Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Last Empress” as Want to Read:
The Last Empress
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Last Empress (Empress Orchid #2)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  6,650 Ratings  ·  461 Reviews
The last decades of the nineteenth century were a violent period in China’s history marked by humiliating foreign incursions and domestic rebellion, ultimately ending in the demise of the Ch’ing dynasty. The only constant during this tumultuous time was the power wielded by one person, the resilient, ever-resourceful Tzu Hsi, Lady Yehonala -- or Empress Orchid, as readers ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 7th 2008 by Mariner Books (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Tea Jovanović
Knjiga "Carica" autorke Šan Sa je zakon za ovaj roman... Naravno, ima veze i loš prevod... :(
Crystal Starr Light
May 15, 2015 Crystal Starr Light rated it really liked it
Recommended to Crystal Starr Light by: Iset
Bullet Review:

So bittersweet at the end. The biggest problem with this though was how hurried and rushed it felt in places. When Min was given the time to flesh out a scene and spend time in it, THAT was pure gold.

Full Review:

Empress Orchid (Empress Dowager Cixi) has lost her beloved husband, the Emperor Hsien Feng. Together with Empress Nuharoo, she raises their son, Tung Chih to be Emperor. But there are trials and struggles, internal and external, not to mention a media and Western world that
Dec 06, 2008 Lydia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely not as good as Empress Orchid. There were about 100 pages in the middle that I was really stuggling to get through....I enjoyed the first part and last parts a lot though. Ended up being glad I finished it.

In Empress Orchid they really got into who she was and why. This book seemed so busy trying to make it through the rest of her life that it wasn't as well developed. Perhaps she should have divided into 2 books...

I still found it a fascinating and educational look at who the last Em
Andreea Ursu-Listeveanu
Un pic mai istorica decat Imparateasa Orhidee, Ultima imparateasa e mai apasatoare. Mor multe personaje, iar greutatile,durerea, piedicile si razboaiele cu care se confrunta imparateasa de-a lungul regentei sale sunt greu de indurat si pentru cititor, daramite pentru ea. mi-a placut si cartea asta, dar parca mai mult prima. N-am citit multe despre ultima imparateasa a Chinei, Tzu-Hsi, dar am citit ca a fost nemiloasa, sangeroasa, neinduplecata etc. Anchee Min, prin aceste doua carti, ii da un dr ...more
May 29, 2012 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, china, 2012-reads
I regret not being able to read Empress Orchid by Anchee Min before reading The Last Empress. I assume Empress Orchid reveals Orchid's childhood and rise to the throne. Reading the books in sequence would have filled in some of the gaps, nevertheless, Min supplies the necessary information to understand the Empress's life.

In my youth, I gobbled up books about English and some French aristocracy. Whether it was romances, historical fiction or biographies made little difference. However, the heavy
I had to be strong for my son. Although Tung Chih, who was seven, had been Emperor for two years, since ascending the throne in 1861, his regime had been chaotic.

The follow-up to her acclaimed Empress Orchid, Anchee Min continues to tell the story of real-life Empress Tzu Hsi, who governs China on behalf of her son in the midst of huge changes in the world order. China, which had always been resistant to change, was powerless as Japan took over parts of her provinces, while France and Russia
Jul 29, 2012 Chris rated it liked it
At times, I found myself getting tried of the book, and then there would be this wonderful passage of sheer poetry.

This continues the story of Orchid. At times, it feels like Anchee Min is going down a checklist, but I did like the use of perspective as well as whether or not to trust the voice. It does capture the confusion of the time as well as time and place.

Worth reading if you have read the first volume.
Oct 10, 2009 K rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K by: Mintzis
I'm not going to make it through 50 pages. First of all, as Jill noted in her review, Min basically takes what's written in the history books, puts quotes around it, and calls it dialogue, with occasional brief references to how it makes the empress feel. I felt this was true of Empress Orchid as well, and I don't have the patience to plow through another book like that. Second, as other goodreads reviewers noted, this book is extremely rushed, with each chapter picking up a few years after the ...more
Jan 18, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was absolutetly fascinating. The first book in the series Empress Orchid was an amazing book too. Detailing China's history, The Last Empress not only focuses on the Empress and her struggles, but also the struggle of China to merge its cultural past with the "western" technologies and advancements that are needed to enable China to compete in the world. This book made me want to take a Chinese history class. In both books by Anchee Min, I was amazed at the great lengths she ...more
Anchee Min is one of my favourite authors, and Empress Orchid is one of my favorite books, but this sequel seems to delve a little more into Empress Cixi's evil reputation, making the main character more and more unlikeable. She's still an engaging protagonist, but it did cut into my enjoyment of the book compared to the first.

With Cixi's power temporarily solidified, The Last Empress has a distinctly different feel than the original story in Empress Orchid (which was more about learning the ro
Arduous reading but fascinating portrayal of Empress Tzu Hsi, Orchid, the concubine who bore the Emperor's son and heir to the throne. She was the power behind the Ch'ing dynasty for forty years as she outlived her son and her adopted son, both of whom were weak and ineffective rulers. I got interested in this woman as her portrait is on display at VMFA's amazing exhibit of "The Forbidden City," and I wanted to learn more about her. This revisionist historical novel doesn't exactly flow, and the ...more

In terms of writing quality, Anchee Min is consistent here with this book’s prequel; Empress Orchid. Min writes with a wonderful ease and flow, combining imaginative description with show over tell. The Last Empress differs from Empress Orchid in construction of plot and pacing however. Whilst Empress Orchid covered a handful of years of the eponymous character’s life, The Last Empress covers several decades. This means the pacing is considerably different. Empress Orchid had the leisure to dwel
May 27, 2012 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our book club read the first of these two books ("Empress Orchid" by Anchee Min) and I just had to know the rest of the story, so I sought out "The Last Empress." I'm glad I did, especially after I did some research upon finishing this book. Anchee Min did an amazing job of taking the facts of history (the positive and inaccurate) regarding this time in Chinese history, and intertwined it into a story that made it more human and real than any history book or lecture.

Every mother wishes the best
Sara Zovko
Nastavak ne tako dobar kao prvi dio, što je stvarno šteta, jer me prva knjiga oduševila.
Previše nebitnih razgovora, transkripata i slično razvlače radnju i čine ju vrlo mlakom. Teško se snalaziti i između svih tih prinčeva, ujaka, ministara i svih ostalih likova.
Yun Zhen
Nov 09, 2010 Yun Zhen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-stories
I thought perhaps this sequel to Empress Orchid might prove as vividly stunning but I was dismayed.

This sequel focuses largely on Empress Ci Xi's later life as a ruling regent for two different Emperors but seems to continually regurgitate historical facts and processes towards the second half of the book.

While the first half was not as disappointing, giving an account of how Empress Ci Xi tries hard to reconcile with her son, the second half merely uses the last few wars of the Qing Dynasty t
Стефан Русинов
Интересен е опитът да се създаде образ на Цъси, напълно противоположен на историографската норма, при това чрез фикционален автобиографичен разказ. Анчи Мин и разказвачката ѝ Цъси изобщо не са убедителни (имах чувството, че историческите митове биват последователно опровергавани заради самото опровергаване, без твърде много логическа и фактологическа подкрепа), но въпреки това историята за любяща, отговорна, всеотдайна и жертвоготовна Цъси се насложи приятно върху демоничния образ, познат от дру ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Ladiibbug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
" ... a powerful revisionist portrait [fictionalized account of a real historical person] of Tsu Hsi, Lady Yehonala, or Empress Orchid, who ruled China for more than 40 years in the late 1800's / early 1900's."

"The Dragon Lady" was portrayed in the Western press as a manipulative, blood-thirsty, ruthless woman who held on to power at all costs.

"The woman Anchee Min portrays gives us a compelling, very human leader who assumed power reluctantly and sacrificed all she had to protect those she love
Pat Sonnenstuhl
Oct 16, 2016 Pat Sonnenstuhl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Empress Orchid and The Last Empress have a lot of history about China. They seemed long and tedious, so i broke up listening to them with some other books.
i am reading them for a book group, and did find them interesting, as i really don't have much knowledge of Chinese history and customs. Very complicated before 1900 !!!
Suzan Oktaria
Jan 10, 2011 Suzan Oktaria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novel fiksi sejarah karya Anchee Min berisi catatan kehidupan Ibusuri Cixi (disebut sebagai Anggrek) dari saat ia memperoleh kekuasaan sebagai Ibusuri Tzu-Hsi, hingga kematiannya pada usia 72 tahun. Novel ini merupakan sekuel dari novel Empress Orchid.

Cerita dimulai dengan kematian ibu Anggrek, dan meningkatnya konflik antaranya dengan Pangeran Kung mengenai masalah politik. Hubungan Anggrek dengan putranya, Tung Chih, juga memburuk. Bila dalam novel sebelumnya, kita akan dibawa dengan keindahan
Cerita yg detil. digambarkan pengarangnya sedemikian rupa sehingga kita seolah2 melihat suasana kolosal,kemewahan,kerusuhan,kesedihan bahkan fashion yang dikenakan...Terlepas Apakah cerita ini memang kisah nyata atau tdk,Anggrek adalah penguasa yg luarbiasa..dari hanya seorang selir menjelma menjd maharani yg sesungguhnya...keberanian, kecerdasan dan keuletannya luarbiasa...Percintaan Anggrek dan Yung Lu sangat mengharukan...Cinta yg terpisah oleh status, keberlangsungan kekuasaan, dan martabat ...more
Terri Durling
Having recently returned from China, I wanted to know more about the "Dragon Lady", a name given to the last empress of China who had quite a reputation. This book was recommended by a fellow traveller. Although interesting for the most part and written from the viewpoint of the Empress by Anchee Min, I found a lot of it concentrated on the politics of the time. Although I would hardly call the politics of those times boring, it still was hard to get through the political parts of the story. As ...more
Jun 14, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't think much of this, and in retrospect wish I had not bothered. I read Orchid, which I thought was weak, but then happened to visit the Forbidden City, and happened onto the Empress's lodgings there, so thought this would be a good way to get an update on the historical period. Overall this was ponderous - while clearly based on letters and writings, it had little life of its own. In some cases more background would have brought the text to life (e.g., a better explanation of the civil s ...more
Bhavya Gupta
3.25 stars
You know what I learnt from the book? That the world is a big, big place. I have grown up reading and learning Indian history. From Indus Valley civilization to independence from the British, my country felt so... Encompassing. So overwhelming.
Obviously I was aware about little things from the world history too, world wars, French Revolution, American civil war, Vietnam war, Nazism in Germany and then few other things. You know, the kind of things you can't avoid.
China is a neighbour
Jun 01, 2009 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you loved Empress Orchid like I did, don't bother with this book. I don't say that often, and I don't think reading a review would have dissueded me from reading the sequel about the rule of the Grand Dowager Empress. However, Min seemed to have forgotten how to tell a story. The dialogue was atrocious. She basically just took crib notes of the facts she uncovered and formed them into sentences and then followed them up with a sentence of the Empress revealing her true feelings about it. Seri ...more
Jan 15, 2014 Afifah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aduuuh, ekspektasi saya saat baca dwilogi Ibu Suri Tsu Hzi ini sangat tinggi. Paling tidak, setelah membaca "Empress Wu" besutan Shan Sa dan saya merasa terpuaskan secara diksi, saya berharap dapat menemukan keindahan senada pada karya Anchee Min ini. Tetapi, hasilnya... kuciwa Sodara-Sodara. Di buku pertama, masih rada mending. Di buku ketiga... hanya bersedia kasih 3 bintang sambil ngedumel... :-(.

Membaca novel ini, saya merasa tengah membaca teks sejarah yang berjejal-jejalan. Lakon yang diba
Barb Shoffner
Aug 21, 2007 Barb Shoffner added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
I am fascinated by Chinese history and read Anchee Min's book about Tzu Hsi's earler life in the court, "Empress Orchid". "The Last Empress" provides insight to her long life (73 years). She faced challenges with her son (named emperor, but died as a young adult), struggles with the political court, Chinese internal uprisings (i.e. warlords and the Boxer Rebellion) and with foreign powers. On her death bed she named Puyi as emperor. He was the last emperor of China.
The reader of this audiobook sounds like she's having some serious breathing difficulties. I mean, on the one hand, I don't want to be mean. But, on the other hand, if you can't read a single sentence without taking a long, rasping, gimme-my-inhaler mouthbreath, maybe you shouldn't be reading audiobooks???

Also, this book is really boring.

This concludes another insightful review from Nicola. Bye.
Jun 02, 2010 Antula rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued by this book, due to the fascinating Chinese culture I know nothing of. Now I know less. The book is simple sequence of facts with an distortion in favor of emotional state of the main character. Which is quite doubtful and unconvincing. And boring. And pointless. And boring. And boring.
Jun 01, 2009 Mery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: punya
makin bagus dari yang pertama, tokoh utama nya mengalami perkembangan karakter, benar mengagumkan seorang wanita mendobrak patriarki dan berhasil memerintah china selama kurang lebih 40tahun :)
di novel ini wanita seperti yehonala di tonjolkan kuat dan pintar, sayang justru Laki-laki ditonjolkan jatuh karena kelalaian nya sendiri :)
Mar 22, 2016 Thea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
What can I say about this book? It has some very interesting history in it...hmm I think that is the only good thing I have to say about this book. It is very dry. The author does her best to make a sympathetic character out of Empress Cixi but she just ends up as an overbearing controlling mother who over indulged her sons and then blamed others for her sons' short comings as emperor.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the World: China: Suzanne recommends: The Last Empress 3 17 Nov 04, 2011 06:28AM  
  • Empress
  • My Life as Emperor
  • Dragon Lady: The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China
  • Peach Blossom Pavillion
  • The Dragon's Village: An Autobiographical Novel of Revolutionary China
  • The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel
  • Imperial Woman
  • Spring Moon: A Novel of China
  • The Painter From Shanghai
  • Brothers
  • Dream of the Walled City
  • The Secrets of Jin-shei (Jin-Shei, #1)
  • Bound Feet & Western Dress
  • The Concubine's Daughter
  • From Emperor To Citizen: The Autobiography Of Aisin Gioro Pu Yi
  • The Moon Pearl
  • Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love
  • The Red Chamber
Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957. At seventeen she was sent to a labor collective, where a talent scout for Madame Mao's Shanghai Film Studio recruited her to work as a movie actress. She moved to the United States in 1984. Her first memoir, Red Azalea, was an international bestseller, published in twenty countries. She has since published six novels, including Pearl of China and the forthc ...more
More about Anchee Min...

Other Books in the Series

Empress Orchid (2 books)
  • Empress Orchid (Empress Orchid, #1)

Share This Book

“When farmers lose their land, they lose their soul,” 0 likes
“To live is to experience dying and is worse than death,” 0 likes
More quotes…