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The Emperor's Soul (Hugo Award Winner - Best Novella) Paperback – October 10, 2012
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—Charles de Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction
Sanderson proves to be an exceptionally talented writer in the pages of this book.... The Emperor’s Soul is one of those rare high fantasies that feels fresh and is filled with a sense of wonder.”
Charles de Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction
The Emperor’s Soul is a worthy addition to Sanderson’s bibliography: a new magic system with some interesting implications, a couple of fascinating characters, a focused plot, and a subtle link to the much larger picture he’s been painting for years.”
With a fascinating study of clashing beliefs, another inventive magic system, and highly entertaining action sequence, The Emperor’s Soul is the book I would recommend to anyone who wants to find out for the first time what Sanderson is all about.”
Fantasy Book Review
This story had such a wonderful balance with the world, characters, and magic building, that I truly hope the author will explore it more....”
Open Book Society, five-star review
The Emperor’s Soul is fast-paced, clever, and fun....”
Fantasy Book Critic
This is a fantastic novella set in the Elantris world. Despite it’s short length this story was complex, intriguing, and just absolutely magical and engaging.”
Hidden in Pages
An excellent fast read, highly recommended for readers looking for unique story worlds and magic systems. It won the 2013 Hugo Award for a Novella, and that really says it all.”
Flight of the Dragon
It truly is a work of art.”
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
The Emperor's Soul is set in Sel, the same planet as Elantris (though very far apart from where Elantris takes place). The magic in this world takes the form of elaborate seals, the inspirations for which were drawn from the red signature seals commonly found on East Asian artwork. Though in our world it only leaves an impression of authorship, on Sel, an intricate seal can be used to change the history of an object in a process called Forgery, thus changing its present state. A battered old desk can be Forged so that it had a caring owner in the past, transforming it into a sturdy, well-maintained version of itself. The book follows the captivity of a talented Forger who is faced with an impossible task; Forging the soul of the emperor, who has been rendered brain-dead by an assassination attempt.
I found that a usual problem with Brandon's other novellas is that they feel like a chapter in a larger novel; interesting, but without a strong conclusion which leaves too many open plot lines and a sense of frustration when it ends. However, The Emperor's Soul focuses on one self-contained event (that of Shai's captivity), so despite the short length of the book, the conclusion of the novella gives a sense of immense satisfaction to the reader.
To express myself in a more succinct way, The Emperor's Soul feels like it was _meant_ to be a novella, rather than a novel put on a diet against its will. The book is jammed packed with emotion and tension, but it works well because it is short enough that the reader isn't emotionally exhausted by the end of it.Read more ›
Brandon Sanderson is in top form as usual, despite the shortness of this novella. Shai is a thief and has no compunctions about being opportunistic, but her driving force is her pride in her art. She's proud and tenacious - almost to a fault. I wouldn't exactly say she's lovable, but who doesn't love a good noble thief? The supporting characters, with the exception of Gaotona and Emperor Ashravan, don't really have enough time to be developed, but that's understandable for a book less than 170 pages long.
I loved the examination of identity in this book. In order for Shai to be such a good Forger, she has to be extremely good at observing both people and objects - the little things that influence them, their motivations, how they can be manipulated. She needs to be able to produce her desired changes with the minimum of effort required for it to appear natural (think about the complexity of planting an idea via a dream in Inception - it's the same concept.) Shai does this instinctively, and it greatly adds to the complexity of the plot and the world building. Of course, she also does it deliberately, and how she pieced together Ashravan's life from notes and interviews is fascinating.
I was slightly dissatisfied at the end because it was over too quickly and I wanted more!Read more ›
Even though it is a Novella, you grow really attached to protagonist, Shai, in the short time we spend with her. Most of that time is confined to a single room, but you would hardly notice it unless someone points out for you. You learn a lot about her past and her way of thinking as she has to sort of explain herself to one of her captors in order to further her own goals in the story.
The fight scenes are well done - reminds me of Mistborn - fast and the magic system naturally comes into play to give the protagonist that much needed edge.
I could go on about the book, but really in the end it is a quick but satisfying read. It is a world and magic system I really hope he chooses to explore in further books, whether they be novella or novel sized stories.
If you like any of Brandon's previous work, you'll like this.
Fortunately, while The Emperor's Soul is set in the same world as Elantris, it is a completely separate story, and doesn't require any advance knowledge of the world Sanderson has created.
Clocking in at under 200 pages, this lacks the intense world-building of his other work, but still manages to cram in a significant amount of detail regarding his magic system. A bit more philosophical in nature, the magic of forging, involving the use of soulstamps and essence marks, is absolutely fascinating to explore. Sanderson does a masterful job of taking something simple, yet impossible, and making it a wondrously imaginative act of creation. Here, the system of magic is revealed not through narrative exposition, but through conversations between Shai, the Forger, and Gaotona, her captor. It means a slow unveiling of what she does and how she does it, but the means of that unveiling is an integral part of the tale.
Shai herself is an interesting character, more admirable than heroic. She is a character with whom we can sympathise, but one who does not prey on our sympathies. Less a victim than an opportunistic captive, she forges the means of her escape long before the end, but cannot bring herself to flee without satisfying her curiosity as to whether her greatest forgery will work. After all, it's one thing to forge great pieces of art, or to temporarily alter one's self . . . it's another thing entirely to forge a complete stranger's soul.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed this book for what it is, as long as you go in knowing it's short and not a novel you'll enjoy it as wellPublished 16 hours ago by JR Keener
This is a very fine fantasy and very well written. I didn`t like Elantra Book 1, far too slow and wordy, couldn't finish it. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Rodney Mutchler
A great Novella, It left me wanting more when I was finished with it.Published 9 days ago by Peter Mendonsa
This book really grows the Elantris world in a new direction. I really hope there are more along these lines!Published 9 days ago by Adam Conroy