📚 The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

Reviewed Nov. 2019

Narrator: Angela Lin
Length: 3 hours 55 minutes
Publisher: Recorded Books⎮2012

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Summary

When Shai is caught replacing the Moon Scepter with her nearly flawless forgery, she must bargain for her life. An assassin has left the Emperor Ashravan without consciousness, a circumstance concealed only by the death of his wife. If the emperor does not emerge after his hundred-day mourning period, the rule of the Heritage Faction will be forfeit and the empire will fall into chaos.

Shai is given an impossible task: to create—to Forge—a new soul for the emperor in less than one hundred days. But her soul-Forgery is considered an abomination by her captors. She is confined to a tiny, dirty chamber, guarded by a man who hates her, spied upon by politicians, and trapped behind a door sealed in her own blood. Shai's only possible ally is the emperor's most loyal counselor, Gaotona, who struggles to understand her true talent.

Time is running out for Shai. Forging, while deducing the motivations of her captors, she needs a perfect plan to escape...

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Like many other reviewers, The Emperor's Soul was my first Brandon Sanderson novel, but I hope it won't be my last. Sanderson is an author that I've always aspired to hear, but whom I've also always been a bit intimidated by. Most of his books are 20+ hours long and although that may not intimidate me in other genres, Epic Fantasy is something I've struggled with for the last couple of years.

I began The Emperor's Soul in August, when I was feeling particularly spontaneous and optimistic. However, I didn't realize that it was basically a spinoff novella from Sanderson's Elantris universe. I saw that this title was significantly shorter than his others and thought it might be a good entry point into Sanderson's work. I'm pleased to say that this tactic worked in initiating me into this world and his writing style.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I was able to not only enjoy The Emperor's Soul, but also follow it. That's been a sticking point for me when listening to epic fantasies in the recent past. Many of them are so dense in their world building that I inevitably become overwhelmed and throw in the towel. But sometimes, I just want to be immersed in another world and this was one of those times when I wasn't just immersed, but completely swept away. If this is what Sanderson is capable of, then sign me up for more!

I would have begun the main series immediately after finishing The Emperor's Soul if not for the fact that I suffered a personal tragedy (my cat died) just after finishing this audiobook which definitely broke me out of its spell and put me off listening to anything for a while. However, I completely intend to return to Sanderson in 2020 and I'm looking forward to it!

Note that The Emperor's Soul is connected to the Elantris universe, but can definitely be heard alone. I don't often make that recommendation, but in this case, I'm comfortable making it out of personal experience. I heard The Emperor's Soul without even realizing it was connected to another series. I'm not sure if there are any cameos from characters seen elsewhere in the main series, but from what I've gleaned from Goodreads, the two are pretty separate, apart from the world they inhabit.

Narration review: From what I recall, Angela Lin provided an excellent listening experience. I remember being particularly pleased with her characterization. There were a number of characters, of all ages and social statuses, and she provided subtle, but distinct vocalizations for each of them. It doesn't look like she has narrated anymore for Sanderson, which is a shame, because I would love to hear her work again. ♣︎

Let me know what you think!

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