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Publisher's Summary

In 2005, Brandon Sanderson debuted with Elantris, an epic fantasy unlike any other then on the market. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, Tor is reissuing Elantris in a special edition, a fresh chance to introduce it to the myriad readers who have since become Sanderson fans. 

This new edition begins with a preface by author Dan Wells, the first person to read the completed novel, and a new afterword by Sanderson explaining how he came to write the book and its place in the Cosmere, the unified universe of all his Tor novels.

Also included is an expanded version of the "Ars Arcanum" appendix, with more of the technical details of the book's magic that fans can never get enough of. 

Elantris was truly a milestone both for Sanderson and for the genre of epic fantasy. It deserves this special treatment, something Tor has done only once before, with Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. Sanderson fans old and new will be excited to discover it. 

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

What listeners say about Elantris

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    5 out of 5 stars

A great start to an epic universe

Elantris was an acquired taste for me. I had already read most of the Stormlight archives and Mistborn series before I came to this one, and by those books, Sanderson had developed a different style of writing that I had grown used to. So coming back to Elantris was a bit of a chore. It wasn't as fast pased or exciting as the other series, the magic system is more obscure, and the world and concept is so foreign that you spend most of the first third of the book trying to figure out who's who and what is going on.
But once you are a bit more familiar and things pick up a bit, it's an engaging and dynamic story. One of abandonment, hope in the face of devastation, dogmatic villains questioning their motives, and a permeating magic system that is more complex than you first thought. The characters really grow on you and the world starts feeling alive the more you read.
I think this might be a good book to start for Sanderson's Cosmere, as you will only be more impressed with later books writing and story, but if you read the other books and come back, just be a little patient. It's worth sinking into.
My main gripe is the narrator. He does an adequate job, but something about his performance was distracting and off to me. But I also am comparing him to the amazing Michael Kramer who narrates the other Sanderson novels, so it might be an unfair comparison.
Conclusion, an original and interesting story, with a bit of a learning curve, but one that does not disappoint high fantasy fans.
#Audible1

22 people found this helpful

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Narrator is fantastic and story is amazing!

Loved listening to this book. Story wise, I can see why people dub this as Sanderson's weaker novel. There just wasn't enough world exploration that made it feel very small. I loved the character development though, even if only for the main ones.

The narrator was really good, I can clearly tell apart the different characters by the voices he used. I plan to listen to more of his narrated books.

3 people found this helpful

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Speed it up!

Not a fabulous narrator, though once I sped it up to 1.25 the pacing started to seem normal.

2 people found this helpful

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Love it! Everything Eye of the World Was Not!

Loved it! A new bar has been set for me for fantasy novels. I love that the world-building and magic system are well-defined yet integral to the story. Nothing feels bloated in its description or irrelevant to the plot and characters. Sanderson is not trying to set up ten novels here and so you can believe that everything matters in this book. There's none of this "Just wait. It gets really good by book three!" The narrative voice is a compelling and engaging from minute one.

Although Sanderson and Robert Jordan have a connection I'm so glad I didn't assume they had the same writing style and sensibility. I absolutely hated The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #!). And I loved Elantris for everything that EotW was not! Looking forward to reading more from this author.

4 people found this helpful

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  • tam
  • 2021-08-14

Fantastic

I rhoroughly enjoyed both the story and the narrator. I have listened to the entire book twice and will definitely listen to it again.

1 person found this helpful

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Book is absolutely amazing, stayed up until 10am to finish

The book is really good, really really good! However not really a fan of the narrator, he ends sentences in an odd tone of voice and doesn’t really give the book justice.

1 person found this helpful

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Book is great!

some slow parts but I liked it alot. some people were saying that this book is t as good because it was Sandersons first book but that is baloney. Sanderson's magic systems are the bees knees people! also Jack Garrett does an excellent job portraying the characters.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story - not a great reader.

it took me a little while after listening to this book to realize that my distaste of it was all to do with the reader and not with the story.

I've heard worse readers but I found that his interpretation of emotional states and how he portrayed them often made for an either flat or bland feel to the characters.

After sitting on it, and revisiting it a couple years later, I can say that, though this is not Sanderson's best story - which is unsurprising - it is popular for a reason. He's created some really interesting and great characters and tells a really well paced story.

If you're looking to expand your knowledge of the cosmere, this is a necessary story, but also worth your time.

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Totally Engaging!

I'd read reviews of this book saying that because it's Sanderson's earliest published book, his narrative style hadn't yet developed and it wasn't as enjoyable. I read all the Mistborn and Stormlight Archive books before Elantris, and yet I still found it totally engaging - couldn't stop listening! The Cosmere connections may not be quite as defined, but they're there. The magical system might be a little more obscure, but it's fascinating and awesome.

I love how Brandon Sanderson can write books that eschew fantasy conventions; it's spellbinding to be introduced to new fantasy concepts that you couldn't even imagine. At the same time, he does a great job of building worlds and developing characters.

Whether you're a seasoned Sanderson veteran or a first-timer, I'd recommend this book.

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Brandon is the man

This was my first Brandon Sanderson novel and I was told it is his worst, but man it was pretty great. If this is considered his worst novel I am very excited to read his other ones. All around quite the fantasy book. 7.5/10.

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  • Heather Schnegelberger
  • 2016-08-02

Great characters, engaging story, satisfying end

I really loved the story that revolved around a widow princess, lost prince and faithless priest-- All who demonstrate the will to change and be changed in order to bring the tale to a compelling end. The voiced pacing was a little slow for me in the beginning but it grew on me and I appreciated the talent with which the story was read.

40 people found this helpful

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  • Brittany
  • 2016-09-01

Just love Jack Garrett's narration!

Ever since I read MISTBORN a couple years ago, I’ve been obsessed with Brandon Sanderson’s writing. His books launched me into the world of adult fantasy when I had been reading nearly exclusively young adult and I’ve been on a mission ever since to gobble up the rest of his books. Every book I’ve read (and every novella) has been enjoyable and I simply cannot get enough. I took advantage of an Audible deal that had Brandon Sanderson audiobooks on sale so I picked up ELANTRIS and WARBREAKER (which I also hope to read soon) and decided to start with ELANTRIS since it was Sanderson’s first published novel and it’s a stand alone.

ELANTRIS was such a good, solid read. At times it felt a bit lengthy and I was anxious for things to get moving but that could also be because I was listening to the audiobook so it did take me significantly longer than if I was reading it in print. I was “warned” ahead of time that the beginning was a lot of set up and character development and the true action and twists didn’t occur until closer to the end so I was all right waiting for that. I also didn’t mind because the characters were just so enjoyable! Since it’s not as action packed as some of his later books, ELANTRIS is able to really dig into characters and let their personalities shine! Raoden was truly as personable as he was made out to be and I loved Sarene’s independence and strength. Each character really brought the book to life and it was so easy to connect with each and every one of them.

The concept of Elantris and its fall was incredibly interesting. For most of the book, no one really knows why the once godlike inhabitants of Elantris fell and why the Shaod continues to take people, turning them into the “creatures” that the cities fear and quarantine. The world-building and background surrounding these questions impressed me and as always, the big reveal was so satisfying. I was really hoping for a bit more history of the magic system because it was so interesting and complex and I’m always anxious to dig into why and how it works! There is an explanation but I’ve been spoiled with the details that Sanderson includes in subsequent books and so I was seeking so many more details about AonDor! I also hoped for a bit more of digging into the creation myths of the Cosmere but since it was Sanderson’s first published work, there was still so much more to come to play around with what this world was, what drove its magic, and how it connected within the Cosmere. I know ELANTRIS was a stand alone (well, it does have a short story but it’s more of a companion to the novel than a continuation) but I would love to learn so much more about this world! I immediately went digging into the Coppermind (the Wiki for Sanderson’s complete works — it’s incredibly detailed!) to get any more info that I possibly could! All it did was make me want another book detailing this planet’s history even more.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Sanderson yet (since I’m finally writing a review for a book that’s not a sequel in a series), the Cosmere is Sanderson’s universe and most of his adult works take place on a different planet in the Cosmere. ELANTRIS is the first book set in the Cosmere and takes place on the planet Sel. Each Cosmere-set series is independent of the others but they all take place in the same universe and therefore share the same (incredibly detailed) history. I won’t get into it because a lot of this was explained with MISTBORN: A SECRET HISTORY, which is meant to be read after the 6th book in the Mistborn series and it could be a little spoilery to say more about the Cosmere since I only just discovered it this far into my Sanderson journey. I will say, though, that I’m constantly impressed with the world-building and I’m obsessed with books that are not series that connect. Sanderson is such a craftsman when it comes to connecting the Cosmere books and it may not always be in the most obvious way but when you make that connection, it’s so incredibly satisfying and it is such a delight to observe as a reader!

ELANTRIS was a book that really stuck with me and I keep thinking about it long after I’ve finished! It didn’t have quite as many historical details or action as some of the first Sanderson books I’ve read but I actually enjoyed that because it’s great to see how Brandon Sanderon’s writing style has changed, evolved, and can differ from story to story. I love that the books can feel so unique and yet still have a typical Sanderson feel that I can identify with. I can’t wait to continue my Cosmere binge later on this year!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Purchased from Audible during a sale
Narrator: Jack Garrett
Performance: More books narrated by Jack Garrett, please!

I’m always iffy trying out a narrator that I haven’t listened to before, especially with a favorite author AND an audiobook that’s literally 28.5 hours long. That’s over a full day of my life listening to one person’s voice so it gets intimidating to pick someone new! I’m really glad that I not only liked Jack Garrett but ended up loving him! His narration really embodied each character and each person had their own unique voice. I’m always so impressed with how many different voices a voice actor can do and with a detailed cast of characters, Jack Garrett had no issue making each voice quite unique. His female voices were softer and more feminine but not over the top. Accents were well placed and the general performance of everything was just top notch. I don’t know what other books he’s narrated but I will definitely be seeking out more!

189 people found this helpful

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  • Mike Mitchell
  • 2016-03-06

Not his best work

I flew through all 7 Mistborn books in less time than it took me to grind through Elantris. I won't give a synopsis -- since everyone else seemed to do a good job of that -- but I will give my opinion.

It's glaringly obvious that this is Sanderson's first published novel, and that he's grown tremendously since. Don't get me wrong, the plot is interesting, but the writing style doesn't make the story shine, like it should. He has a tendency to "tell" the reader what's happening, rather than "showing" what's happening.

The characters are interesting, too, but only a few of them are meaningfully developed. All of them are predictable. And the dialogue, which drives the narrative, is cheesy and unnatural.

While I normally am very open to different narration styles, I really couldn't stand this guy. Like, at all. He pauses way too long between words that are in the same sentence, for one. Even speeding up the playback doesn't help. He inflects his voice is ways that don't fit the situation. And worst of all, nearly every word he says has soft "h" sound at the end of it, like he was breathing too much into the mic. It was... a bit uncomfortable to listen to.

117 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 2016-01-28

For the superfan or new listener

if you already have the original of this then you really don't need this one. unlike other 10 year anniversary versions that have come out that were basically authors cuts. the additions here are at the end of the book. interesting not enough to justify the purchase of the same book twice.

103 people found this helpful

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  • Fade75, Iowa
  • 2016-01-26

Great first novel

I'm a big Sanderson fan especially the stormlight archive! I just wanted to say that sandersons writing has gone from great to amazing. The narrator on this was mediocre. Many other narrators add so much to the reading. This is just a flat and uninspiring rendition with few exceptions.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Scott Feuless
  • 2020-07-09

Tedious and contrived

I had already read the first three books of the Stormlight Archive, which is Sanderson's most recent series, so perhaps it was a foolish mistake on my part to go all the way back to his oldest, but I was looking for another long read to fill up my month while not beginning another series before the last Stormlight comes out. I have to say, it was painful. Some of the flaws in Stormlight are even more apparent here, with characters inexplicably withholding information from each other to the eventual, predictable disastrous result, as we often see in lesser works of entertainment. Sanderson also seems to bend over backwards to inject the hackneyed "teach a man to fish..." message into the story, somehow coming up with a situation where it was actually a _bad_ idea to give food to starving people. Yeah, right. I can't help but wonder how long it took him to come up with a way to force that into the story. Some of his usual strengths were on display as well, such as the very rich world that the story is set in and the intriguing situations that are so carefully crafted. But at the end of the day, this book is just slow. Sanderson loves his dialog too much and uses more of it than his skill with it justifies. The book is in three parts that decrease in length as they go, and only the third one is very interesting, though it does, finally, include some good surprises. I was left feeling like I'd just made a very large investment in learning about the world of Elantris just so that I could understand what ended up being very little story. I almost want a sequel just to give me some kind of pay off for doing the work of reading the first book. And that's a little messed up.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Stephanie
  • 2017-12-10

Great story but terrible narration

I enjoyed the book but really disliked the narrator. It was hard to tell some of the different voices apart from each other and his voices were so over dramatically done. It was a struggle to keep listening at times. Thankfully the story was great so I stuck with it. The story really took off about 1/3 of the way through the book.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Michael McDonnell
  • 2016-02-10

Fantastic & Superb!

I cannot possibly express the great writing of Brandon Sanderson. I am buying every book of his and devouring them as fast as I can. I am an old fantasy reader and loved Salvatore, Hickman & Weis, Brooks, etc. I cannot compare these with Sanderson. He is on a level above the others.

I read Rothfuss (which is also fantastic) and on a review of his book started reading Sanderson. I have literally not read any that have equaled Sanderson. I think he could write about mud and it would be totally enthralling! If you have not read any of his books or just not this one, you will enjoy this book thoroughly!

The narrator did a great job as well. At first I was not sure of the characters, but when I got into the story he was spot on! Great job Mr. Garrett!

33 people found this helpful

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  • Meredith King
  • 2020-09-23

Save yourself nearly 30 hours and don't listen

I don't even know where to start. I'm pretty lenient with fantasy books. I can usually find some redeeming quality about even the trashiest of novels. I even found things to enjoy about Twilight. Like the fact that it was a quick read, for instance.

Not so for Elantris. This monstrosity of literature has no redeeming features. It is overly long and the story plods at a snail's pace. The author takes five minutes to describe something that could be said in fifteen seconds. I think he may have written this with a thesaurus close at hand so that he could use every possible synonym for a single descriptor. The plot is barely adequate, but takes so long to move forward that the listener loses interest or forgets what was happening before there was an entire chapter about something utterly inane and not at all relevant. Plot devices are rife throughout. Hey, remember that tooooootally unimportant detail we super-casually dropped one time and never brought up again? Well here it is again to save the day right in the nick of time!

Then there are the characters. Oh god, the characters. Mary Sue and Gary Stu can take a break, because Raoden and Sarene are the new tropes in town. When they're good at something (which is almost everything) they're experts of their craft or take little to no time to master a new skill. When they're bad at something (which is next to nothing), they're soooooo bad it's laughable (because balance, right?). Character development is nearly nonexistent, save maybe for the villains, and even that may be a stretch.

Character descriptions are often mismatched with what the characters actually do and say. Sarene is continuously described as being unbelievably clever and intelligent, yet she regularly fails her perception checks and gets herself into sticky situations that could easily be avoided with just the most minimal use of common sense. Actions speak louder than words, Sanderson, and Sarene is a total dunce. She's also portrayed as a pillar of feminism, helping the poor oppressed women of the book to find a voice. Yet, we never actually hear anything from these women, and they only really feature as a brief plot device in the very last chapter. Sarene also frequently exploits female stereotypes as a "cunning" way to ....??? Talk to people??? I don't know. I think I blacked out for most of her scenes.

This book doesn't seem to know when to end, either. There is a final chapter, and then an epilogue, then a note on the mechanics of the magic system (which is pretty boring, tbh), then FORTY FIVE minutes of "deleted scenes" (dontcha think they might have been "deleted" for a reason?), THEN an author's post script, and AFTER that there is another little story blurb that adds nothing whatsoever and feels like a push to force interest in a sequel (please literary gods in heaven above, let there never be a sequel to this book). I have never in my life been so relieved to hear the words "Audible hopes you have enjoyed this presentation!" (I have not.)

The flaming cherry atop this garbage fire of an audiobook is the narrator. I have heard broken violins that are less grating to listen to. His intonation is awful and he only has about three different character voices- Good Guy, Bad Guy, and Any Woman. To be honest, even those three sound pretty much the same.

So why did I listen all the way through? Why not just walk away? I dunno. What's the opposite of commitment issues? It certainly wasn't a need to find out what happens next. More of a "sunk cost" thing. I kept hoping it would improve, but by the time I finally gave up on that happening I had already given more that 12 hours of my life to this book, and I wanted that time to mean something. I guess that's why I'm writing this review.

Please don't let my sacrifice go to waste. Heed this warning. Save yourself. It's too late for me.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Casey Reed
  • 2020-04-20

Chronic Pain

Strange that Elantris should become my favorite Sanderson book, but somehow it has. This is because of Brandon's portrayal of people living with chronic pain which isn't something I expect to see in the fantasy genre outside of a few individual characters, but here we have an entire city of the suffering and it's done so well. I should know, it's my existence.

4 people found this helpful