TBR Challenge: The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson is very creative. I enjoyed reading the author’s postscript where he describes how this story began with an observation in a museum. The small page count encourages anyone to step outside their comfort zone and try something different. This is my TBR Challenge book from September. I read the book in time but my review is late. I couldn’t resist posting it anyways because the book deserves the praise.
Why was this book in Dorine’s TBR? I bought The Emperor’s Soul on a recommendation from someone I don’t know at Goodreads in December 2013. As an experiment, I asked the Goodreads community for ideas by describing the type of book I want to read. I got some unusual suggestions and I will try it again. Fantasy fiction is not my go-to sub-genre so it’s not the style of book I’d buy without a recommendation. Thanks to Alana I found a great book that hit all my “different” hot buttons.
This was my request at Goodreads: I’m looking for some tightly woven fiction novellas. A series tie-in is okay, but it needs to be standalone and not rely on series familiarity. No genre preferences as I’ll read “almost” anything but I prefer a good plot with some emotion. Something I’ll read from cover to cover because it makes me NEED to do so. What are your favorites to recommend?
The Emperor’s Soul fit my request perfectly. It’s a tightly woven story. It’s apparently a series tie-in but easily reads as a standalone. It’s a creative, suspenseful fantasy plot with some emotion. I wanted to read this cover-to-cover in a short amount of time because the story is fascinating. I really loved the art theme – such a unique plot device that matched the main character beautifully.
Wan ShaiLu specializes in art forgery. But her forgery can change reality by convincing inanimate objects to be what they desire. Just like humans have dreams, a piece of furniture can wish to be better than it is, or to resemble what it was, and Shai’s talent discovers it and then creates it. Most think she’s a thief, but Gaotona is amazed by her artistry.
When Shai is captured while trying to steal for profit, her alternative to death is to do the empire’s bidding. Their emperor was gravely injured in an attack and has been rebuilt, but he lacks the very essence of himself, his soul. Shai’s forgery talent, along with her lies, convinces them that she can give the emperor a soul that closely resembles who he was prior to the accident. This way their people will never know their emperor’s fate. Gaotona is put in charge of seeing that Shai performs her task quickly without escaping.
Will Shai accomplish what no other being has ever done, or will the thief inside her escape her imprisonment by pretending to do what is requested?
What a clever story. I like to challenge myself to expand my reading into unfamiliar territory. Brandon Sanderson has a good fan base and I can see why. I’m glad I listened to a stranger who was willing to answer my plea for something different in a small package. If you’re in the mood for a short adventure with ingenious world-building, then I recommend The Emperor’s Soul.
Reviewed by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest. Digital copy purchased.
The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
Category: Fantasy Fiction
Publisher: Tachyon Publications (October 11, 2012)
Rated 4 out of 5
What type of book are you willing to read out of your comfort zone?