Monday, January 12, 2015

The Emperor's Soul

By Brandon Sanderson

When Shai is caught replacing the Moon Scepter with her nearly flawless forgery, she must bargain for her life. An assassin has left the Emperor Ashravan without consciousness, a circumstance concealed only by the death of his wife. If the emperor does not emerge after his hundred-day mourning period, the rule of the Heritage Faction will be forfeit and the empire will fall into chaos.
Shai is given an impossible task: to create—to forge—a new soul for the emperor in less than one hundred days. But her soul-Forgery is considered an abomination by her captors. She is confined to a tiny, dirty chamber guarded by a man who hates her, spied upon by politicians, and trapped behind a door sealed in her own blood. Shai’s only possible ally is the emperor’s most loyal counselor, Gaotona, who struggles to understand her true talent.
Time is running out for Shai. Forging, while deducing the motivations of her captors, she needs a perfect plan to escape…

I read this book by Brandon Sanderson because I saw on Goodreads that it was set in the same world as Elantris, but as far as I could tell it wasn’t in the same world at all, or it was so removed it could’ve been another world. It’s set in an Asian-like atmosphere where there is an emperor (hence the title) and politicians, courtesans, and clans. We are brought into the story when Shai, a Forger, is given an ultimatum; make a new soul for the wounded Emperor, or be sentenced to death for her crimes. Shai is a different sort of protagonist because she is inordinately proud and skilled in forging, or making one thing look like another. She is renowned for her ability to forge souls, something that is forbidden because it is thought to be a heresy. Shai is a slight female with a sharp tongue, needs spectacles, and is an artist in the highest degree. While Shai struggles under her deadline to Forge the emperor’s soul, she is watched by Gaotona, one of the only true friends the emperor had. The journey that this short book takes us on is extraordinary and fascinating, as Sanderson explains Forging and the science behind it as well as explore the hidden depths of a soul. This is a solid book in Sanderson’s arsenal, and I enjoyed finding the philosophical and moral questions that were brought up in the telling. This was a deeper book and left a lot open when the book was finished. It isn’t everyone’s favorite from Sanderson, but I think it is a great read.

I give it a 4.25 out of 5

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