Elantris starts slowly, major developments relatively few and far between in its almost exclusively political first part. That led to me focusing on that aspect as well and noting when the author was unable to make characters as wise as quite clearly intended, even if overall that’s another limitation that he works around better than most, or certain promoted concepts that I disagreed with, such as the low-level, everyday greed and selfishness that can be taken as the theoretical basis of capitalism or people assumed to find purpose in their jobs and needing to focus on them to be content and withstand pain and problems.
After the first part, however, much of that is ever more easily forgotten. The pacing likely also plays quite a part, the book growing and speeding up as it goes along, the structure itself reflecting that as well, with the second part having shorter chapters and the third having those shorter chapters split in sections that go from pages to paragraphs to even mere lines, switching points of view and portraying ever more significant events, ever more actual action, at an ever faster pace. Yet that’s not only not at the expense of depth, but quite the contrary, the systems used, the important characters and, to some extent, the world becoming more fleshed out, more of their complexity being revealed, even though the fact that it’s a single book does place obvious limitations on this.
While the path to a sequel is wide open and one has been announced, albeit as a lesser priority, Elantris stands well enough on its own, containing a complete story. And the additional material included in the edition I read, the author’s comments, the deleted scenes and even the foreword, all of that does indeed add to its value.