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Adult, Review / November 29, 2016
Elantris by Brandon SandersonElantris
Publisher: Tor
Date: May, 2006
638 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
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Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon's new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping -- based on their correspondence -- to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

Brandon Sanderson’s cosmere universe is large and can seem intimidating from the outside. Many recommend  Mistborn as a good starting place. Elantris  gets my vote. Some practical reasons for this: Elantris is a stand-alone. Mistborn is a trilogy with each book on the long side. And while his Stormlight Archives are my absolute favorite, the learning curve on the world building is pretty high.

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By: Diane
Features / July 26, 2016

Fantasy has long been my favorite genre, and while I have dozens of favorite individual books, I wanted to give some focus to overall favorite authors in the genre. People who I have read and loved more than one book/series and from whom I am always wanting the next story! 🙂

  1. Juliet Marillier: My absolute favorite out of all Marillier’s work is the multi-generational Sevenwaters Trilogy, which kicks off with Daughter of the Forest, a beautiful retelling of the fairy tale The Wild Swans. The second book in the trilogy is Son of the Shadows and features one of my all time top book boyfriends (BRAN)! The entire series is gorgeous. She also has a beautiful beauty and the beast style retelling titled Heart’s Blood that I adore. Her current series is Blackthorn & Grim, featuring the journey of two prison mates, the healer woman Blackthorn and her devoted shadow Grim, after their escape. These all read like historical novels with magic/mysticism woven in.
  2. Patricia McKillip: I am a huge fan of books that feature faeries. To me, no one does this better than McKillip. Frequently the fay are written as little more than what humans would be like if they were immortal, deadly beautiful, and possessed magic powers. It doesn’t seem to be easy for an author to capture that necessary alien quality they should have. At the end of the day I feel these beings should be incomprehensible and totally other. Mckillip gets this. Part of her success comes in that she does not over-expose them, her books are not set in fay worlds. When they influence the story it is always with that distinct and chilling feeling of how remote and unknowable they and their world are. The Book of Atrix Wolfe and Winter Rose are two favorites.
  3. Brandon Sanderson: Prolific and consistently good. I feel The Stormlight Archives are the best even if it is not necessarily the best series for a newbie to his universe. There are plenty of worthy starting places though, his Mistborn series being the most famous.
  4. Scott Lynch: Okay so he is still in the midst of his first series, so I can’t point towards a diverse body of work yet. But seeing as The Lies of Locke Lamora is one of my absolute favorite books of all time and I continue to devour The Gentlemen Bastards series, I could not leave it out.  Stories set around thievery and heists are one of my favorite themes as they inevitably feature the intelligent and morally grey characters I adore (warriors often get away with being thick as mud) and there is no character I love more than Locke.
  5. Laini Taylor: I loved both her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and the lesser known Dreamdark series (which I desperately hope she will one day finish!). She maintains a wonderful balance between consistent characters that are easy to invest in, unique world building, and a heart centered plot. In all her works there is something so unique in the manner which she weaves all three.

Honorable mention for fantasy stories by other authors I have loved over the past year: Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and The Winners Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski.

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By: Diane
Features, Top Ten Tuesday / December 31, 2015

What a great year it’s been for reading! I didn’t quite finish my ambitious challenge of 75 books this year, but this is due to me taking a very long time to read one of the series on this list (well worth the time spent). To see the rest of the books I read this year, see my Goodreads Challenge.

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By: Daphne
Challenge, Readalong / August 3, 2015

Mistborn 2

The time has come for The Great Mistborn Readalong! I’ve never read Brandon Sanderson’s arguably most popular series, Mistborn, so when Gollancz organised a readalong this summer, I thought it was the perfect chance to do so!

The readalong will kick off on today, 3rd August and ends on my birthday, 4 October. The plan is to read one book every 3 weeks:

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By: Daphne
Giveaway, Promo / January 8, 2015

Today is the release date for the much anticipated sequel to Steelheart, FIREFIGHT by Brandon Sanderson. To celebrate, the lovely people at Gollancz are hosting a giveaway and a chance to win a copy of both books in the Reckoners series.

Firefight

firefight

Release: 8 January 2015
Publisher: Gollancz

From the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller author of STEELHEART, Brandon Sanderson, comes the second anticipated book in the Reckoners series, FIREFIGHT.

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By: Daphne