Elantris was not my favorite by far. Great idea for a story but it needed a lot more work to flow smoothly and be nicer to the reader.
Three main characters so three points of view and I liked the idea of the chapters cycling through the three characters instead of one just being chosen at random. However the only character I actually cared about was Raoden.
Raoden prince of Arelon has it all. The kingdom, a wife from Teod to unite the nations and the loyalty of several nobles. All that is lost for him when the Shoad strikes him with the mysterious illness connected to Elantris in some way. Considered dead by his people he is thrown into Elantris and must scrap together a new life for himself while dealing with all the changes the Shoad has done to his body. With a new life comes a new name and Raoden becomes the mysterious Spirit a man who is determined not to hide behind a title. I just love Raoden, having it all to having nothing would be hard for anyone to deal with and while Raoden did struggle with it he also accepted it and worked at attempting to understand what had happened to him and the other Elantrians. His character development was awesome and I constantly wished the chapters on him were longer.
It seemed like Princess Sarene of Teod was suppose to be a favorite but I just could not connect to her in any way and ended up finding her more annoying then anything. The over intelligent Sarene was constantly playing in political games and working at maneuvering things to her liking. Sarene lived and breathed politics and constantly had her way when it came to what she wanted. Ignoring customs, traditions, and even religion Sarene worked at strengthening Arelon so that Teod would have a stronger ally if war should come. I suppose Sarene grew in some ways but since I did not enjoy her too much I am hard pressed to say in what ways she really grew. Her relationship with Raoden was interesting since she was widow from the start of arriving in Arelon and never having known Raoden she did not really wish to mourn him like the nation expected her to.
Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest, was just a mysterious character throughout the whole book and as such I never really got a feel for who he was until the very end. Totally devoted to converting all the people of Arelon and Teod to worshiping Jaddeth. In order to avoid a large scale massacre Hrathen will go about any means possible to see the people are converted. Half the time I had no clue what Hrathen was up to since it was very religious intense in his chapters. I could not keep track of all the religious words that were introduced and this made it very hard to follow along in parts. Since Hrathen was mysterious it was hard to get a feel fro him and I really cannot say much about his growth throughout the story since I did not understand him well.
The writing was very Brandon Sanderson but clearly rough around the edges which I expected for a debut novel. I rarely say this but having this broken down into a trilogy might have been better since so much was going on overall. I believe a glossary of terms and a brief profile of characters would have made this a much more enjoyable read for me.