Elantris - Brandon Sanderson
Elantris was beautiful once.....

Elantris and I really got along. I mean, I really expect a lot from my books. I need to enjoy the story, be intrigued by the plot, feel uplifted by the themes, bond with the characters, feel smarter at the end than I did at the beginning, and not be offended at the violence, language, or sex. The less these elements move me, the less I care about the book. The stronger the book is in all these areas, the more I'll like it. There are a few books that massage me just right in all these different ways, and these are the books I don't forget. These are the ones that land on my personal greatest-ever shelf. So, when I say me and Elantris really got along, I mean in every aspect important to me, Elantris got it right.

In fact.....

I loved reading it! Elantris is told from from the point of view of the three main characters, Raoden, Sarene, and Hrathen. The chapters can be grouped into groups of three--each main taking turns to tell what's going on in their part of the plot. Raoden is the crown prince of the kingdom, and he has been stricken with a mysterious condition that causes his own father, the king, to secretly banish him into Elantris--the gigantic city formally inhabited by magical, god-like beings--and tell everyone that his son has died. Sarene is the headstrong princess of a nearby kingdom who was sent to marry Raoden as part of a treaty between the kingdoms. Unfortunately, she learns of Raoden's death only after she arrives for her wedding, and despite the prince's. passing, the treaty still holds. She is now married to a dead man, and decideds to make the most of her circumstance by embracing her new kingdom and working to prevent the rotten king from destroying the kingdom and inviting war. Hrathen, the creepy-priest-from-a-foreign-land, is the bad guy, sent to the city by his boss to cause the kingdom to fall from the inside by converting the people to the religion favored by the country that is set on taking oven the world.

Brandon Sanderson takes these three stories, throws them in a blender, adds enough plot twists to make you motion sick while reading, sprinkles his own carefully crafted system of mysterious magic on top, and serves up this remarkable book. It stands alone--its not the first book in an epically long fantasy saga. It was everything I want a book to be. I recommend it to all.

Enjoy!