Elantris, the capital of Arelon, was a beautiful city filled with once ordinary people who, when touched with the mysterious Shaod, turn into powerful beings with magical powers. That is, until 10 years ago, when all those affected by the Shaod, past and future turn into weak and powerless people whose skin turns grey and hair falls out. In the new capital Kae, Princess Sarene of Teod has come to secure an alliance between their two kingdoms through marrying Prince Raoden. Though when she arrives, Sarene finds that she is a widow. However, Raoden is not dead, but has been affected by the Shaod and has been put into Elantris with the rest of the Elantrians. He finds cannot stand idly by and watch them suffer, and so he hopes to find a way to help the Elantrians become human again and discover what happened to the magic. With both Teod and Arelon under threat from the religious empire of Fjordell, Sarene must use all her political skills against Hrathen, a high priest of Fjordell to stop him from converting both countries to be under the control of Fjordell.
Elantris is a really good fantasy book and I wish I had read Sanderson’s books sooner as he has an interesting way of telling stories. This book has an interesting religions and plot twists, however, it was let down by a very slow start and too little magic and too much politics.
Sarene is an OK character as she tries to do what she believes is the best and is willing to help those most in need, but she is annoying as she is too perfect and good at everything which makes her hard to relate to. Raoden has a similar problem as he does not have any real flaws and is too selfless. Hrathen is surprisingly the most interesting character as even though I didn’t want to like him, I could understand him, relate to his lack of belief and see how he thinks what he is doing is right.
I liked this book as there is room for a sequel but it also works well as a standalone book. I would recommend Elantris to people who liked the Mistborn Series.