Winters in North India can be pretty harsh. Last winter was my first winter in such a chilly place after over a decade of living in places with no winters (or any kind of temperature fluctuations). So, last winter was pretty harsh for me. Add unexpected rains which lasted weeks at a time, made me way too miserable.
So on the rare sunny days I would just go out of my apartment and love to walk in nice bright toasty sunshine. That was also the time when Audible was offering three months free to new subscribers. I got a bunch of Audio books and they became my companion on my walks.
The first book I finished in this format was Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. This was my very first Brandon Sanderson’s books. I had just heard about him from his lectures available on You Tube. In his lectures he talked a lot about fantasy writing and many times referred to his own books. That got me interested. I found that Elantris was the first book he published.
I like to start from the beginning and I think in this case I chose well. Although, I know many people say that his later works are way better than his first one. And I agree that his Mistborn Series is pretty great. And I am currently reading Storm light Archive, and it is definitely better than the Mistborn series.
But for me, Elantris will always be a favorite.
When I read a book, the words on the pages create a very vivid image in my mind. Reading splendid books is often a better experience than watching a movie. So, I was a little skeptic while trying an audiobook while walking. It worried me that I might not get an as immersive experience as reading a book. I love how wrong I was.
I got my Elantris audiobook from Audible. Jack Garrett narrated it. I am not sure if there are other versions of Elantris audiobook available with different narrators. But Jack Garrett’s voice enhanced my experience.
Brandon Sanderson is a master of creating such detailed worlds that the books will take you to a different place. Elantris let me experience one such world in his vast Cosmere universe. (he bases all his books on different places in Cosmere).
Elantris hooked me to Brandon Sanderson’s books. Although I must give a disclaimer here that his books are not for everyone. They can be over 1200 pages with so many characters and places with strange names that it’s a struggle to keep up. Maybe that’s why his books are a little slow at the beginning and while that helps us get familiar with the unknown world, first 400 or so pages can be a little slow and boring. But trust me, those who can keep up and keep reading, remaining of the book will hook you in and keeping the book aside will become impossible.
After reading his 8 books so far, I can confidently say that his endings are better that the beginnings. Those who reach the end of his grand saga are rewarded with THE MOST satisfying ending one can imagine.
Coming to Audiobooks in general, I just have to say that I am hooked. This doesn’t mean that I won’t be reading physical books. Even my addiction to ebooks couldn’t do that. But I would listen to audiobooks when I cannot actually hold a book or a reading device like when I am walking or standing in long queues or even when I am in a moving vehicle (reading in moving vehicles always makes me dizzy). So this is a lovely addition to my already existing reading rituals.
Now lets come to the story itself. The book is about Elantris – a city of Gods and magic. But suddenly something caused its fall. Magic became a curse. A mysterious disease ended the Gods themselves. And all this happened long before the book starts.
I am not going to summaries the story but rather what it made me feel. When the slimy streets of Elantris are mentioned, it made me feel dirt crawling up my feet. I could visualize the huge stone walls surrounding the city of Elantris. I could see the bright shiny marble when the dirt was cleaned.
The characters had a similar effect. I could feel the pain when they got hurt and I would smirk with them at some witty remark.
I heard this story during my walks on bright sunny winter days. My mind has associated the same cold but bright days with its story.
Words have a special kind of power and some authors are masters of using this power. Below are some of my favorite lines from the book. Since I do not want to give any spoilers, I wont say much about the context where these lines take place in the book. But these lines are still beautiful and impact full no matter what.
Joy was more than just an absence of discomfort.Brandon Sanderson, Elantris
Pain loses its power when other things become more important.Brandon Sanderson, Elantris
Is human nature to believe that other places and other times are better than the here and now.Brandon Sanderson, Elantris