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.

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The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

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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.

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child pt. 1 & 2

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child pt. 1 & 2 is the 8th story in the Harry Potter storyline. While this story does continue Harry and Friends story, it is a different format than the previous stories. Book 8 is still in written form, but is in script form instead of novel form. I was wary of reading a 300 page script that was originally written for the stage and how that would play out. After a few minutes of reading it became easier to follow along and see who was speaking and the setting they were in. In some ways it was a quicker read than one of the novels, as due to the format the story couldn’t get bogged down (for better or for worse) in the details of what people were wearing, what the room looked like, etc. It was a quick read that covered a lot of ground in such a few pages.

This book felt like a Harry Potter story from the beginning, it brought me right back into the Potterverse and there was no looking back. That is one thing I liked about the story, is that there wasn’t much time spent on rehashing the past stories. This book added upon what we already knew and expanded the Harry Potter story real well. I’m interested in seeing how the play turns out and if it as entertaining as the book.

Without giving away a major plot point, there were some ‘flash backs’ and some ‘flash forwards’ that could have been long and drawn out. But they weren’t and they added an extra dimension to what we already know about the story. It was good to revisit characters who are no longer with us, but the story wasn’t too reliant on them. This story was able to stand on it’s own and created it’s own history with enjoyable new characters.

I’m not sure where they are going with this book, if it’s a start of a new series or if it’s just a quick visit back to the Wizarding World. I like they J.K. Rowling is willing to try new ways to tell stories in the world she has created, so as to keep the stories and mediums fresh and interesting. I do hope that at least a couple of more stories are told with these new characters and that these characters are allowed to have new adventures.

If you enjoyed reading the Harry Potter novels or watching the movies, but were apprehensive about the new story format, don’t worry as it worked well enough. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a good investment of time to jump back into Harry’s life and see what he’s up to nowadays. I recommend giving it a read.

 

New Dr. Strange Trailer

I’m loving this new trailer from Marvel’s upcoming Dr. Strange movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch! It’s look to add a completely new dimension to the Marvel Universe. I’m hoping that this movie will add some variety to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the movies are entertaining, I feel that we are seeing a lot of the same thing over and over in the MCU. There’s a very big Inception vibe to this movie which promises some amazing visuals and hopefully, the story will match these visuals. It’ll be interesting to see how this movie fits in to the MCU and what impact this will have on future movies.

Stranger Things

 

Stranger Things is a Netflix original series consisting of eight 50 minute episodes. As the show is set in the 1980’s, we are treated with a lot of ’80’s references throughout the show. Music, TV, movies, Dungeons and Dragons, and other pop culture references are all over the place in the show. The show could’ve been filmed in that timeframe with the tone, ambiance, sets, and everything else as the authenticity is amazing.

The show is about 4 early teenage boys who and their families who live in a small town and how they deal with a tragedy that strikes when one of the boys goes missing. The show takes us on a journey as the remaining three friends spend time searching for their missing friend. The show gets strange as monsters, other dimensions, and a girl with special powers are introduced into the story.

Stranger Things is funny, scary, intense, and nostalgic. Reminiscent of classic 1980 shows like ET and Stand by Me, as well as more recent shows like Fringe and Super 8, Stranger Things is a must see for any science fiction fan. The eight episode series is long enough to devote time to character and story development, but not too long that the story drags on unnecessarily.

 

Smallville Season 5 Episode 11-Lockdown

Two people, a man and a women, dressed as police officers break into Lex Luthor’s mansion and threaten him. He escapes into his panic room with survellance cameras. The two people make their wants known: they want the spaceship that came down in the second meteor shower.

Clark and Lana Lang are again in the loft and discuss their relationship and in the meantime, Clark discovers that Lana has been secretly researching the spaceship. They argue about it and Lana storms out.

Back at the mansion the two attackers reveal that the man was at the spaceship crash site and was one of the officers who responded. He was hiding under his patrol car and saw Lex and his people come and take the ship away.

Clark and Martha Kent discuss his relationship with Lana and Martha suggests that Clark tell Lana the truth. Pete and Chloe know the truth and they were still friends. Clark thinks about it as Lois Lane pulls up to discuss campaign strategy with Jonathan Kent.

Lana is kidnapped by the ex-officers and brought to the mansion as ransom for Lex to reveal the spaceship. Lex concedes and comes out of his panic room. Lana and Lex fight the intruders and escape back into the panic room. Lex is shot in the scuffle.

At campaign headquarters, at the Talon, Jonathan and Lois discuss campaign finances and it is revealed that Lionel Luthor has contributed a hefty sum to the campaign. As usual Jonathan is wary of anything coming from the Luthors, (rightfully so).

Clark shows up to Chloe and Lana’s dorm room and Chloe and Clark discuss Lana and how long she has been meeting with Lex and studying the spaceship. Chloe gets a call from the sheriff that Lana’s car has been found without Lana anywhere to be found.

Clark rushes to the scene, discovers a hidden GPS tracking device on Lana’s car. Clark then rushes off back to the Daily Planet. At the same time a call comes in that there is an alarm at the Luthor mansion. It is revealed that the woman attacker is currently an officer with the Sheriff Dept.

The Sheriff shows up to the mansion and confronts the female officer. She discovers foul play and ends up getting shot.

Chloe and Clark do some internet searches and find out who is behind the attack and head off to find Lana.

Martha reveals that she took the money from Lionel Luthor and she and Jonathan argue about this. Jonathan lets his pride and ego get in the way, and Martha pleads with him to be different this time.

As Lex lays dying in the panic room, he and Lana talk about hair. Lex tells Lana about his ‘Lexmas’ dream and how she was the best part of his dream. He admits to Lana that the spaceship is gone and he doesn’t know where. Lex apologizes for lying to Lana and then passes out. Lana leaves the panic room and tells the officers she will take him to the ship if they call for help for Lex. They agree and then leave the mansion.

Chloe and Clark sneak into the psychiatric hospital, via Super Shake, to review the records of the male officer. They find that Lex was observed taking the ship, and Clark runs to the mansion. He discovers the Sheriff and Lex.

The two officers take Lana to the warehouse where the ship was located, to blow it up. They don’t find it, and Lana tries to escape but is knocked out. Their bomb is activated in the scuffle, the officers leave just as Clark arrives to find Lana about to be burned up from the explosion. He runs in and grabs her and rescues her.  The officers are apprehended and Lana is treated at the scene and released. Lana and Clark discuss how Lex saved her life.

Lex recovers at the hospital and Lana comes to visit. They have a heart to heart and they talk about honesty and the truth. They agree to try and solve the mystery of the ship and to be friends. They hug as friends, and of course Clark walks by and sees them hugging. Poor Lana all she wants is a friend who will tell her the truth and be honest with her, but yet none of the men in her life will be honest with her.

Chloe and Clark talk about Lana at the Daily Planet. Clark tells Chloe that he loves Lana so much and wants to be with her for the rest of his life. Once again Clueless Clark doesn’t see the heartache on Chloe’s face as he tells her this. Chloe tells Clark he needs to tell Lana the truth about himself.

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.