Recommended Reads: The Emperor’s Soul

The Emperor's SoulIt’s no secret that I’m a fan of Brandon Sanderson‘s work. While randomly looking up his latest projects, I discovered this book was due to release soon. I honestly forgot about it until I happened to go to Barnes & Noble.

(This happened while I was at my dorm in Savannah. The nearest B&N is in the mall. For those of us without a car, this means at least a two hour bus ride. It was two and a half hours that day. I feel it’s important that my readers know I endured that–plus the two hour ride back–all for the sake of a book that’s maybe half an inch thick.)

I’m not sure exactly what I expected when I opened the book, but I was impressed. It’s not often I find a book where magic and art are combined. I also haven’t read much fiction with ties to Asian culture, so this was a wonderful new experience.

This short book takes place over 100 days–that’s how much time the main character has to forge a new soul for the emperor. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the action and the emotions. I read it twice in one day because I couldn’t get enough.

As a writer, this is definitely one of those books that helps take the pressure off trying to write some massive novel. As an artist, this reminded me that my family had given me a Chinese calligraphy and painting set. I’d never used it, so I decided to give it a try. For your enjoyment, here are the first two paintings I’ve ever done with a Chinese painting kit: Hush Mountains, Mountain Path

Recommended Reads: The Alloy of Law

This is the only series I’ve seen where a fantasy world is created, and then is revisited 300 years later as technology evolves. But it’s not just railroads and electricity advancing in the Mistborn world–Allomancy has changed, as well.

Those familiar with the series know about Mistings (those born with the ability to use one Allomantic power) and Mistborn (those born with the ability to use all Allomantic powers). The Alloy of Law introduces two new kinds of people: Ferrings (those born with the ability to use one Feruchemic power) and Twinborn (those born with one Feruchemic power and one Allomantic power). The world of Mistborn has taken on an old-west and steampunk feel, making the story even more irresistable.

Those unfamiliar with the series will want to pick up the first book and get started.

Waxillium Ladrian uses his Twinborn powers as a lawman in the Roughs. After twenty years of that life, he is forced to return to the city of Elendel and assume his responsibility as the lord of his noble house. He puts away his guns for good and reluctantly settles in the life of a nobleman until havoc strikes the city on a major scale. Wax balances the line between rough and refined, immediately becoming another of my favorite characters.

Helping Wax with his investigations are Wayne, an old friend from the Roughs, and Lady Marasi, a young woman studying law. Wayne is another wonderful character, making me laugh with the usual sharp dialogue one can expect from Sanderson. Marasi is a joy to follow, as well. I greatly look forward to these characters returning in the next novel. (With an ending like this one, there has to be another one!)

Brandon Sanderson delivers another inspiring work of genius with this book. I will never be able to get over his characters, the intwined stories, and the insane surprises that will keep me reading for hours and hours. I eagerly await any information on the next book.

One of McSweeney's illustrations from The Alloy of Law

I would also like to extend my approval to Mr. Ben McSweeney, one of two illustraters who contributed to this book. Without following Mr. McSweeney on deviantART, I probably would not have known about this book until after it was released. Many thanks to you!

Recommended Reads: Mistborn

I came across Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn a year or two ago when an accquaintance literally threw it at me. My friend had been reading the chapters of my novel that I e-mailed him, and he threw Mistborn into my lap, saying my character reminded him of the one in this book. It sat on my shelf for a time until I randomly picked it up and read the first page.

I can’t remember how long it took me to put it down, but only the necessity of eating stopped me from continuing.

This book has amazing twists in it, the kind that make you jump up and down and shout (as if the author could hear you) “How could you do this?!” and yet still be in love. One of the best parts of this book is that it is followed by two others.

The back of the book tells you a hero tried to save the world, but failed and allowed the world to become “a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor known as the Lord Ruler.” The horrid, depressing world is described so wonderfully, I look out my window and am surprised to find it is not raining ash.

Inside that world are incredible characters, from the brave street urchin Vin (the novel’s protagonist), to the charming and powerful Kelsier, and the mysterious Lord Ruler himself. These people really drive the story, and there is no way to quit reading before the last page.

The system of magic Sanderson sets up is completely new, and the way it influences the political atmosphere of the Final Empire is incredible. I’m so happy I own a copy, because I can’t wait to start reading it again. The story is strong enough for the first book to stand alone, but you will not want to ignore the others of the trilogy (The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages).

Mistborn will blow your mind no matter how many times you read it, and you will not be able to resist turning the pages.