Blog Archive

View My Stats
Monday, September 30, 2013

“The Emperor’s Soul” by Brandon Sanderson (Reviewed by Casey Blair)

Order “The Emperor’s SoulHERE
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.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that review, which I liked. I just wish you would have said one or two sentences about what the novella was about. ;-)

Sure, I can look it up at amazon & co. but it would have been nice to get some information within the review. Just to let you know.

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “The Shattered Crown”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “Cauldron of Ghosts”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “Rex Regis”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “The Great King”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “Like A Mighty Army”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “Fortune's Pawn”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about
Review HERE