New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson is widely celebrated for his Mistborn Trilogy and contribution to the final three books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. In The Emperor's Soul, a Forger named Shai can copy and re-create any item by using magic to rewrite its history. After being condemned to death for attempting to steal the emperor's scepter, Shai is given one final chance. She' ll be allowed to live if she can create a new soul for the emperor, who hovers near death.
©2012 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC (P)2012 Recorded Books
At three hours and fifty five minutes The Emperor’s Soul is a fairly quick listen, especially since it is written by Brandon Sanderson, but has the depth usually only found in epic novels.
It is set in the world of Elantris, Brandon’s first published novel, but The Emperor’s Soul is a completely different story with a new magic system called Forgery. Shai, a Forger, can copy and re-create any item by using magic to rewrite its history. Now she must create a new soul for the emperor or be put to death.
Even though most of the action happens toward the end Sanderson’s wit and writing skills never lets the story lag and I thought the narrator, Angela Lin, gave a good performance. This story should please Sanderson fans or anyone else who enjoys this type of genre. I’m a huge Sanderson fan and thoroughly enjoyed this Audio book.
I never trusted the 'novela....' Always seemed like a way to eek out money from fans of a writer, without supplying a fully realized story. Something always sounded like it had to be missing.
Sanderson has changed my mind completely. I've been a huge fan of his work for years now, and chased through his various writings with abandon. I've seen his successes, and had to put down at least one of his less stellar works. I also tend to read series, excessively long series, such as Wheel of Time. I like character development, and completeness. I like the plot to move, and to see what came before, and after, and the motivations behind action. And all of that, can be found in this book. It was an amazing 3ish hours.
Don't connect this with any of his other works. Just start up, knowing it's going to be short, and love the ride.
I think the narrator brought this story to life giving personalities to all of the players.
I love Brandon Sanderson, I have both read and listened to his stories and am glad I got this audio version. Even though it was a short story there was and indepth development of the culture, the conflicting mores and of the charaters. I had difficulty turing off my Iphone as I listed to the book. I loved the development of the relationship between Shai and Goatona. The explaination of how she uses her skill through the metamorphasis of her surroundings and using Goatona to test Shai's assessment of her reconstruction of Ashervan's soul reconstruction gave insight into the relationship between Goatona and Ashervan that added to the complexity of the story. Most of all I loved the truth as a manipulation. There were lots of twists in the story and the final twist at the end brough a smile. Thanks to Sanderson for writing this tale.
Another Magical World
The ending (vague to protect from spoilers!)
This story was intriguing. I enjoyed the read a lot, but it is not my favorite of Sanderson's work. That should not be interpreted to mean "Don't read it," however.
Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors and this novella thoroughly reminds me why. The plot, the characters, and the world are all masterpiece creations. It does not surprise me that this novella has been nominated for a Hugo. It definitely deserves to win. All of us have an inborn desire to create something great, something magnificent. As I follow the story the main characters helped to re-ignite this desire within me, making me want to create something so amazing it will change the world.
My only regret about this story is that it is a novella; it ends too quickly and I was left wishing that the novella was actually a novel.
I really enjoyed this book. The environment was completely new to me, yet well explained in the limited time. I felt I was there observing the main character, Shai, as she worked towards her salvation. Her motivations were well-described and although she's not technically a "good guy", I wanted her to succeed anyway. Excellent read and strongly recommend it if you're a fan of fantasy fiction.
Say something about yourself!
In a very short (for him) story with relatively little development this book manages to weave together a fascinating tale rapidly with little development without ever feeling incomplete. Highly recommended, my only regret is that it's not part of a much larger series. I hope it becomes one.
Kat at FanLit
Originally posted at FanLit.
Shai is a forger, able to magically change any item by rewriting its history. For example, she can turn a battered piece of furniture into the beautiful object it could have been by bonding with it, understanding its past and how it sees itself, and then altering the past enough to change the furniture’s destiny. Unfortunately, forgery is despised by the empire because forgers often use their skills to counterfeit famous artists’ work. In fact, Shai is currently in prison for doing just this — she was caught trying to steal the emperor’s scepter so she could replace it with her own forgery.
Usually in a case like this Shai would be executed, but the emperor’s closest advisors decide they need her forbidden skills instead. The emperor has recently survived an assassination attempt, but his doctors were only able to save him by giving him a new brain. Now he lives, but his brain is empty — his memories and personality are gone. His arbiters, whose positions and livelihoods are dependent on this emperor’s reign, want Shai to do something illegal; they want her to recreate the emperor by forging his soul.
Of course Shai must take this job, or she’ll be executed, but she knows that despite the arbiters’ promises, she’ll be killed when she’s done because they don’t want anyone knowing the truth about the emperor. Shai works diligently to do the job they want, but she also plans for escape. Yet as she continues to progress, her artist’s pride begins to enjoy the challenge. Does she have the skill to produce the ultimate forgery? And does she really want to, or should she use this opportunity to remodel the emperor?
I’ve come to expect a lot from Brandon Sanderson: unique and fascinating detailed magic systems, interesting settings, likeable characters, and the perfect amount of truly funny humor. Sanderson’s new novella, The Emperor’s Soul, partially meets my expectations. Shai is likeable enough, though she’s not especially memorable. I missed Sanderson’s sense of humor in this novella, not because I think every story needs to have some humor, but because I particularly like Brandon Sanderson’s sense of humor and look forward to that element in his work.
Sanderson’s magic system is inventive and intriguing and allows us the opportunity to think about some ideas that I find really interesting, such as how personalities are formed. However, Shai’s detailed explanations of her craft and all its rules tend to dominate and bog down the plot and, because this book is so short, it feels unbalanced. Furthermore, unlike Sanderson’s previous magic systems, I can’t say that I truly believed in this one. For one thing, if Shai is forging objects by changing their histories or their construction, won’t this have other far-reaching effects on the world and not just the object being forged? If the battered piece of furniture is altered so that it thinks it was loved and cared for, or so it was made from different materials, then not only its history is changed, but there are people or objects involved whose histories are now perceived as different, too. Sanderson addresses this with rules (e.g., the forgery won’t take if it’s too far from reality) but I wasn’t completely convinced.
Even more problematic, though, is trying to forge a personality. In order to do so, Shai must understand the emperor. She makes clear that this is difficult and takes a lot of time and research because people’s motives and desires are intricate and conflicting, but it’s really so much more than that. Not only can we not understand our own motives and desires, we don’t really even know what they are and they’re dependent on too many factors — our genes, our prenatal environment, our upbringing, and so many factors that we can’t possibly identify. We wouldn’t be able to do this for ourselves, much less someone who we can only know from reading histories and a diary. Especially if that person had a brand new brain that was wiped clean of all the factors that built the personality in the first place. It just doesn’t work.
But still, if we can put aside our doubts, Sanderson’s story is enjoyable and makes a great thought exercise. For example, Sanderson made me wonder what makes art beautiful. Why is an original work of art so much more appealing than a perfect copy? It’s got to be more than just the way it looks. Also it was interesting to consider how people’s personalities are gradually changed over time by outside influences and how in some cases that’s a good thing and in others it’s not.
I’m being a little tough on The Emperor’s Soul, but that’s partly because my expectations are so high for Brandon Sanderson’s work. The man writes great fantasy and it’s exciting to see him trying new things, including two shorter stand-alone works this year. More newness is expected for next year and those books are already on my TBR list, as is everything Sanderson writes.
I listened to Angela Lin’s pleasant performance in Recorded Books’ audio version of The Emperor’s Soul which I can heartily recommend for those who want to read Sanderson’s latest novella.
A brief enjoyable glimpse of a Sanderson world. Better than many other books. Not as good as those few that keep you on the edge of your seat forever.
The old Sanderson "Crap I only have a few pages left to finish this book" syndrome kicks in at the end, but the particular form of this book compliments it very well.
I have not.
It made me smile. I listened to it in its entirety on a drive home.
Get it, its worth it. You don't need to invest much for a decent to great payoff :)
1*=I didn't like it..... 2*=It was OK...... 3*=It was good but I will never read it again.......... 4*=Maybe I will read it again in the future.............. 5*=I will definitely read it again(maybe more than once)
IT WAS GOOD, NOT AS GOOD AS "LEGION", BUT GOOD ENOUGH.
ACTUALLY IT AMAZES ME:
USING THE SAME IDEA OF "CREATING MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES WITH DIFFERENT SET OF SKILLS INSIDE YOURSELF" AND CREATING TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AMAZING STORIES IN TOTALLY DIFFERENT SETTINGS
LEGION (SCI FI) (I DEFINITELY WANT A FULL SERIES)
THE EMPEROR'S SOUL (FANTASY)
THE SIGNS OF GREAT TALENT ARE BETTER SEEN DURING THIS KIND OF WORKS (JUST SHORT WORKS OF MIND, TALENT AND SKILL)
Report Inappropriate Content