversations' - mostly internal postulations by one of the 3 main characters- to "TELL" the listener/reader what the story is about. The author never "SHOWS" the alternate reality- that other place, where all great stories take you and and your imagination to - he simply states "Here There Be Fiction".... or at most, an awful lot of writing that amounts to very little.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting idea but very badly written

I found the general ideas behind the novel intriguing. But the follow-through was terrible. The characters are cardboard cutouts; the dialogue is painful to listen to; the plotting is largely predictable and unrealistic; the characters behave in unrealistic ways; and its story is often inconsistent. All in all I was extremely disappointed with this book, given the very good reviews it received.

I think I would have really enjoyed this novel when I was in high school. But now it just seems juvenile. It gets very tiresome to listen to the characters continually speak in 'clever' snippets. It almost makes you think they're winking after every comment. And quite often I thought that the characters were behaving the way they were because the story demanded it, not because it was the way they would have acted. It was also tiring to see how often blind luck saved our hero, and how everyone almost instantly fell under his spell.

There were a few good points here and there. But overall, I would advise you to carefully read some more reviews of this book before you purchase it. Pay careful attention to the 1 and 2 star reviews. Most of those I've seen go into excellent detail as to the shortcomings of this book.

29 people found this helpful