So Many Books, So Little Time! (As my favorite mug says.) Here’s the next installment in my, “Books Off the Shelf” series—a grouping of some short book reviews on books quite literally off my bookshelves—books I’ve read or listened to. I will attempt to give you an idea on some books you might enjoy or not enjoy quite as much without ruining it with too many spoilers.
The Emperor’s Soul
by Brandon Sanderson
Rating 8 out of 10
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...
I feel like I have to preface this review slightly. I like long sweeping epic tales that unfold their mysteries over thousands of pages and multiple volumes. I love getting to know the intimate details of character’s lives—seeing each piece to the overall puzzle fall into place. That being said, THE EMPEROR’S SOUL is a novella, and hence, not my usual cup of tea. None-the-less, I really enjoyed this story.
Brandon Sanderson, of course, brings his innate ability for incredible world building and magic system creation to this tale as he does every other. He paints a beautiful picture into a world of political intrigue. THE EMPEROR’S SOUL offers a fascinating discussion on personhood—on what it means to be sentient—to have a soul.
The twining of Shai’s ongoing relationship with the emperor’s adviser, Gaotona, and the enthralling magic system of forging is simply brilliant on Sanderson’s part. The fact that he can create an emotional connection between the reader and the characters is definitely praiseworthy.
I would have loved to see this story play out over the course of an additional six or seven hundred pages, and I would love to see another book starring Shai and forging. Just the same, this is a delightful story in and of itself. Pick up a copy. It’s a quick read, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I wasn’t.
If you’ve read The Emperor’s Soul or any of Sanderson’s other work, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a message below. And as ever, if you have suggestions of books to review, please let me know. If it is Science Fiction or especially Fantasy, there is a good chance it is on my shelf or should be.
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Ryan J. Doughan