Okay, I've spent too much time looking for this book, it's time to ask for help. Around 10 or more years ago I've read a book about a young person (possibly a girl but I'm not sure). The main theme of the book was that the world's culture was based on magic, which was based on the runes. There was some kind of an earthquake (?) after which the magic stopped to work. It was really weak and had no more use of it. Eventually the hero found out that the runes were basically the map of the world (city?) with added lines, and that the earthquake created an abyss which had to be represented on the 'map' for runes to work. At the end of the book was awesome list (dictionary) of those runes with drawn symbols and written spells. I tried everything and can't find this book. I'm desperate. Sorry for any grammar mistakes, not a native speaker.

marked as duplicate by Otis, Buzz, Radhil, Ward, Skooba Mar 10 '18 at 18:18

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This is very likely Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson.


  • Magic stopped working after an earthquake
  • One of the three main characters figures out that the primary "rune" in the magic system does look like the land of the local kingdom.
  • The magic is semi-fixed by adding a new chasm to the rune, and fully fixed when they realize their ruined city is shaped just like that rune, and add it there.
  • There is an Ars Arcanum at the end with many of the runes mentioned in the book.


  • The local culture isn't really based on the magic per se. Elantris was a city of magic, that more or less turned into a ruined asylum after the magic failed. There's a city outside the city still trying to hold on to it's independence, which one of the main characters was prince of.
  • There's actually more than one magic in the world, but most of it is based on different kinds of runes depending on the area (this might have been what you meant by based on culture).
  • YOU ARE AN ANGEL! That's it! Thank you, you blessed pure precious soul! ❤️ – Paulina Muszki Mar 5 '18 at 1:22
  • @PaulinaMuszki please would you be kind enough to mark his answer as the accepted one ? – Karaelfte Mar 8 '18 at 16:54

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