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Publisher's Summary

When Shai is caught replacing the Moon Scepter with her nearly flawless forgery, she must bargain for her life. An assassin has left the Emperor Ashravan without consciousness, a circumstance concealed only by the death of his wife. If the emperor does not emerge after his hundred-day mourning period, the rule of the Heritage Faction will be forfeit and the empire will fall into chaos.

Shai is given an impossible task: to create—to Forge—a new soul for the emperor in less than one hundred days. But her soul-Forgery is considered an abomination by her captors. She is confined to a tiny, dirty chamber, guarded by a man who hates her, spied upon by politicians, and trapped behind a door sealed in her own blood. Shai's only possible ally is the emperor's most loyal counselor, Gaotona, who struggles to understand her true talent.

Time is running out for Shai. Forging, while deducing the motivations of her captors, she needs a perfect plan to escape...

©2012 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC (P)2012 Recorded Books

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Performance

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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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YOU KNOW YOUR HORSEFLESH

WALLS CAN'T THINK, BUT THAT DOESN'T KEEP THEM FROM CARING.
Four hours was the perfect length for this novella and for Sanderson's genius. If you have not read Sanderson before (and I don't know what rock you have been living under) then this is a great place to start. Sanderson has practically rewritten the fantasy genre. He has set new, higher standards. Fantasy is no longer just Dragons and Sorcerers, it is stories with depth and characters.

AS GOOD AS YOU ARE, SOMEONE ELSE COULD BE BETTER
Sanderson has not yet replaced Robin Hobb as my favorite fantasy writer, but he is getting close. He can write the long stuff, (The Way of Kings) and he can write the short stuff, like this. What is most amazing, is his abilities to come up with different magic and make them as interesting as the last totally different magic he wrote about. The Way of Kings, Elantris, The Rithmatist, The Emperor's Soul and Mistborn are all different, but great. He is not stuck in one universe. I will have to mention that I was not a fan of Steelheart or Warbreaker, but they were not terrible either.

BOREDOM MADE PEOPLE EASY TO MANIPULATE
Did I mention that this guy is a genius?

58 of 67 people found this review helpful

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  • debbie
  • corona, CA, United States
  • 11-02-12

A Great Short Novella that is Long in Story

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.

54 of 63 people found this review helpful

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I liked it, but fantasy fans will probably love it

STORY (fantasy) - I occasionally listen to fantasies that catch my eye, but it's not one of my usual genres. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As one reviewer put it, it's "fresh." Shai, a professional forger of art and other articles, is given the task of forging the soul of an emperor who has been mortally wounded and is in a vegetative state. She is imprisoned and given only a fraction of the time needed to attempt this never-done-before task.

It's fascinating to hear how she goes about analyzing the emperor's previous soul, then building and testing her forgery bit by bit. She also must plan her escape which - surprise - will use forgery. During her imprisonment she is threatened by interesting characters and befriends others. Loved the ending.

PERFORMANCE - Good job. There is one evil female character whose voice is purposefully nasally and unpleasant, but thankfully she doesn't speak a lot.

OVERALL - This book contains no sex or cursing and only a touch of bloody action. If you like contemporary fantasy, you will probably love this book. Men have given this book positive reviews, but I would actually recommend it more for women.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

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A fantastic standalone

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.

35 of 45 people found this review helpful

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A great short story, but not a sequel to Elantris

I purchased this story immediately after listening to Elantris. I don't regret it at all, but for the life of me I can't find the tiniest shred of evidence that these stories take place in the same universe, let alone the same planet. Perhaps it's set thousands of years later when the names of all the places and empires have long since changed. The book doesn't make any of this clear.

There is a common narrative theme with Elantris, though. Both have a main character capable of genuine magic who is antagonized and labeled a heretic by an oppressive, religious empire.

The magic system here is creative and interesting, being based on the notion of all objects having souls. Properties of anything can be rewritten, limited only by plausibility. It's a fitting metaphor for the process of writing and editing a story as an author. Even a fantasy story must remain plausible after the initial deviations from reality have been explained to the reader, otherwise it will fall apart.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Lovely and unexpected

I loved this book for several reasons. It looks into an artist's soul in a way that is illuminating. It looks into who we could have been if we were someone else. And it's a look at court life that is probably quite accurate if distasteful. It made me wish the world worked the way that the writer described.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Tiffany
  • Williston, VT, United States
  • 04-01-13

Another excellent novella!

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Really enjoyed this!

I found this to be one of the most enjoyable short stories I have encountered in recent years. A beautiful, thoughtful piece, and excellently performed. I originally chose it because of its connections to Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere books, and specifically to Elantris, which takes place on the same world. However, there seemed to be very little connection to either in the story itself: the story is essentially self-contained. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it , and I recommend it highly.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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A short but good read

I bought this book as a daily deal. although it is really short, I read it one sitting and it did hold my attention. I would like to see a more detailed follow up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Short, but sweet.

Dispite being a listening experience just under four hours author Brandon Sanderson proves his storytelling talents once again in "The Emperor's Soul". Angela Lin's heartfelt narration did this audiobook version proud.

As a story, "The Emperor's Soul" is gripping in a subtle way, being a story about motivations, manipulations and magical arts. There is a constant looming danger for the main character. She is trapped in a room and trying to think her way out of her situation while being forced to work on an impossible task with an impossible time limit.

The characters are strongly defined and create such complex interest that it's almost sad when this book ends. Listeners will be glad that they listened to this one. Yet, even after a satisfying conclusion, most will still want to know more about these characters and the world they live in and that's always a sign of a strong story.

This book is highly recommended to fans of well crafted fantasy tales that find compelling character personalities to be front and center on the priority list. Plus, as a well polished shorter book, it's prefect for those busy listeners who want something of quality, but don't necessarily have time to invest in listening to anything particularly long winded.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful