Book Review – The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

The Emperor's Soul
The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shia is a Forger, trained in the ability to re-build or edit any item, so long as she knows its history and can call forth a parallel existence for it. Shia can also do this with people, something strictly forbidden, and normally she only does this to herself, providing alternate time-lines where she’s highly skilled in particular area.

When Shia is caught attempting to substitute a Forged painting for the original in the Imperial Palace, her future looks grim. But her captors, despite despising her skills, need her. For the Emperor barely survived the assassination attempt that killed his wife, and has been left with no memories, no awareness, no soul.

Shia must forge the Emperor a new soul in the days remaining before he is due to come out of private mourning, and somehow escape from her imprisonment in the process. If she fails, not only will she be executed, but the Kingdom will be thrown into turmoil leading to the deaths of thousands.

I really enjoyed this book as Sanderson wove a strong tale of political intrigue, structured magic and interesting characters, all with their own backgrounds, motives and desired outcomes.

Shia, as the protagonist, is a strong female character, surviving on her wits and talents, and would make a good role model for young readers of both genders.

Sanderson is known for inventing logical and consistent magic systems, and The Emperor’s Soul doesn’t disappoint. Forging is carefully thought out and applied well, it’s believable and it hints at so much more that could be done with it.

This is a tightly written novella and I half wish it was a full length novel just to spend more time with Shia and in that world. I do hope we see more of her.

All up, I thoroughly recommend this novella, especially if you’re a fan of Sanderson’s other work or similar fantasy works.

This novella made my nomination list for the Hugo Awards, and I’m glad to see it on the final ballot.

ObDisclosure: I received this as a free eBook from Sanderson as I was eligible to nominate in the 2013 Hugo Awards.


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