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The Emperor's Soul

af Brandon Sanderson

Andre forfattere: Se andre forfattere sektionen.

Serier: Sel (1.5), Cosmere (Novella, 8)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,8851048,926 (4.31)115
Fiction. Science Fiction. New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson is widely celebrated for his Mistborn Trilogy and contribution to the final three books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. In The Emperor's Soul, a Forger named Shai can copy and re-create any item by using magic to rewrite its history. After being condemned to death for attempting to steal the emperor's scepter, Shai is given one final chance. She' ll be allowed to live if she can create a new soul for the emperor, who hovers near death.… (mere)
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» Se også 115 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 103 (næste | vis alle)
This is what all short, novella fiction should be. And should probably be a Hugo contender. ( )
  crowsandprose | May 15, 2024 |
This was a truly enjoyable (quick) read. The story is a basic con artist, escape story, but it is wrapped in some really fascinating magic and world building. Brandon Sanderson doing what he does so well. ( )
  jfranzone | Feb 14, 2024 |
By now its pretty obvious I'm a Sanderson fangirl. He ranks in my top 5 favorite authors and is an insta-I'll even pay full cover price for the hardcover buy. This isn't to say I think everything he writes is perfect (I had some issues with The Alloy of Law for instance), but by golly his writing makes me excited to read every time.

This is his second stand alone novella of the year (after the contemporary mystery/urban fantasy Legion, which I have yet to review) and I think this one fared better then Legion. Not because its longer (they're about the same length), but because it played more on his strengths. The magic system here was as intricate as they come--in about 140pages he conveys a system just as detailed as anything in Warbreaker or The Way of Kings. Unfortunately unlike his longer epics the information is more or less explained to us instead of organically weaving itself into the plot.

That's okay though, this is a much shorter work so I expected that. This is loosely tied in with Elantris (as in, set in the same world, but not the same characters, setting, magic system or tone at all) and for his eager fans that bloody trickster that runs throughout all his books (tied in with the Cosmere at least) gets his due here as well. Sanderson approaches this magic system from a more philosophical bent.

Forging is, in essence, re-writing something (or in this case someone's) history. Shai uses it for theft and amusement, but she's highly skilled at the little details other people seem to miss. She's a perfectionist. She doesn't just Forge a broken table into a sturdier model, she Forges it into something it can be proud of, something that speaks to its 'soul' and sense of being.

By contrast Gaotona, and the whole Empire Shai is being blackmailed into saving (kind of), view Forging the same way people view reproductions of artwork or sculptures. Its there to please the eye, nothing more. The debates the two get into are intriguing. Shai's people believe everything has a soul and its important to respect that. Gaotona's internal debates on whether or not what they're asking her to do--that is save Ashravan by Forging his soul--is ethical is what makes up the meat of this book.

I won't say what the end result is. Its unexpected in many ways and yet suits the story. Though many of the other characters are thinly written, and the world isn't as well fleshed out as his previous works, this is still a solid reading experience. This may in fact be a good book to hand to a Sanderson newbie--its short enough that they won't feel intimidated, but gives a good accounting of his writing style to lure them into his longer works. ( )
  lexilewords | Dec 28, 2023 |
"True art was more than beauty; it was more than technique. It was not just imitation. It was boldness, it was contrast, it was subtlety. In this book, Gaotona found a rare work to rival that of the greatest painters, sculptors, and poets of any era. It was the greatest work of art he had ever witnessed. "

Brandon Sanderson is best known for his long form epic fantasy: the Mistborn books, the Stormlight Archives, and of course his contributions to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Sanderson writes behemoth sized works and while they are superbly rendered, they certainly aren't books to be read in one sitting (in fact, confession, I've only made it through half of the Way of Kings- I'm basically a Sanderson newbie). Sanderson's long form epic fantasy requires time.

The Emperor's Soul, which won the Hugo Award for best Novella in 2013 could be considered Sanderson's exercise in brevity and a good entry point to his fantasy for readers realtively unacquainted with him (like me). But make no mistake, The Emperor's soul is only a mere 167 pages, but it still possesses the qualities that (I hear) make Sanderson's epic novels standouts in contemporary fantasy: excellent world building, super rad magic, excellent characters, wonderful prose.

The Emperor's Soul is about a women name Shai who is a heretic thief and a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic (um, SUPER COOL! I wish I could do this). Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor Ashravan, who is almost dead as the result of a assassination attempt. However, time is of the essence. If the emperor does not emerge after his hundred-day mourning period, the rule of the Heritage Faction will be forfeit and the kingdom will fall into chaos.

Shai has a hundred days to forge a new soul for the emperor and its not easy work. Confined to a tiny, dirty chamber, guarded by a man who hates her, spied upon by politicans, and trapped behind a door sealed in her own blood, she must probe deeply into Emperor Ashravan's truest nature while convincing councilor Gaotona (a loyal arbiter to the emperor) that forgery isn't just mere deception but rather an art.

Filled with the political machinations and scheming, Shai must deduce the motivations of her captors. Do they truly want the emperor alive? Will they kill Shai before she can finish her work?

Shai must escape her captors if she wants to see her masterpiece completed.

The Emperor’s Soul is set in the same world as the Sanderson's earlier novel Elantris (which I haven't read), but it can be read completely independently. I am told it could serve well as an introduction to Sanderson’s works, and well, consider me indoctrinated.

Even though the fate of an empire hangs in the balance, the bulk of the novella focuses on the interactions between the Forger Shai and the Arbiter Gaotona during Shai’s imprisonment, giving the story an unexpectedly intimate and somewhat claustrophobic atmosphere: the stakes are high, politicians are certainly scheming but the camera is focused almost exclusively on the all-important work Shai is doing in captivity, against her will. I appreciated this intimate scale as I think it gives the reader a good insight into the creative struggle of Shai's plight.

Once again: The magic system is really fascinating. Sanderson makes sure the reader understands every aspect of the magic system and every way it could or could not be used. The philosophical ramifications of the magic system of Forging is of great interest too. What’s the value of a work of art if almost anything can be copied through Forging? Would art only be valued by its sentimental attachments? What does it mean for a person’s identity when personalities, skills, or entire souls can be changed? Is the Forged person still the same person s/he was before the Forgery was made?

However, the only reason I am not granting this work 5 stars is because it feels a little underdeveloped. We don't really know much about the empire, its politics and its past. We don't get anything about Shai’s past (a few things are hinted at) and why she was replacing the scepter with a forgery in the first place. But these are small gripes to have with a fairly satisfying stand-alone story.

Highly recommended.
( )
  ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
It's a simple, fast and fantastic piece of work. High five! ( )
  bert42 | Nov 2, 2023 |
Viser 1-5 af 103 (næste | vis alle)
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Fiction. Science Fiction. New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson is widely celebrated for his Mistborn Trilogy and contribution to the final three books of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. In The Emperor's Soul, a Forger named Shai can copy and re-create any item by using magic to rewrite its history. After being condemned to death for attempting to steal the emperor's scepter, Shai is given one final chance. She' ll be allowed to live if she can create a new soul for the emperor, who hovers near death.

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