Earlier this week I posted my review of Brandon Sanderson's 'Arcanum Unbounded'. As you may have guessed I am a big fan of Mr. Sanderson's work and at the same time I received my copy of AU I also got a copy of his debut novel 'Elantris'.
I first read 'Elantris' back probably sometime round 2008. I heard that Brandon was finishing Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series after RJ's passing and wanted to see what he was like as an author so 'Elantris' was the book I chose. The story is one that pretty much stands fantasy tropes on their heads and I liked that. The idea of peasant turns out to be secret heir to the throne and hero in waiting has been much used, maybe overused at times so what BS did was to have the Prince become, more or less, a 'non-person'.
So, "Yay!" for something different but that wasn't, on it's own going to be enough. What about secondary characters, what about World building? Again, happy to be able to say both were competently handled. Brandon handles his characters well, keeping them interesting but fairly 'real'. As for world building - anyone who has read BS will know just how big his ideas are and I guess 'Elantris' was just the start of his plans for the Cosmere. The world feels solid and believable and stays in the memory long after the story is told. I was sold on Brandon Sanderson early on in 'Elantris' and still am.
Why did I want to go back and reread 'Elantris'? Well, it's long been a favourite of mine and this new copy is "published with 10,000 words of bonus content" (according to the back page blurb) so I was curious. Would the extra content improve the book? Would the story still hold up as well as I remember it? The first question I still don't know the answer to. The bonus content is a few deleted scenes added at the end of the story, which are interesting but do they improve the story? Probably not much but I enjoyed reading them and looking at the ideas of 'what could have been'
As for whether the story still holds up, well that I can answer with a resounding "YES!" I felt I picked up on things I may have missed first time around but whether this was because of the extra words or just because this is a story told by a first time author already on top of his game, well, I'm tempted to go with the latter.
In short then, an excellent debut with plenty of fresh ideas. A fine place to start your journey into the worlds of The Cosmere.
Just out of curiosity, if anyone feels like responding, what was your first experience of reading Brandon Sanderson and what brought you to his books?