4.5 stars out of 5
If you have read the book Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, you will have no idea of what to expect in The Emperor’s Soul. Although they are in the same world, they are set in different cities, governments, and even focus on different magics. There are underlying similarities in the cultures, but they aren’t very prominent. I like that Sanderson explores the other magics of this world. I wish he would write other stories about Shai’s past life as she seems quite interesting. She is one of my favorite characters now too. This is a fairly quick read and can be finished in a couple of hours.
It isn’t that the magic is mundane, but the focus on the story really seems to be about explaining the different uses of soulstamping and its variants. While there is plenty of character complexity and development, the plot is more of a definition than a grand escape plan. I like to know about how the magic works, but I am used to getting my explanations more slowly throughout the length of a novel midst more conflicts. And these explanations are fraught with history lessons as well, which dulls the reading even more. As is it reads as a story meant to explain unique magic with different wordings in every encounter in case you didn’t get it the first time.
If the story was either much longer to follow more of Shai’s life and slowly describe the culture and magic or a tiny bit shorter to skip some of the redundant explanations it would be perfect. Perhaps I am being too strict as I really do like this short story. I wonder if you will too.
You can find The Emperor’s Soul on Amazon by itself or within Arcanum Unbounded.