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Brandon Sanderson's ELANTRIS

#21 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 03:46 PM

pat5150 said:

I'm presently doing an email interview with Brandon Sanderson, and I've asked him about MISTBORN. Let's see if we'll learn a little more about this upcoming series. . .

Patrick
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Way cool.

Hey, I've got an Elantris question. Do I ever get to find out just WHERE exactly Seons have come from?
"When the last tree has fallen, and the rivers are poisoned, you cannot eat money, oh no." ~Aurora
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#22 User is offline   euol 

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 08:55 AM

Sorry to take so long to reply--I've been a little distracted lately. I've come to this thread a half dozen times, but I tend to be more of a lurker than a poster. So, lets do some replies here.

Jen’island: Don’t worry too much about me turning into Goodkind. I don’t like to speak ill of people in the business, but anyone who knows me will confirm that Goodkind is the one grand exception to this. I don’t know anyone in the genre (Harlan included) who has a reputation for being more insulting, worse to his fans, and hard to work with than Goodkind.

Quicktidal: Thanks for the compliments! I try my best, though I know I’ve still got a long way to go. It’s just my first book. Lets see where I am in twenty years.

Brys: Yeah, that might very well have something to do with it. A comment I’ve heard a lot is that “Readers like stand alones, but publishers like series.” Personally, I like them both. Still, with Barnes and Noble.com picking ELANTRIS as the best fantasy or sf book of 2005, a lot of foreign publishers are giving it another look. Maybe we’ll get UK yet!

Pat: Your email is next on my list of things to do! I wanted to reply here first, however.

Mithfanion: Yeah, that’s pulled right off the cover flap. The problem with those is that your editor generally writes them, as was the case here. Moshe is really excited about the book, and knows it well, but I hate the ‘movie trailer’ way that synopsis like those are written. Maybe that’s why they don’t have the authors do them.

Here’s how I’d explain MISTBORN:

It started with two concepts. The first is this idea of the ‘generic fantasy’ book, where a young farm boy goes on a quest, realizes his true power, blah blah, then kills the dark lord. I get a bit tired of this story, but it does intrigue me as the roots of the genre. In other words, I don’t want to read that story again--but I did certainly enjoy it when those who wrote it the best did so.

I’ve always wondered, however, what would happen if the dark lord won. So, the backstory to this world is that is what happened. Hero went to fight, but failed. (Actually, he took the dark power for himself and became a tyrant himself.) So, a thousand years have passed with pretty much the entire land being enslaved.

The second thought that made me want to write the book was along the lines of movies like Ocean’s Eleven or Sneakers. I like the whole story framework of the team of specialists that get together to pull of some incredibly complex task. I think this concept would fit very well with what I like to do in fantasy--which is design complicated, yet intuitive, magic systems that have a strong scientific component. Also, the thing those movies tend to lack is depth of characterization. There just isn’t time in the movie format to focus on characterization when you have to introduce so many people and pull off such a magnificent heist. However, in a book format, I could have some very deep and conflicted character, yet still have the same feel of a heist, with each character having their own specialize magical skill. It all just kind of fell together.

So, this is the story: A team of thieves who have lived their lives oppressed by the Final Empire decide to get together and take out the dark emperor--but plan to do it their way, by stealing away his treasury, then bribing his armies to turn against him. Of course, they don’t understand the true nature of the emperor’s past, or the thing he fought against. . . .

Edit--Hey, I forgot one! Quicktidal, the Seon question is one I intentionally left out. Someday, I would like to return to the world of ELANTRIS--and I knew I needed some world information to form the basis of a sequel. So, the next book would focus on the Seons and their past. (Also, on the dark Seons used by the Fjordell. They're only mentioned once in the book--near the end. Last chapter, if I remember right.)
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#23 User is offline   Brys 

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 10:24 PM

I've just started reading Elantris, and I'm quite pleased by it. I was expecting to be disappointed, as I've just finished one of the best books I've ever read (Flowers for Algernon), but so far it's been very good - especially the parts within the city. I was sceptical about the writing at the very beginning - there were a few stylistic "errors" early in the first chapter, but the writing's overall very good.
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#24 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 12:33 AM

Okay Brandon. I am finished reading Elantris. I got one thing to say. WOW!

I am HELLA impressed, considering this is your first book. The chapters get much shorter near the end and start to have that machine gun pace I love in Eriksons books. The characters are fantastic. Galladon is WAY cool, kolo?

The story, and it's twists and turns that unfold are not seen coming, and that made them SO much fun to read.

At about the halfway point was the "Grab you and don't let you put it down" point, and since then it was me reading at every moment I could to finish. :)

The last line of the book was PERFECT.

Kudos to you on this first book, which I am proud to have upon my shelf, and let me say that if Mistborn is even half as intriguing and exciting, we are in for a treat. Can't wait!
"When the last tree has fallen, and the rivers are poisoned, you cannot eat money, oh no." ~Aurora
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#25 Guest_Jay Tomio_*

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 11:09 AM

I just received it - will get to it next month.:)
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#26 User is offline   Brys 

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 12:45 PM

I'm about halfway through now, and it's definitely getting very good.
The writing's been a bit inconsistent, with some excellent writing in the descriptions of Elantris, but some poor dialogue and writing in some of the Sarene chapters - but overall it's been pretty good. The characters - especially Hrathen, Raoden, Dilaf and Galladon - are very well crafted and it actually feels like its a plot driven entirely by its characters. There are lots of interesting ideas (Elantrians, AonDor, Seons etc) but which all seem to fit in very well with the world - similar to Erikson's style of not wasting time on explanations - as you come to understand the details pretty quickly.

One thing that really stands out is the humour - it's excellent! It reminded me quite a bit of what you see in Midnight Tides with Tehol and Bugg, or Harlest - there is some really great dialogue between Raoden and Galladon.

I'd also disagree with Pat that its similar to David Eddings - it's far better written, far more imaginative and it has a much darker, more cynical tone - it may not be dark overall in the way that Martin or Erikson are, but it's hardly lighthearted either.
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#27 Guest_Jay Tomio_*

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 01:39 PM

Quote

I'd also disagree with Pat that its similar to David Eddings


If it's similar to David Eddings, or even 5,000 times better than Eddings, I will be holding a raffle where I will pay somebody $20 to take it off my hands and save me the trouble.
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#28 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 02:31 PM

Ainulindale said:

If it's similar to David Eddings, or even 5,000 times better than Eddings, I will be holding a raffle where I will pay somebody $20 to take it off my hands and save me the trouble.



It Is SO not like Eddings.

I really have no idea where people can get off saying that sort of thing. That's like lumping all high fantasy writers in with Tolkien, it's bloody absurd. Besides, Eddings is a hack, and Sanderson's first book here could run circles around anything Eddings could ever write, Belgariad be damned.

I agree with Brys that the humour, in the dialogue between Raoden and Galladon is top notch.
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#29 User is offline   Brys 

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 06:12 PM

Ainulindale said:

If it's similar to David Eddings, or even 5,000 times better than Eddings, I will be holding a raffle where I will pay somebody $20 to take it off my hands and save me the trouble.


It's about as similar to David Eddings as Steph Swainston's the Year of Our War is to Eddings - or perhaps slightly less. I don't know how Pat came up with that comparison. Strange that makes me think that Swainston's the Year of Our War seems like a pretty good comparison - not because they're actually very similar, but both seem to be doing the same thing - Swainston takes a traditional epic fantasy and adds in a number of original elements, Sanderson does the same (but in different ways - of course), and there's no great difference in quality of writing between them.
There is some shaky dialogue and writing in parts (it's a debut fantasy novel, so forgivable), but tends to be written pretty well, the same of which cannot be said for Eddings on any level.
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#30 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 07:21 PM

Brys said:

It's about as similar to David Eddings as Steph Swainston's the Year of Our War is to Eddings - or perhaps slightly less. I don't know how Pat came up with that comparison. Strange that makes me think that Swainston's the Year of Our War seems like a pretty good comparison - not because they're actually very similar, but both seem to be doing the same thing - Swainston takes a traditional epic fantasy and adds in a number of original elements, Sanderson does the same (but in different ways - of course), and there's no great difference in quality of writing between them.
There is some shaky dialogue and writing in parts (it's a debut fantasy novel, so forgivable), but tends to be written pretty well, the same of which cannot be said for Eddings on any level.


Absolutely agreed. :)
"When the last tree has fallen, and the rivers are poisoned, you cannot eat money, oh no." ~Aurora
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#31 Guest_Jay Tomio_*

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 07:28 PM

Well, a Swainton comparison is a hell of a lot more desirable than one to Eddings. If ever I compare a book to Eddings it is meant as an insult, or at the very least commenting on repetitive rubbish.
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#32 User is offline   pat5150 

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 11:25 PM

Hi guys!

ELANTRIS did not remind me of Eddings storywise. But I felt it was pretty similar in tone, with the dialogues and the humor. More or less the novel's "lighter" side.

One of my friend has just read it and he did not know that I had already reviewed it. The first thing he told me was that it felt a lot like a Eddings book.

But we all approach novels and series from different perspectives, so it's a very subjective thing. And to me it's not such an insult to be compared to David Eddings. He did some good things. Too bad it quickly degenerated into frivolous writings, though. . .

The important thing is that people are enjoying ELANTRIS! Brandon Sanderson is definitely one of the bright new voices in the fantasy genre, and we never have too many of those!:)

Patrick
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#33 User is offline   Brys 

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 10:27 AM

I felt that the tone was closer to the Letherii parts of Midnight Tides than anything by Eddings - its just that I, like Jay and a few others, see a comparison to Eddings as an insult. Ok, I admit that at his very worst, early in the novel, some of the dialogue does approach an Eddings style (but very occasionally, so does Martin) - but there were enough parts where he redeemed himself to make these rare moments insignificant.

I've just finished the novel, and the last half was brilliant. It read to me more like a Martin novel, but with a happier ending (though the last book, the Spirit of Elantris, was one of the darkest, most powerful end sequences to a novel I've ever read) - and I was surprised at how well it worked. I was actually willing to accept the "happy" ending. I usually hate them, but here it worked very well.

The characters were excellent - Hrathen, Dilaf, Raoden, Galladon, Karata, Roial, Kiin, Shaor - ambiguous and realistic for the most part. The only character that I thought wasn't properly developed was Sarene - she played a major role in the novel, but ultimately seemed very simplistic compared to the others. Sanderson described her as very intelligent, but frequently she couldn't work out some very basic things. I don't know whether this was an attempt to show her as arrogant (which she certainly seemed to be to me) but I don't think it worked that well. But on a positive note, Hrathen's political schemings made me think I was reading a Martin novel - Hrathen's now reached the list of one of my favourite fantasy characters - and at the beginning of the novel, I didn't like his chapters much.

Ironic, for all Sanderson is saying that he was trying to create a lighter tone fantasy, frustrated seeing failed attempts at copying Martin, he does a much better job of writing an ASOIAF type novel than most others.

(Warning: Don't get me wrong, this is an excellent novel, but the comparisons to ASOIAF are more stylistic than in quality - I think it is perhaps better than A Feast for Crows, but it isn't close to a Storm of Swords - don't go in with high expectations! I still think Swainston's the Year of Our War is the best comparison - the same types of imagination are present, the same basic epic setting with a few key differences, and about the same writing quality.)
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#34 Guest_Harold Bloom_*

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 07:24 PM

I would consider it a great affront to be compared to Steph Swainston.

A comparison to Patricia McPhillip, Ursula Le Quin, or Lian Hearn would be more favorable.
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#35 User is offline   Brys 

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 10:33 PM

I don't really think I could say Sanderson is close to McKillip or Le Guin, though in terms of style, so it would seem an inappropriate comparison.
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#36 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 11:34 PM

Harold Bloom said:

I would consider it a great affront to be compared to Steph Swainston.

A comparison to Patricia McPhillip, Ursula Le Quin, or Lian Hearn would be more favorable.


The problem with this is that Guin is not a good writer. Earthsea is awful.

sorry.

Steph Swainston I can opine on because I have yet to read The Year of Our War.

BUt it is on my list.
"When the last tree has fallen, and the rivers are poisoned, you cannot eat money, oh no." ~Aurora
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#37 Guest_Jay Tomio_*

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 12:24 PM

Quote

A comparison to Patricia McPhillip, Ursula Le Quin, or Lian Hearn would be more favorable.


or even Le Guin or Mckillip.:)

Quote

The problem with this is that Guin is not a good writer.


Well, besides perhaps being the most important female writer in the genre's history, and having written books that are part SF canon, like The Dispossessed, and especially The Left Hand of Darkness , along with being one of the exceptional short story writers in fantastic fiction, and being a SF grandmaster, and annoited a living legend by the Library of Congress, I would agree with you.
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#38 User is offline   Mithfanion 

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 08:36 PM

Thanks for elaborating about Mistborn Brandon, it makes it sound a lot more interesting. Great cover as well, I like it as much as Elantris even though it is totally different.
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#39 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:56 PM

Rise dead thread... RiiIIIIIIIIiiiiseeeee and be risen!


Getting on with commenting on a few books i read before TCG came along, i (finally) got around to reading ELANTRIS.


This wasn't bad at all. Considering the book is a slow build to a big finish with very little 'action' for the most part, it's fairly impressive how well it holds the reader's attention.

Credit where due, Brandon created some interesting if archetypical characters, and one nicely original character with Hrathen. His characters have clear voices and are very readable even when somewhat predictable.

I very much enjoyed the setting, both the city and the broader world. The details were a little vague at times... it was unclear whether Harthen's people dominated the entire rest of their world or just most of the nearest chunks... but Elantris itself and the surrroundings, and how things evolved after the city fell, were intriguing.

Plot wise, i wasn't blown away... it's painfully obvious in the first few pages that the earthquake led to the problem with the magic which sort of detracts from several hundred pages of the characters trying to figure it out... and the politicking, especially the Princess', was fun but not strikingly original. I did like Hrathen's plotline of trying to convert the people in order to save them from massacre.

Brandon also does a solid action scene which, when they happen, are a lot of fun to read. The big finish at the end was great.

All in all i enjoyed this. Sanderson has come a long way since this book but that didn't detract from what was an entertaining and fairly fast read.

Worth a look if you haven't already.
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#40 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:18 PM

View PostAbyss, on 14 March 2011 - 06:56 PM, said:

Rise dead thread... RiiIIIIIIIIiiiiseeeee and be risen!


Getting on with commenting on a few books i read before TCG came along, i (finally) got around to reading ELANTRIS.


This wasn't bad at all. Considering the book is a slow build to a big finish with very little 'action' for the most part, it's fairly impressive how well it holds the reader's attention.

Credit where due, Brandon created some interesting if archetypical characters, and one nicely original character with Hrathen. His characters have clear voices and are very readable even when somewhat predictable.

I very much enjoyed the setting, both the city and the broader world. The details were a little vague at times... it was unclear whether Harthen's people dominated the entire rest of their world or just most of the nearest chunks... but Elantris itself and the surrroundings, and how things evolved after the city fell, were intriguing.

Plot wise, i wasn't blown away... it's painfully obvious in the first few pages that the earthquake led to the problem with the magic which sort of detracts from several hundred pages of the characters trying to figure it out... and the politicking, especially the Princess', was fun but not strikingly original. I did like Hrathen's plotline of trying to convert the people in order to save them from massacre.

Brandon also does a solid action scene which, when they happen, are a lot of fun to read. The big finish at the end was great.

All in all i enjoyed this. Sanderson has come a long way since this book but that didn't detract from what was an entertaining and fairly fast read.

Worth a look if you haven't already.


Hrathen starts out as the villain of the piece really and ends up being rather heroic in his own way and I didn't see the turn coming, so he was a nice character and I think I came away with him as a fave too.
"When the last tree has fallen, and the rivers are poisoned, you cannot eat money, oh no." ~Aurora
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