"The Emperor's Soul" deserves all of the stars. All of the praise.
“There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person's life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn't take on step, then find yourself in a completely new location. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. ”
You know what this book's only flaw is? It's way too short.
Oh, don't worry, the story is all perfectly wrapped up and beautiful. There just needs to be more of this because "The Emperor's soul" is a masterpiece. I could easily read 500 more pages of this.
That said, this is the best thing I've read this year and it's only 175 pages. The novella is a Hugo Award Winner and I definitely see why.
175 pages to develop a page turning story with deep background and great characters.
175 pages to create one of the best female main character ever.
175 pages to have reader guessing the next turn and twist.
175 pages apparently was all Brandon Sanderson needed to blow my mind.
“She took a deep breath and let herself become someone else. An imitation of herself who was calm, even in a situation like this.”
Sanderson has an uncanny ability to write amazing female characters. I've noticed that since the very first pages Vin (Mistborn) was introduced, and once again from the very first pages of Shai in this book. First of all Shai wears glasses! Hello, I haven't ever read of a girl in a book, let alone fantasy book, who wears glasses! So, as a fellow glass wearer, I approve of this a 100 percent.
Shai is both overly confident and the most humble. She is brilliant. Yes, some of her morals might be askew, but she has a big heart and a shining soul.
What I find absolutely refreshing from Sanderson's books is that he never focuses on his character's appearances. It doesn't matter what a person looks like - what matters is how they behave themselves, how they present themselves and what their skills and talents are. I feel that this is a very important message to deliver in a world where everyone and everything is judged by looks.
“People,” Shai said, rising to fetch another seal, “by nature attempt to exercise power over what is around them. We build walls to shelter us from the wind, roofs to stop the rain. We tame the elements, bend nature to our wills. It makes us feel as if we’re in control.”
Since this is a short novella I don't want to write anything that might give something away. All I'm going to say is - do yourselves a favor - read it. If you are not into fantasy - read it. Who knows, this might be the book that will get you into it. And if you are Sanderson's fan, but haven't read this yet- you are missing out big time.
"The Emperor's Soul" is going on my all-time-favorite-books shelf and it will stay there forever and ever.
Freelance BETA reader.