I had heard some good things about Brandon Sanderson, and the free sample I downloaded on my kindle was intriguing enough that I bought the full e-book. It turned out to be a deeply disappointing read.
The premise was excellent. The setting and background were well done. The fantasy metaphysics, including the workings of magic, were unquestionably a strong point. Characters were fair to good. So why only two stars?
The writing was mediocre at best, turning what could have been a captivating tale set in an intriguing world into a lackluster slog through a story that's only just good enough to keep me reading to the end. Sanderson's prose is flat, his descriptions ranging from uninspired to nearly nonexistent. If great writers paint pictures with words, Sanderson sketches stick figures and captions them. His writing did not draw me into his world and make me feel almost as if I were there taking part in it; he simply told me what was happening there. Rather than carefully using diction and syntax as tools to establish a setting apart from our world, to transport the reader to another place and time, as one might expect from a great fantasy novel, the voice of the story is best described as modern and generic; the author's choices of word and idiom completely failed to convey any sense of magic or wonder, and at times completely jarred me out of my already limited immersion.
There are some books that draw me in so completely that I never want them to end. There are others that are so bad that I feel no remorse at all in setting them aside after the first chapter and never finishing them. Elantris falls in that uneasy country between them - just good enough to keep me reading to the end, but with a sigh of relief that it's finally over.