Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Latest book finished - Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.

Elantris is Sanderson's first book, and it is an impressive debut with compelling characters and a setting that feels new.

The world he creates feels like it has a lot of back story, although this the rarest of fantasy beasts - a stand alone novel. There is enough to build on that I suspect there will be a sequel at some point, but the novel feels complete as it is.

It tells the story set ten years after the fall of the titular city, populated by members of the population that have been changed by a mysterious process to be powerful magical beings with the ability to manipulate the world around them. After the fall, these same creatures are turned into half dead creatures that have no abilities and can't heal and therefore deteriorate into madness over time. On top of that is the conflict between one expansive empire based on an aggressive religion and the surrounding kingdoms.

A lot of the plot elements feel new, rather than a standard re-tread of fantasy ideas. Sanderson weds that to a nice handling of characters, particularly his villains, who have more depth than is typical for the genre.

He has some other series novels now, and based on this book I will probably check them out at some point.

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