A review by jason_as
Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson

2.0

Great first page: "Elantris, where he could live in bliss, rule in wisdom, and be worshipped for eternity. Eternity ended ten years ago." How evocative...I mean, eternity ended?

Then a terrifically bleak beginning from the first chapter: “This creature had given up hope long ago; he probably begged out of habit rather than expectation…Eventually, one of the newcomers—obviously annoyed—brought a makeshift club down on the boy’s head with a crunch that resounded through the small alley.”

Surprisingly weak female lead, given what Sanderson comes up with later. Mary Sue-rene is just so awesome and cool that the trust it took years for the beloved crown prince to gain from power figures takes just weeks for her. She was single for so long because she’s just so smart, and any man is too intimidated to marry someone smarter than her. She helps free the women of her new land from male oppression by using her brilliance to train them in fencing. She’s presumptuous, arrogant, impulsive, insulting, vain, spoiled, condescending, judgmental, and controlling. But at least she has a degree of self-awareness, like when she recalls “the time she had spent gloating over her sly interpretations.”

Or, a sample passage: “They were frightened near to death, but they would come…Before them like a general before his troops…even the queen herself looked to Sarene for advice now…they thought her above their simple discussions. By serving as a model for what they wanted to become” – But I still want to tell her to please get over yourself goodbye goodbye it must be hard to be you yeah living in your lie…Hooray for one-hit wonder Eden’s Crush which brought Nicole Scherzinger to the public eye.

Still, it’s when she makes a new tentative semi-friendship that I start to really hate her, especially after a fight breaks out and she’s quick to point fingers. I mean I get dramatic irony; oh she doesn’t know what we know. But still, her personality sucks and I feel no need to cut her any slack for being a life ruiner who ruins people’s lives, and not only does she not fault herself but she congratulates herself for being so noble and helpful both before and after her little stunt. Also a lot of her chapters involve talk talk talk among various characters I don’t care about, not accomplishing anything.

Oh, here’s a most Sue-ish quote from a friend of hers, telling her how awesome she is when she’s bemoaning her unattractiveness: “Our own opinions of ourselves are the most unrealistic…you are beautiful…You are a prize—a prize even greater than that throne.”

I stopped writing this review so I could read another Sanderson book, so I guess most of it will be ranting about her suckiness. The Villain POV is alright, though he totally comes from a Dan Brown book. The Male Hero is super awesome and maybe my favorite Sanderson male character because he deals with a ton of stuff and pulls it off well despite terrible obstacles and doubt; if the book were culled down to primarily his sections, it would be way better The magic system surprisingly is nothing special, but the plot within Elantris is still nice.