Book Reviews

Review: The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

This is my first ever Brandson Sanderson story and I’m not sure how I feel. I haven’t read any of his long form works, but when Tachyon emailed about The Emperor’s Soul I was intrigued. I thought, could this be the first of many Sanderson books? Find out my full thoughts in this book review.


A heretic thief is the empire’s only hope in this fascinating tale that inhabits the same world as the popular novel, Elantris.

Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead.

Probing deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan’s truest nature—and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that Shai’s forgery is as much artistry as it is deception.

Brimming with magic and political intrigue, this deftly woven fantasy delves into the essence of a living spirit.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I approached The Emperor’s Soul with intrigue and trepidation. But then I sort of talked myself out of it. I thought, this novella has won a Hugo and it’s also from this giant author right now. After Sanderson’s Kickstarter, I feel like the whole world who might not have been intrigued, now knows his name. Additionally, I loved the idea of forgery being the basis for this magic and concept. The idea of forging pieces of arts and being sort of theoretically continued to people.

To this idea of what makes a person? An original? And can we ever replicate it. If we know someone’s history, do we have the pieces necessary to create a person? A life? While I enjoyed Shai’s character – especially the pieces of her backstory we get to know – I wished the themes and questions were developed a bit more. The more I think about all these questions and pondering, I recognize the promise. I just wanted more space for these questions to develop especially towards the end.

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That being said, if you’re also intrigued by this idea of forgery, then this definitely is worth a read. I suppose if you look at novellas as ways for readers to be introduced to a new author’s work, and intrigued to begin reading, then this is a good taste test. But for me, I’m not quite ready for the plunge. Find The Emperor’s Soul on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound,, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite novella from an author?

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