Brandon Sanderson is easily one of the best fantasy writers alive today, and reading any book of his has the warm feeling of falling into the hands of a master. You are safe and secure in a beautifully constructed plot with compelling characters. The Emperor’s Soul, though short enough to be a novella rather than a novel, has these usual characteristics.
I enjoy novels greatly in which the characters are fully-formed prior to the opening of the novel, and such is the case here – Shai is not insecure, defensive, needy – she knows who she is and what she wants from life, and is both a brilliant Forger and a brilliant manipulator, but is also capable of empathy. Her time at the palace pushes her just that little bit toward the empathetic side, and she finds a note of redemption in it. Her defeat of her well-meaning but slow-witted guards and the sorcerer who helps the arbiters keep her captive is immensely satisfying. It’s a funny, tense, and gripping novella, and Shai is such a great, complex character that you’re left wanting more of her at the end. Highly recommend.
Read the rest of Hellar’s review at Coffee and Irony.
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Cover art © 2009 by Alexander Nanitchkov. Design by Elizabeth Story.