The Hope of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

I recently read The Hope of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson as it has recently been released in the anthology book, Arcanum Unbound: The Cosmere Collection. 

The Hope of Elantris follows a group of citizens of Elantris as the final events of Elantris unfold. It is a behind the scenes look at a group of children and their caretaker, Matisse, from inside the city of Elantris during the final battle of Elantris.

As the soldiers attack Elantris, Matisse is able to take the children of Elantris to safety and is able to use her wits to keep them safe. Matisse was able to distract the soldiers by drawing an Aon that drew their attention and they began to pursue Matisse instead of the children. Just as the soldiers were about to hurt Matisse and make her Hoed, all Elantrians were healed and they were able to defeat the attacking soldiers and emerge victorious.

The story was quick and easy to read, and while didn’t provide much additional information to the overall story of Elantris, it was good to revisit the story. I read it right after finishing Elantris and felt that while it added something to the overall story of Elantris, if you were to never read The Hope of Elantris you would be just fine too.

I recommend the story if your able to get your hands on it, as it would take about 20 minutes to read it.

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

emperorssoul

 

Return to the Cosmere world of Sel in the novella of The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson. The story of Elantris and this one both take place on Sel, but are not overtly connected and don’t rely on each other narratively (at least at this point). This novella was recently released in the collection of stories, Arcanam Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson.

In The Emperor’s Soul we are introduced to a new magic system and a new civilization. We meet Shai who is a thief and a Forger, who is being held captive for theft by a group of nobles who need her to restore the Emperor’s soul to him. The Emperor was attacked by assassin’s, and while he still lives, he is in a coma and unable to speak. A bargain is struck with Shai that if she is able to restore the Emperor, they will let her go.

The magic system that Shai is able to use is called Forging. This requires that the Forger learn all she can about her subject and recreate memories, habits, opinions, etc. and put them into a soulstone stamp so that the individual can use this soulstamp on a daily basis to remind them of their lost memories.

Most of the story takes place in Shai’s room that she is being imprisoned in while creating the soulstamp for the Emperor. While this sounds kind of boring, it’s actually filled with great character development, political intrigue, and interesting world building. The story takes place over a period of 90 days, but moves really fast and has great pacing.

While The Emperor’s Soul is only a novella and takes place in such a confined area, there is so much information learned about this newly introduced Rose Empire of Sel. The devil is in the details as they say. I guarantee you’ll be reading this one over and over to try and figure out how it not only connects with Elantris, but the rest of the Cosmere.

 

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

The Emperor’s Soul is another amazing story by Brandon Sanderson.  We are introduced to characters that evolve before our eyes in the short timeframe of the events of the story.  Another new intriguing magic system, Forging, is revealed by Brandon that brings a freshness to the story. There is a depth to The Emperor’s Soul that demonstrates Brandon’s mastery of storytelling, whether it is 1000 page novel or a short story as this.

The story starts off in what seems to be the last moments of Shai’s life, but she is given a second chance in exchange for services to the Emperor’s advisors. The Emperor has been attacked and his life and soul hang in the balance. Shai is brought in to save the Emperor’s soul.  Shai is a Forger with a gift for changing the nature of things for the better. The majority of the story is how Shai is locked in a room and tasked to recreate the Emperor’s soul, however there is so much more going on than this.

The Emperor’s Soul is one of those stories that as you’re reading you come to realize something more is going on than what is being revealed. There are different levels of planning by Shai going on, not only are we privy to what all the characters know is going on, but we are also “let in” on what Shai is planning to do in her head. However, there is another level to the story that is not revealed to us until the end. Breadcrumbs are left throughout the story and hints are dropped. Towards the latter end of the story, we are able to realize something else is going on, but not until the last scenes do we see it come to fruition.

The concept of Forging and the art that it is as presented in the story is a very interesting concept for a “magic system” in the story. Although a little difficult to understand at first, Brandon does a great job at providing small examples throughout the story that reveal more about the art and solidify it’s believability in the story.

Although not part of the story, there is a Postscript at the end of the book that discusses how Brandon came up with the idea of Forging that was personable and great insight to Forging.  The Postscript also mentions that this story takes place in the same world as Elantris, Sel. There are no direct links from the story to the events in the story Elantris or it’s characters.

The Emperor’s Soul is a great story that is told with depth and complexity, in both characterization and plot. I felt that Shai’s character, as well as all the characters were well developed and were believable in their emotions and motivations.  The plot was very well thought out and contained many twists and turns, that were amazingly well carried out for the length of the story. The angst that existed throughout the story was very well done and existed in many different forms. While reading, I often found myself becoming anxious for Shai and her predicament and that she only had a certain amount of time to complete her task.  As time ran down and her plans were put into motion, it was very fulfilling to see it all come together.

One of Brandon’s strength’s in my mind has been his ability to put several story lines in motion and to bring them all to fulfillment in a fast paced and believable manner. That strength combined with his fighting/battle scenes, are always amazing and fun to read. There is a little bit of fighting at the end of the story.

I wholeheartedly recommend The Emperor’s Soul for everyone. There are no inappropriate scenes of sex, sensuality or violence. A core aspect of the story is being genuine and learning to trust. A good lesson to learn for anyone. The Emperor’s Soul is entertaining and will hold up well to multiple readings.

Legion by Brandon Sanderson

Legion is a quickly moving story about how Stephen Leeds uses his condition of having “hallucinations” for his benefit and for the benefit of others. These hallucinations are personalities that manifest themselves to Stephen, and the reader, as actual persons. As a result of these others he is able to quickly adapt to new situations that arise and uses these hallucinations to solve conflicts. Stephen comes across as crazy to those around him, but in his opinion is “perfectly sane”. These hallucinations have their own individual personalities, likes, desires and flaws.

Legion is well written and has a good pace. For the length of the story there is good character and story development in the amount of time available to do so.  Legion is a fun book that can be read in an hour or two and is enjoyable.

As Legion begins we are introduced to the main character, Stephen Leeds, who is by his account, a genius. However, he is plagued by these hallucinations. These hallucinations are separate persons with their own personalities and agendas. Stephen interacts with them as individuals and relies on them for information throughout the course of the story. While this phenomenom is not explained or fleshed out (which is what the author seems to have done intentionally), it is intriguing to read.  The reader is expected to read on without the explanation being given, however it doesn’t impact the story. There are hints in the story that this wasn’t always the case with Stephen and that it was a condition that was brought on to him somehow.

There are a couple of interesting things about Legion that captured my interest from the start. One is the concept of having multiple personalities being a help and not a hinderance to one’s life. This concept is addressed in the story, not only in theory but also demonstrated throughout the story, which is one of the reasons why the reader doesn’t get hung up on “How does this all work?”.   Another interesting concept is the MacGuffin (that is more fully fleshed out than most) of the camera and how it is included in the plot of the story. While this MacGuffin lends itself to science fiction, it was believable and fun to read. With the inclusion of this particular MacGuffin and it’s capabilities, the story is like a modern day Indiana Jones adventure – but better.

This short novella is one of Brandon Sanderson’s shorter books, and as Brandon is known for his lengthy novels this can come as a surprise for those that haven’t read one of his shorter stories. While Brandon’s longer novels are amazing, his short novellas are just as entertaining. Such is the case for Legion.  With the speed and efficiency that Brandon writes his books, I’m sure there will be a follow up to this story especially since the ending leads us to believe that there are more Stephen Leeds stories to tell.

I recommend this novella to all readers who enjoy a good mystery. There is a little bit of violence, akin to a PG movie, and there are no scenes of sex and no swearing.

Legion Novel


I recently got my latest book, Legion by Brandon Sanderson published by Subterranean Press. It’s a shorter Sanderson novel as it’s only about 88 pgs, but it sounds interesting. The cool thing that Brandon is doing with this release, is that he is giving away, yes – giving away for FREE! – an ebook copy to everyone who buys this book. All you have to do is send him a photo of you holding YOUR book (that you bought) and he will email you a copy of the Legion ebook. Pretty cool, huh? For those that don’t know Brandon, that’s par for the course for him.

The Alloy Of Law

I was excited to watch the growth of this book, chronicled on Twitter and Facebook,  as it rapidly grew from a short novella to a full on novel. Although still a ‘short’ story by Brandon Sanderson’s standards, it is a worthy entry into Brandon’s world of Mistborn. The prior trilogy of novels dealt with Min and her adventures, while this new book jumps ahead in time hundreds of years. In this novel, it is akin to a Western novel set in the Mistborn world. The hero, Waxillium (Wax) Ladrian,  is a bounty hunter type who works on the fringes of society, in a Wild West setting with a Steampunk flair.

After a devastating event in the first scene of the book, Wax returns to the main capitol and we find out that not only is Wax a bounty hunter, he is also a noble with lands and an estate with lots of money. Wax gives up his bounty hunting and tries to live a respectable life, settle down and get married. Well, this new lifestyle for Wax doesn’t last long as a new mystery develops and Wax jumps into the thick of things to try and resolve this new conflict.

While the story of The Alloy of Law is entertaining and fast paced, the most entertaining part of the story is the advancement of the magic system – Allomancy.  There are some new twists with Allomancy and Wax is a creative genius with these powers at his disposal. Wax demonstrates his expertise with Allomancy throughout the story and shows an intelligence that is not dependent solely on Allomancy.

Not only has the Allomancy progressed but the civilization has as well. Electricity, trains, and guns play a major part in the story.  These new advancements in technology not only stand on their own and play a part in the story, but combined with Allomancy, this technology brings about scenarios that could not occur in the original Mistborn trilogy. This makes for a very entertaining story.

These new technological and magical advancements take a back seat to Brandon Sanderson’s writing. As usual Brandon brings his fast paced, easy to read and well written style to this novel. He creates a great main character in Wax, and the secondary characters are well developed for the amount of storytime they are given. The plot is well developed, easy to follow and makes sense throughout the narrative. My only complaint of the story is that it is too short! I’m used to the sprawling and lengthy novels that take weeks to read that Brandon has written in the past.  This novel took me about two days to read (reading after work) and when I was done I was left wanting more.  Primarily due to how good the story was and how fun it was to read. However, I guess that is one of the goals of the writer; to create a story that when it is done, the reader is left satisfied but yet wanting more which was definitely the case with Alloy of Law.