My husband loves all Brandon Sanderson stories, so I bought these for his birthday. Surprisingly, I read them before he did.
I was a little surprised it was only 44 pages long. I bought the hardcover, but found out the second half of the book was a preview for “Firefight.” It did have interesting pictures of a couple Epics though, so you win some, you lose some. For being so short, it does really well to capture the humor and tensity of the Reckoners series. It also does well to show a quick episode of conflict between the first two books of the series. I highly suggest reading “Steelheart” first. ***3 stars***
The main character(s) of this short story are nicely defined in the first two sentences of the book:
“My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad.”
Love it. Stephen is ‘normal,’ but each of his 40+ imaginary friends has a mental disability. Queue: philosophical/psychological hilarity. They are also experts in specific fields, telling Stephen what to do, making him seem like a genius to everyone else. It’s interesting how this story also delves into religious proofs and ways certain technology could be used and abused.
My biggest problem with this short story is it’s too short! It’s 72 pages I wanted a full-length novel on these characters and their conflicts! A lot of backstories are referenced, and a lot of interesting questions are posed without answers. There is a sequel, and I definitely want to go pick it up. ****4 stars****
The Emperor’s Soul:
This one is included in Sanderson’s “cosmere.” It’s 175 pages and winner of the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novella. Because it’s set in the same world as “Elantris,” I supposed it would have some connections to Sanderson’s first novel. No. The only connection is the idea that magic is done through the drawing of characters/words. On the plus side, that means you don’t need to have read “Elantris” to enjoy “The Emperor’s Soul.”
For being a book about understanding people – even to understanding their souls, you get deep characterization about three characters. The rest are left pretty flat, but that’s a common downside for novellas. The general plot is interesting, as a Forger’s life hangs on creating a soul for the Emperor while she also plots to escape. It also discusses some interesting ideas of art: its creation and ‘realness.’ For its intriguing ideas and details on people and cultures, ****4 stars****