Usually whenever a tenth or twentieth or, God forbid, thirtieth anniversary of a book I like comes out, I suddenly feel incredibly old. I will remember the good old days (hah!) when I first read it and realise I was, say, 15 at the time, and instantly I'm ancient. Interestingly enough the revised definite tenth anniversary edition of Elantris (to give it its full title) had quite the opposite effect on me. I couldn't believe only ten years have passed since it was published! I had a good thought about it and I think this is due to Brandon Sanderson being a writing powerhouse that he is - it's almost too incredible to comprehend that only ten years ago, he was a nobody, a budding author, especially when you put it against his staggering body of work. Yet, I do remember when Elantris originally came out. Regrettably, at the time I've completely ignored it even though I received a review copy. Similar to now, at the time I was reviewing books and similar to now, I was conscious of the fact that reading every fantasy debut that comes out would kill me so I was very picky. Eventually I've only crossed path with Elantris after falling in love with Mistborn and I was stunned how good it was and by the sheer force of Sanderson's imagination. It was unlike anything I've read before and since, and I will never forget the tale of Spirit and Sarene set in gormenghastian Elantris. This tenth anniversary was therefore a welcome excuse to read through it again and whether you read it or not I advise you to do the same. It's still an incredible book to (re)discover.
So, what's in this definite edition? When you look at the body of the novel, not a lot really unless you are really pedantic. There are couple of tweaks that make the story more consistent (for example, one of the houses is moved from one side of the city to another), and there is a plethora of bonus contest (some 10000 words). Out of these the most interesting for me were the essays on the genesis of the novel as well as a quite interesting deleted scene.
It is difficult to answer whether you should buy this new version of Elantris if you already have it but I would rather say yes than no, if only to gift your old copy to someone else. For a start, it is the definite, authoritative version of a classic fantasy novel and the bonus content alone is worth the entrance fee. So, join me in saying happy 10th anniversary Elantris! You've aged well!
Review copy provided by Gollancz
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- Published in Book News