Look at that cover! Isn’t it awesome?! I love it. It is mysterious, beautiful, sexy, and the way she slightly frowns at us says "I can do anything I set my mind to” and “Back off, I can forge souls”. Perfect cover.
When an attempt is made on the Emperor’s life that leaves him without a functioning brain, the Emperor’s closest advisors must allow a Forger to re-create the Emperor’s soul. Although they find Forgers an abomination, they make a deal with Shai, a Forger waiting to die.
Although the advisors tell Shai that she will be free after she completes the near impossible task, she knows that they will likely kill her. Does she dare finish Forging the Emperor’s soul?
Shai's character is interesting and compelling. I love the way she deals with people. Her imaginary (because what her Aunt really is, is too difficult to explain without reading the book) Aunt Sol says tells Shai to “smile at the worst insults and snap at the minor ones. That way, no man would know your heart.” How brilliant is that?! Shai is everything you want in a main character. Devastatingly smart, strong, and passionate. She also has this wonderful sense of honor that near to none of the other characters do.
One of my favorite things about Sanderson is how real his worlds feel. The world, his characters, their personal drives and motivations all are…fantastically constructed. They are the gaping difference between characters and characterizations. And his magic systems! The amount of intricate thought that goes into his magic is just…boggling. At one point Shai describes how she could have used Forgery to escape her prison. She talks about having to know the properties of each object, its history. That way she can change it. On some level Sanderson himself must understand what Shai does in order to be able to write it convincingly. I cannot believe he fakes knowing. But then the question arises, how does one go about learning the history of stone, or the properties of wood? And understanding how Shai would know all this, how she would look at the world around her having that knowledge? Ugh. My head hurts just thinking about it. This is why Sanderson is a god of writing.
There is absolutely nothing I can say I didn’t like about this book. It is short (unlike so many of Sanderson’s books), yet has depth. It is the perfect book to start on if you want to try out Sanderson’s work but are too nervous to pick up larger books like Way of Kings. (You should, by the way, Way of Kings is an indescribable masterpiece) I give The Emperor’s Soul 5 out of 5 stars. If I could I would give this book a 7 or 8 star out of 5, that is how above and beyond amazing Sanderson is. But I can’t. I would also like to point out that this book is completely different than the last five star book I reviewed: Paranormalcy. The Emperor’s Soul is adult fantasy, and is on a whole other level than YA fantasy. So I’d like to point that out because genre does matter to some readers. This is five star adult fantasy, Paranormalcy is five star YA fantasy.
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