Author Topic: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day  (Read 2616 times)

darxbane

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Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« on: May 16, 2008, 01:56:59 PM »
And I must say I enjoyed it a lot.  Very likeable characters, some good action sequences, and the ending leaves room for EUOL to take the story anywhere he wants, should he decide to do so.  It was also nice to see how much more clever EUOL got with his plot twists between this book and Mistborn.  Most of this has probably been said already, but I figured I'd refresh some conversation about this story.  It almost feels like a prequal to me, like the Hobbit or the Wizard's Nephew (although it is much better than the Wizard's Nephew).  One thing is for sure, that hate mail EUOL got was dead wrong. 

Finally, my favorite character in the book is Serene.  I have always loved strong women in stories (and in real life, to be honest).   To that end, who did everyone else really like in this story?  My top three besides Serene would be Hrathen, Raoden, and Duladen.  I need a break from the Mistborn discussions, anyway.
I wanted to write something profound here, but I couldn't think of anything.

firstRainbowRose

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2008, 04:51:01 PM »
You should really check out "Hope of Elantris".  It's really great, and the main character is way awesome.  (Plus, you get to see life after the book, which I really liked.)
"The custom of royalty in referring to oneself is to naturally employ the royal 'we'.  We are very happy, we are very sad, we are bored and suffer from ennui.  For a royal prince there's no such word as 'me', It's always 'we'.  So rightfully I should be two or three, don't you agree?"

apbadd

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2008, 05:47:43 PM »
What is "Hope of Elantris?"

Phaz

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2008, 06:29:10 PM »
What is "Hope of Elantris?"

Amazon Link

It is a digital short.  Basically, a small (25 pages) eBook of Elantris. From the description:

Quote
The Hope of Elantris is an attempt to fill in one of the holes in the sequence of events in ELANTRIS. When New Elantris is attacked near the end of the book, all of the primary viewpoint characters are absent, and the reader can only hear of the assault via third-hand references. This short story shows what actually happened from the view of one who was there. It's meant to be read along with the book, a bonus scene, if you will, and will make a nice addition to the novel for anyone who wants to read a little bit more from the world of Opelon.

It's only $0.49 and worth every penny.

Brandon's annotations and extra content for this book is pretty good as well.  I really like the deleted scenes.  They give you a little idea of how the book changed between versions.

As for my favorite character, I really liked reading the Raoden chapters, but I would have to say Hrathen was my favorite.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 06:31:34 PM by Phaz »

darxbane

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2008, 06:54:38 PM »
I liked Hrathen as well.  He was probably my second favorite.  My favorite scene with Hrathen is when Eondel has the sword to his neck, and he ducks back, kicks it out of Eondel's hand, catches it and then hands it back to him, all in one continuous motion.  That was quite badass.

I read Hope of Elantris on my lunch break.  It was good.  I forgot all about the annotations, so that's where I am headed next.
I wanted to write something profound here, but I couldn't think of anything.

AvalonDreamer

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2008, 08:17:39 PM »
You know, now that you've mentioned it, Elantris really does feel like a prequel to something bigger and better... Though that's probably just what I've come to expect from EUOL's writing, now that Mistborn is reaching an epic scale. Oddly, I'd have to say that my favorite scene is the one where Kae gets attacked - it fills me with the same rush that the defense of Emond's Field did in WoT (book 7 or 8, i think). My personal favorite character is Hrathen, because of all the character growth he goes through, and the fact that he kicks so much tail.
My friends held an intervention, to stop my ridiculous plans to take over the world (Jake ended up in the hospital). I convinced them to let me take over other worlds though.

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bhthomas

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2008, 12:28:40 AM »
This was the first book i read of Brandon's and I couldn't put it down.I read it in about 8 hours. He really got me hooked with how he transitioned the scenes.I would be real excited about how one POV was going and then it would change to someone else so i would just try to speed read through that persons POV but then i would get caught up in that and then it would change again. He really knows how to hook a reader. I hope he does do a couple of sequels but it probably wont be for a while.

Vintage

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2008, 02:01:44 AM »
Same thing for me. Elantris was my introduction to Brandon Sanderson. I had bought the book over the internet along with MB1. My ! The following week I was at the book store to buy MB2.

I could barely lift my head from the book and for a whole week, I woke up each morning having to pick up the book that had fell from my sleepy hands sometime over night. I was so hooked... so now, having to wait is kind of hard.

To go back to Elantris, I guess I would favor Raoden and his infaillible (or nearly) good spirit. This is a very nice attitude on anybody who goes through a trial of some sort. Keep smiling, evil shall pass soon or later. Second would be Serene, fragile and yet she goes straight to her goal. I was so sad when she said to Raoden (when she did not know who he was) that she was to marry him strictly for political reason. But he overcomed this as everything else. Both had the same sense of duty, which is a great thing to share in a couple. Somewhere, there must be  a real Raoden and a real Serene living a very full life. As for a third... I must say that I cannot like Hrathen. Not that he was not a great character, but he wasn't really clear... as some would say, he was not always walking in the Light. I don't like shadow particularly. I liked Serene's uncle though. I forget the name... old age lol. For the same reason than Raoden, actually. Eventhough a great injustice had been done to him, he found a new life. He did not let himself depressed by the situation, but built itself a good life, a nice family. He was a loving man, and also a man of duty... once he had lost his kingdom.

But like them or not, all characters are deeply... hum... searching my word, I guess I'm tired. Well you have to like them even those that are definitely not lovable too much like that snake of Monk...

The action keeps you on your toes, too. But at the end, I really did not have enough. If Brandon ever decides to dig into one of those so many threads he left there, I will not cry... but I will never think that this book had no ending. It did stop where it promised and announced to stop, once Elantris was fully restored, and that was also perfect.

darxbane

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2008, 06:34:44 PM »
My only issue with Raoden is that he is hard to relate to because he is so perfect.  Even though you are pretty sure that certain characters will succeed, you still get that sense of suspense when it appears they will die or fail.  I did not have that feeling here.  I was absolutely sure that Raoden would restore Elantris, he is a superhero.  As sad as it is to say, I would have been much more surprised if he failed, and Galladon or Karata had to finish the job for him.  He could then have moved on to save Serene in Teod, but a chink in his armor could have humanized him a little bit.

Hrathen, on the other hand, is the epitome of someone who has allowed his faith to justify his actions and the actions of his people, then redeems himself by questioning those actions and choosing to do what is right.  I like the irony that is displayed with him.  His purpose is to convert the nonbelievers so they may be redeemed, when in fact he was the one that needed redemption most of all.
I wanted to write something profound here, but I couldn't think of anything.

SarahG

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2008, 09:06:14 PM »
I'm with Vintage, Raoden is my favorite character BECAUSE he's so perfect.  I've always liked characters in books who are actually good, and I get annoyed with the ones who choose the wrong path half the time just to keep the readers guessing.  I know books would be boring if ALL the characters made perfect choices and succeeded in all their endeavors, but I still like the characters that do the right thing better than the ones who don't.  On a related note, I always prefer happy endings to depressing ones - stories are just more fun if the good guys win in the end.  Maybe that makes me a naive reader, but I don't care.
He ate my horse.

AvalonDreamer

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2008, 02:13:50 AM »
It's annoying though! A perfect character is boring, and its almost as bad as pulling a deus ex machina as far as setting up a conflict goes. Raoden is a perfect pugilist, a wonderful swordsman, an immaculate leader, and his diplomacy goes unchallenged - amongst other things. He's barely even phased by becoming an Elantrian, and he just goes on tanking and being perfect. What would have been awesome - Raoden fails, but gets away with Sarene as Wyrn's army takes over the whole country.

Hrathen's internal conflict is amazing, and runs in perfect melody with his external conflict with the peoples of Kae AND Sarene herself. He steadily changes over the course of the book, but it's really hard to see until he finally snaps; then it's dead obvious. The absolute master-dom of Hrathen, though, comes from his deep deep internal scarring and how that plays a role the whole story - I think EUOL lets him be a bit powerful with his blood-and-bone things, but I guess that was necessary.
My friends held an intervention, to stop my ridiculous plans to take over the world (Jake ended up in the hospital). I convinced them to let me take over other worlds though.

*Evil grin*

RIP: James Oliver Rigney, Jr.

Vintage

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2008, 03:07:21 AM »
I agree with Sarah on one thing though. A happy ending is always less depressing. We have our whole lives to take care of that side.

We cannot ask of Elantris to have the deepness of books much thicker, or stories that last book after books. It takes words to develop a character. It takes also words to deepen a plot. Hrathen might be having some internal tears, but let's face it. You cannot compare it to Fitz or Soldier's son internal combat of values. But then, we see Fitz in 6 books, and Soldier's son in 3. Elantris is a nice little story, something like a bed story. Hrathen is the big bad wolf, Raoden the poor prince in trouble, and Serene the princess that flies to save him... Well, the other bad guy is the cyclop somewhere : a single eye point of view.

For the number of pages, it is a good story just like it is right now.

AvalonDreamer

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2008, 09:01:51 AM »
But that's the problem, Raoden was never really in trouble. He masterfully eased through every challenge that was thrown at him - and while that's great for a certain type of character, as a main protag that early, it was downright broken.
My friends held an intervention, to stop my ridiculous plans to take over the world (Jake ended up in the hospital). I convinced them to let me take over other worlds though.

*Evil grin*

RIP: James Oliver Rigney, Jr.

SarahG

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2008, 04:21:56 PM »
Raoden was never really in trouble.

You don't consider it trouble to go from being a very popular prince to a hideous bruised Elantrian locked in a decaying city populated by madmen?  Or to cope with constant and increasing hunger and pain?  Or to convince hordes of crazy people to regain their sanity?  Or to see all the amazing feats you've accomplished unwittingly undone by your wife?  Or to be given useless trash in place of the materials you need to build a civilization?  Or to lose your general to madness when he's following your orders?  Or to have your closest friends not recognize you?  Or to have your people attacked by monstrous beings trained to kill?  Or to know that your kingdom is being undermined by a foreign power, and be unable to do anything about it because you're locked away?

Perhaps what you mean is that Raoden triumphs over each of these problems.  But that doesn't diminish the problems, or make them less real; rather, it makes him more admirable.  In real life, would you say to a cancer survivor that his cancer was never really a problem because as it turns out, he overcame it?  Or to the scientist who discovered a vaccine for smallpox, that smallpox was never really a problem?  Or to an Olympic gold-medal gymnast that her accomplishment is meaningless, because she won?  I don't know about you, but I admire these people, I don't find them or their achievements boring.

Similarly, I don't think that a character, even a main protagonist, needs to fail occasionally to keep my interest.  I like watching Raoden win, watching the creativity and inner strength with which he surmounts each obstacle and recovers from each setback.  After all, he doesn't win all at once - it takes him the whole book, and a whole lot of study and practice, to figure out the AonDor problem - and even then, his first success is only partial.  It also takes him most of the book to coalesce the other Elantrians around his cause - and again, there is the setback with Sarene's Widow's Trial.  Just because he wins in the end doesn't mean there is no struggle (and apparent failure) in between, to get there.

So I'm going to stubbornly hold to my opinion that Raoden is my favorite character, even though I'm aware that this isn't considered a sophisticated opinion in literary circles.  You're not supposed to like the good guy best, the bad guy is supposed to be your favorite.  In order for you to like the good guy, he has to do something bad or stupid.  Well, I don't think that's true in real life, so I don't see why it should be true in a story.
He ate my horse.

Vintage

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Re: Finished Reading Elantris the Other Day
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2008, 05:13:05 PM »
What can I add ?  ;D

Very useful post lol