Thursday, September 01, 2016

The Emperor's Soul, by Brandon Sanderson

book cover The Emperor's Soul is set in the same world as Elantris, but for all intents and purposes it is a standalone story. It's not a full size book, but it's a bit longer than a short story. In it we find a type of magic called Forging, by which someone can carve and use a complicated seal to change the history of an object or, indeed, a soul. The forging needs to be very precise and as close as possible to the actual history of the target, otherwise the magic doesn't "stick". So what must a brilliant forger do in order to do the forbidden soul forging? They must know their target so intimately that they can't ultimately hurt them.
An intriguing idea, yet Brandon Sanderson does what he does best and focuses on the characters, while the story itself reveals the underlying motivation of each and how it affects the final outcome. The descriptions are minimal and the ending is optimistic and personal as Sanderson often likes his finales.
Since the story is short and I had no trouble reading it in a single evening, it is almost a pity not to read it, even if in itself is just a tiny "what if" tale and offers nothing spectacular.