Elantris

Elantris - Brandon Sanderson I found this book thanks to [a:Robert Jordan|6252|Robert Jordan|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1175475715p2/6252.jpg]'s "Wheel of Time" series ([a:Brandon Sanderson|38550|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1201547425p2/38550.jpg] was chosen to finish the last parts of the series after Jordan's death). [b:Elantris|10803709|Elantris|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328287484s/10803709.jpg|2908871] is Sanderson's debut novel.For a change, this book is not the first part of some series, but a separate, finished story. The events take place in an imaginary world, most of them around the city Elantris which used to be capital of Arelon. In Elantris, there used to live godlike people who were, among other characteristics, magicians (in this book, magic works through drawing runes). Ten years ago, there was an earthquake, and Elantris became cursed - the city started to fall apart and the inhabitants became basically living dead, also losing their magic. There was an uprising, people living around Elantris killed most of the elantrians and closed off the city. A merchant, Iadon, became the new ruler of the country, and he divided previously equal citizens into nobility and common people based on their richness. Both before and after the earthquake, anyone living near Elantris could become an elantrian, and whereas it used to be a blessing, it now became a terrible curse.The main characters of this book are Raoden (Iadon's son, the crown prince), Sarene (princess of the neighbouring country, coming to Arelon to marry Raoden for political reasons) and Hrathen (a monk-priest coming from another neighboring country whose mission is to convert the Arelon people to his religion). Right before Sarene's arrival, Raoden gets hit by the curse of Elantris, so he's thrown into Elantris, and the people (including Sarene) will be told that he died. According to the engagement contract, Raoden and Sarene are held to be married when one of them dies, so Sarene has to stay in Arelon as a widow, and she dives into the local political intrigues.I find the basic ideas of this book original and the writing very good. Although the conclusion of the story is predictable, the way there is complicated and includes several surprising turns. The story doesn't move very quickly, but it's still enthralling and exciting. The characters are human and understandable - even Hrathen, who at first seems completely evil. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes reading epic fantasy and isn't put off by scarceness of action.By the way, on [a:Brandon Sanderson|38550|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1201547425p2/38550.jpg]'s home page, you'll find lots of additional information on his books, including a commentary to every chapter of this book. It's worth reading!This review has also been published in Estonian on the blog Fantaasiajuttude muljed.