Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris
Elantris

Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson, is a stand alone fantasy novel. I have to admit, I am glad to be able to read just one book, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of great epic fantasy literature (can we say David Eddings?!) but sometimes it is nice to be able to finish the story in one novel.  Elantris is the first of Brandon Sanderson novels that I have read and I really enjoyed it.  The world Sanderson created is believable in that he has carefully thoughtout rules that everyone has to follow, especially regarding magic and the laws of physics.

Sanderson also plays with concepts that I haven’t seen authors do recently.  Elantris is a city where individuals who were “gifted” with a special power went to live and then something went wrong and these gifted people, who were treated like gods by the general population, were suddenly almost walking corpses. Sanderson’s take on how the general poplulation reacts in such a situation is right on, in my opinion.  How the fallen react to this change in status, how they are now treated, and how do they deal with how they are treated makes this book a fabulous read.

I enjoy Sanderson’s style of following several main characters to get the full story of what is going on in the city.  His ability to make his protagonist sympathetic is wonderful and makes me, as a reader, much more understanding of how events unfolded based on this characters’ motivations and thoughts.

I highly recommend this novel, and his other books, to any fantasy reader.  Of course, his popularity has grown significantly with the announcement of Sanderson being chosen to finish the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series but, obviously, Robert Jordan’s widow would not have chosen Sanderson if his writings were up to Jordan’s standard.

A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland

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I thought I would start with one of my favorite books A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland.  I usually don’t enjoy time travel books because I have a hard time believing they are real. (Yes, I know, I read romance novels but I struggle nonetheless.) One thing I really like about Kurland’s books is the fact that she doesn’t glamorize the time period. Modern Elizabeth finds herself transported back to medieval Scotland. Elizabeth is immediately put into a dungeon pit full of bugs and a woman is burned as a witch at one point in time because she displeased her laird.

Kurland’s wonderful description of the time period allows one to see what it must have been like, the good and the bad.  This book is the first in series that is great and clean (except for Stardust of Yesterday and This is All I Ask is fairly descriptive of physical abuse main character experiences).  Elizabeth is also almost raped in one scene and they describe lifting her skirt but nothing beyond that. There is some brief nudity (James sleeps in the nude) but it is done more in the keeping of the time period than anything else. There are some references to the couple having sex but no description of the act itself and they only have it after they are married.

I highly recommend all of Kurland’s books and eagerly await her next book.