|Facebook Share||Tweet This|
I'm a fan of Brandon Sanderson, and I wanted a story in a single book.
Apparently, The Emperor's Soul was set in Elantris. I did not realize this until later.
This might be my favorite standalone fantasy novel.
This book was masterfully crafted and executed. I am stunned that this was Brandon Sanderson's first published book. On top of it all its excellence, it is completely standalone. So rare to see that. This book has everything. It covers politics, religion, love, loss, magic, character growth, etc.
It starts with Raoden, the beloved crown prince of Arelon (the Kingdom just outside Elantris). Raoden is engaged to be married, but just days before the big day, he starts transforming in to an Elantrian - a once godlike group that is now cursed for reasons I won't cover. Raoden is banished to Elantris. The King announces Raoden died due to a sudden illness.
His bride, Sarene, the princess of Teod, arrives. Due to a quirk in the marriage contract, she now a widow before she is even married. This makes her both a princess of Arelon and Teod. Interesting politics come from this. She is of uncharacteristically strong will and opinion. She has swift thinking and a fighting spirit.
Next, is Hrathen, a high priest. His task is to convert Arelon (and Teod) to the Shu Dereth religion by hook or by crook. Hrathen's struggles in these tasks, plus the way his is thwarted, are the best subplots in the book.
Dilaf is Hrathen's fanatical helper. Part of Hrathen's struggles is dealing with Dilaf taking tasks to their religious extremes.
Lets get the most obviously plot point out of the way: The princess and the prince weren't able to marry. The princess thinks he died while he was actually just banished. Gee, I wonder what will happen at the end? Fortunately, like my praise for other great novels, this slice of predictability was minor and forgivable.
Major portions of the book happen inside Elantris with Raoden (mostly in misery trying to make a better life) and just outside in Arelon with Sarene thwarting Hrathen's political maneuverings.
It is hard to pick out what made this story so good to me without dropping spoilers. Perhaps it is that every interesting avenue related to a bride thinking her groom is dead was explored. Perhaps it was age-old struggle of the King versus the Church. Perhaps it was actual character growth. Perhaps a strong woman lead character. Or perhaps it was, as Brandon Sanderson suggested in the epilogue -- The hero was very likable. It was not someone with a difficult past. It was just a guy trying to do what he felt right.
In the epilogue, Brandon Sanderson describes himself as "a single draft writer". He does a lot up-front planning, and the actual writing is the final step. However, this particular book actually took a dozen drafts. It shows. Everything felt very tight and all story arcs were resolved. It moved along at a nice pace despite the book being fairly thick.
Any fan of high fantasy, particularly anything by Brandon Sanderson, should pick up this book.
|5||Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty||Jan 2020|
|4||A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy (Book 2) by Alex White||Jan 2020|
|4||A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe (Book 1) by Alex White||Jan 2020|
|4||Dungeon Lord (Book 1) by Hugo Huesca||Jan 2020|
|2||Supernova (Book 3) by Marissa Meyer||Dec 2019|
|2||The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger||Dec 2019|
|3||Last Dragon Standing (Book 5) by Rachel Aaron||Dec 2019|
|2||A Dragon of a Different Color (Book 4) by Rachel Aaron||Nov 2019|
|4||No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished (Book 3) by Rachel Aaron||Nov 2019|
|5||One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Book 2) by Rachel Aaron||Oct 2019|
|4||Nice Dragons Finish Last (Book 1) by Rachel Aaron||Oct 2019|
|3||Mistborn: The Bands of Mourning (Book 6) by Brandon Sanderson||Sep 2019|
|4||Mistborn: Shadows of Self (Book 5) by Brandon Sanderson||Sep 2019|
|5||Mistborn: The Alloy of Law (Book 4) by Brandon Sanderson||Aug 2019|
|3||Psych Ward (Book 1) by E. J. Fleming||Jul 2019|
|3||Oathbringer (Book 3) by Brandon Sanderson||Jun 2019|
|3||Gone For Good by Harlan Coben||Jun 2019|
|3||Throne of Glass (Book 1) by Sarah J. Maas||May 2019|
|4||The Stranger by Harlan Coben||Apr 2019|
|3||We Are Legion (Book 1) by Dennis E. Taylor||Apr 2019|
|4||Archenemies (Book 2) by Marissa Meyer||Apr 2019|
|4||Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell||Apr 2019|
|4||Renegades (Book 1) by Marissa Meyer||Mar 2019|
|3||Darth Plagueis: Star Wars by James Luceno||Mar 2019|
|4||The Consuming Fire (Book 2) by John Scalzi||Feb 2019|
|3||Ask an Astronaut by Tim Peake||Feb 2019|
|4||The Night Bird by Brian Freeman||Jan 2019|
|1||Throne of Jade (Book 2) by Naomi Novik||Jan 2019|
|4||His Majesty's Dragon (Book 1) by Naomi Novik||Jan 2019|
|4||Skyward by Brandon Sanderson||Jan 2019|
|4||The Coilhunter Chronicles by Dean F. Wilson||Dec 2018|
|5||The Client by John Grishman||Dec 2018|
|5||The Martian by Andy Weir||Dec 2018|
|4||One Giant Leap (Book 2) by Heather Kaczynski||Nov 2018|
|5||The Firm by John Grisham||Nov 2018|
|3||The Verdict by Nick Stone||Oct 2018|
|4||Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss||Oct 2018|
|3||Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson||Oct 2018|
|3||Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery||Sep 2018|
|3||Royal Flush (Book 3) by Rhys Bowen||Sep 2018|
|3||Words of Radiance (Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson||Sep 2018|
|3||The Way of Kings (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson||Aug 2018|
|4||Alien: The Cold Forge by Alex White||Jul 2018|
|5||NOS4A2 by Joe Hill||Jul 2018|
|5||Elantris by Brandon Sanderson||Jun 2018|
|4||Dare Mighty Things (Book 1) by Heather Kaczynski||Jun 2018|
|4||14 by Peter Clines||Jun 2018|
|3||The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven||May 2018|
|3||Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides||May 2018|
|4||A Royal Pain (Book 2) by Rhys Bowen||Apr 2018|
|5||Space Team (Book 1) by Barry J Hutchison||Apr 2018|
|3||Silent Child by Sarah A Denzil||Apr 2018|
|4||Mean Streak by Sandra Brown||Mar 2018|
|3||A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons||Mar 2018|
|4||The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams||Mar 2018|
|5||The Grid by Gretchen Bakke||Mar 2018|
|2||Dracula by Bram Stoker||Mar 2018|
|3||Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle||Mar 2018|
|2||A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow||Feb 2018|
|5||Ready Player One by Ernest Cline||Feb 2018|
|3||The Collapsing Empire (Book 1) by John Scalzi||Feb 2018|
|1||Infinity Blade: Redemption (Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson||Feb 2018|
|2||Infinity Blade: Awakening (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson||Feb 2018|
|4||Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen||Jan 2018|
|2||The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood||Jan 2018|
|3||Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff||Jan 2018|
|2||The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson||Jan 2018|
|3||Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford||Jan 2018|
|1||The X-Files : Cold Cases by Audible||Dec 2017|
|3||Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (Book 3) by Brandon Sanderson||Nov 2017|
|3||Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson||Nov 2017|
|5||Mistborn: The Final Empire (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson||Nov 2017|
|4||Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi||Oct 2017|
|5||Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson||Oct 2017|
|2||Where the Hell is Tesla by Rob Dirks||Sep 2017|
|5||Heartless by Marissa Meyer||Sep 2017|
|4||11-22-63: A Novel by Stephen King||Sep 2017|
|5||The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson||Aug 2017|
|4||Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future by John Scalzi||Aug 2017|
|5||Replay by Ken Grimwood||Aug 2017|
|5||A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle||Aug 2017|
|3||Treason by Orson Scott Card||Jul 2017|
|1||Stars Above (Book 6) by Marissa Meyer||Jul 2017|
|5||Winter (Book 5) by Marissa Meyer||Jul 2017|
|2||Fairest (Book 4) by Marissa Meyer||Jul 2017|
|3||Cress (Book 3) by Marissa Meyer||Jun 2017|
|4||Scarlet (Book 2) by Marissa Meyer||Jun 2017|
|4||Cinder (Book 1) by Marissa Meyer||Jun 2017|
|2||Red Seas Under Red Skies (Book 2) by Scott Lynch||May 2017|
|3||The Lies of Locke Lamora (Book 1) by Scott Lynch||May 2017|
|3||Crossing the Asymptote by Lysle Shields||May 2017|
|3||It by Stephen King||Mar 2017|