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The Emperor's Soul Audiobook

The Emperor's Soul

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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 01-31-13
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 01-31-13 Member Since 2014

    I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!

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    "Partially meets my high expectations"

    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.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer ATOKA, OK, United States 11-05-13
    Amazon Customer ATOKA, OK, United States 11-05-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Leaves You Wanting More"
    What about Angela Lin’s performance did you like?

    Very pleasant to listen to!


    Any additional comments?

    As is with many of Sanderson's works, this book leaves you wanting more. I loved this book. It was an out of the box concept and very well written. It takes a lot for me to be draw into a book but this one had my attention from the start and held it.The end did not disappoint. Loved it!

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan 10-06-13
    Jonathan 10-06-13

    Anime Enthusiast

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    "A great novella by Sanderson"
    What made the experience of listening to The Emperor's Soul the most enjoyable?

    The story had a lot of depth to it, despite being fairly short. Sanderson has really matured as an author (comparing to the first Mistborn book), and it's great to read almost anything by him.


    What other book might you compare The Emperor's Soul to and why?

    The book is pretty unique - but it did remind me a little of the Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch - where they would create various personalities for use in their various schemes. In this story, this is done magically, but it had a slightly similar feel.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan SIrard 05-14-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Promising...but a bit flat"

    I just never quite bought(or understood) the forgers 'tech'. The story was flat with very little tension, so the resolve was almost irrelevant. The story's concepts are interesting, and the author hinted at a lot of great plot lines, but the author unstead chose a story arc that was a little unsatisfying. It fealt like a detailed account of an uneventful day at work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Somebody You Don't Know Portland, OR, USA 04-27-17
    Somebody You Don't Know Portland, OR, USA 04-27-17 Member Since 2014
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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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    avoidthelloyd Poteau, OK 04-24-17
    avoidthelloyd Poteau, OK 04-24-17 Member Since 2010
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    "So So."

    I like the idea of this, but I'm not sure it shouldn't have had more chapters to be able to have more character development. I actually bought it because it was short, but now I kind wish it had been a bit longer. A lot of stuff happened quickly at the end that I wished were slowed down to process. I bought this on a 50% off sale and probably wouldn't use a credit on it. I would try his Steelheart series. I listened to the great narration at 1.5X speed to save some time. If any of this was helpful, please click YES below. Later.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dragonfly Samurai 04-03-17 Member Since 2016

    I'm game for Sci Fi, Fantasy, Fiction, History. I may even try this venue for learning languages. I have also come to love Great Courses.

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    "(G8 (That's my stamp of approval for this story)"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Emperor's Soul to be better than the print version?

    I could not say. I have not read the print version.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Shai for sure. You don't have enough time with any other characters to get to develop a bond with them. This short story is based solely on Shai.


    Which character – as performed by Angela Lin – was your favorite?

    Shai.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No strong reaction. I did admire the way Brandon Sanderson wrapped up such a good story in short format. I hope he develops this character more.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bennett 03-21-17
    Bennett 03-21-17
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    "Awsome except for the narrator"

    I love this book, the story is a favorite to both my family and myself. Mabey because I read the book first and have my own idea of how the main character is portrayed but I didn't care for the style of the narration. That aside though the story amazing and I'm still enjoying it despite the narrator's style.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-22-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Yet another great one"

    Though shorter than the usual Sanderson fare, no less developed and engaging. Another great addition to the cosmere!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jesse Frederick 01-18-17 Member Since 2016
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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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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