Goodreads: The Emperor’s Soul
Series: None (world of Elantris)
Shai is a Forger–one of the best. But the arbiters who rule the empire believer her art is nothing more than a trick, or, at the worst, a heresy. But now, as the result of an assassination attempt, the emperor sleeps in a coma and when he wakes, an enemy faction will no doubt declare him unfit to rule. So the arbiters need Shai. They need her to do the impossible. They need her to refashion a soul for the emperor.
Brandon Sanderson possesses a love for intricate worlds and systems of magic that enables him to write fantasies that feel both startlingly original and real. The readers becomes engrossed in the work of Forgery along with Shai, who must perform months of research into the history of the object she wishes to refashion before she can stamp it and coax it into becoming something else. Her love of her craft transmits itself to readers, who will, I suspect, come to love and admire her even as I did.
Though this work is set in the world of Elantris, readers need not have read Elantris to enjoy it (I didn’t.). Shai’s story is a perfectly contained novella focused on her work, her skills, and her past. It feels like the right story for a novella–just long enough, with just enough mystery and a few loose ends to make readers wish for more. The explanations of the magic, meanwhile, are more succinct than seems usual with Sanderson–Shai provides just enough information for Gaotano, one of the arbiters who hired her to Forge a soul, to follow her work. Thus, readers are not as likely to find themselves compelled to skip a few pages, as they might have with Mistborn, should dialogue full of information not be their cup of tea.
Altogether, The Emperor’s Soul is an enchanting and an engrossing fantasy, one sure to please fans of Sanderson, but one that is also sure to appeal to fans of the genre in general.