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Monday, September 30, 2013
Order “The Emperor’s Soul” HERE
Read An Excerpt HERE
Read FBC’s Review of “The Rithmatist”
Read FBC’s Review of “Steelheart”
Brandon Sanderson's novella The Emperor's Soul, published late 2012 by Tachyon, won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novella, so I wanted to take a minute to talk about why I think this one is so cool.
For those who have read Sanderson's other works, here's an interesting tidbit: this novella is set in the same world as the author’s debut novel Elantris, but on a different continent. If you haven't read Elantris, that won't affect your enjoyment at all; if you have, watch out for the allusions.
Historically we've seen a lot of medieval European-inspired fantasy settings in the genre, but not so many Asian-inspired settings, which is the first thing that immediately catches the eye on this one.
I think this novella is a great example of how to use something from the real world to inspire your fantasy story. In this case, it's the stamps on Chinese pottery and art. Sanderson talks more about that aspect, and the process of writing this novella, in this twenty minute podcast HERE. (That podcast is absolutely full of SPOILERS, though, so if that bothers you, read the novella first.)
As with all Sanderson stories, there are multiple magic systems at work, and we're given enough to know that the world is big, complicated, and fleshed out without overwhelming details of every difference.
The protagonist, Shai, was awesome. Clever, competent, active, thoughtful, all the things I want in a protagonist. I appreciated that this is a story with a female protagonist and yet has absolutely no romance. Characters Shai and Gaotona were both a joy to read: I loved their interactions and how consistent each character was. They're trying hard to understand each other given how each categorizes and deals with the world, and the ending felt perfect.
I agree with the comment on the aforementioned podcast that we could have done without the extra POVs; I liked one for Gaotona at the beginning and end for symmetry and to contrast Shai's perspective, but the other came out of nowhere and threw me off.
Overall, The Emperor’s Soul is fast-paced, clever, and fun; definitely worth checking out if you can.
12:00 AM | Posted by Robert | | Edit Post