This was a gift from my dear friend Dustin who didn't even know that one of my reading goals for 2018 is to go beyond my usual genres of contemporary, women’s and historical fiction. Well, he couldn’t have done a better job of introducing me to fantasy fiction.
I literally devoured this novella. As in, I read all 175 pages in one sitting. That never happens. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson is easily one of the most imaginative stories I've ever read, and my only regret is that I didn’t savor it more.
The story centers on an Emperor who survives an assassination attempt with his body intact but his mind erased, and the master Forger, Shai, who is tasked with Forging a new soul for him before the public finds out. So Frankenstein meets Katniss Everdeen, sort of.
The book is gripping and philosophical. “To Forge something you had to know its nature, its past.” It is also fable-like in its insight into the human condition. "Copy an image over and over on a stack of paper and eventually the lower sheets will bear the same image, pressed down. Deep within."
To read this book is to think hard about art, and the human capacity to make things anew. “The table’s dull grey splintery cedar became beautiful and well maintained, with a warm patina that reflected the light of the candles sitting across from her.” Sanderson’s imagery has been known to make grown men cry.
The next time you are faced with a free Sunday afternoon, get lost in The Emperor’s Soul’s lyrical prose and page-turner of a plot. Best paired with a strong drink, medallions of elk and bunches of fruit.