Saturday, June 10, 2017

"The Emperor's Soul" by Brandon Sanderson

The Emperor's Soul is a novella set in the same world as Elantris, which was my first Brandon Sanderson novel- it's been so long since I've read it that I could scarcely tell you what it was about. And now I really want to reread Elantris, but that's a review for another day- The Emperor's Soul was the type of writing of Sanderson's that I love. You get absorbed into a different world with unusual magic, all while trying to figure out how Shai will get herself out of her sticky situation.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'A heretic thief is the empire’s only hope in this fascinating tale that inhabits the same world as the popular novel, Elantris.
'Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead.
'Probing deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan’s truest nature—and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that Shai’s forgery is as much artistry as it is deception.
'Brimming with magic and political intrigue, this deftly woven fantasy delves into the essence of a living spirit.'

The magic in this book is a system of forging by way of stamping an object with a seal. Shai happens to be the best Forger (in convenient reach) for the sect of people who back the Emperor to employ, so she ends up being hired for the job with a somewhat impossible timeline. Interestingly though, I didn't feel the sense of urgency for her to complete the job- I think I'm a bit comfortable with Sanderson's writing, and thus can easily guess some of the twists or how the book will go (especially when it's short in length).

Shai, while an interesting heroine, probably didn't grab my attention like she should have. Because of her work, she seemed somewhat lacking in other respects (i.e. past and personality), and I felt like I didn't really know her, or that she could've been replaced with any other generic heroine and I wouldn't have even noticed. Still, I think the main strength in this book is the worldbuilding and magic, which kept me more alert than any of the other aspects.

The Emperor's Soul is a great short read for those who'd like to get acquainted with Brandon Sanderson's worldbuilding. However, it didn't quite show some of his other strengths (i.e. characterization and suspense) that I've grown to expect. Once you have a favorite book of an author's, every other book you read by them comes under closer scrutiny, and I think that's the case with this book- it's great, and probably better than many other 3.5 Star rating books I've read, but for Mr. Sanderson, it's just a solid 3.5 Stars book.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for a small taste of Mr. Sanderson's talents.

Age Advisory: Ages 16+ for violence, dark magic, and moral gray areas.

Page Count: 175 pages


  1. I know what you mean about being more critical of favorite authors's work the more you read by them. That happens to me as well. I haven't tried Sanderson, but I've been wanting to try him. I know my husband likes his novels.

    1. Your husband has good taste, then. ;) I like that his books tend to not have as much graphic content as some of the other "adult" fantasy. To me, I prefer books that are more plot driven and less plot twist-y (as if the author's trying to play with your emotions).
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Wendy!
      ~Litha Nelle


Feel Free to Express Yourself:
Agree? Disagree? Have something to add?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...