The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
Published: Tachyon Publications (Oct 11, 2012)
Posted: Goodreads (June 15, 2016)
(5 / 5)
The Emperor’s Soul is a novella about a Forger named Shai that is forced to create a masterpiece, the mind and soul of an Emperor in a vegetative state. But it explores larger issues and is so much more than a shortened novel.
Blend this interesting plot with some great fantasy storytelling and you have a good read. Sanderson makes regular conversations between characters intense, witty and fun. The magic mechanics for crafting things – objects, even persons, created using finely crafted stamps possessing an thing’s entire history – is as in-depth as any system in a fantasy trilogy.
A large portion of the story is dialogue while Shai is kept in a small room to do her work. But the story’s world seems much larger than it is due to the author’s storytelling, reflected in things Shai is reading about or through thoughts that she’s having. The fact that the Rose Empire – worshipping what is perceived as different Suns for every day of the year – uses “Days afire!” in place of Shai’s “Nights afire!” expression, illustrates small ways in which Sanderson uses clever word choice to make his story alive yet compact.
I really enjoyed the overall tone of the characters and their view of Shai’s work as well. Political subterfuge and backstabbing, the nature of personality, mind, and what it means to be an individual person are all primary themes. The Arbiter’s views of Shai and her art is also filled with tension, impending doom One Thousand And One Nights style, and the threats of which are ever present between the lines.
A fine work of fiction, both short and sweet, The Emperor’s Soul is an instant favorite. Enjoy! 5/5