The Last Empress (Empress Orchid, #2)
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The Last Empress (Empress Orchid #2)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  4,442 ratings  ·  377 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
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 21st 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Lydia
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...more
Tea Jovanović
Knjiga "Carica" autorke Šan Sa je zakon za ovaj roman... Naravno, ima veze i loš prevod... :(
Suzanne
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...more
Judy
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...more
Chris
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.
K
Oct 10, 2009 K rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
Beth
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
Afifah
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...more
Suzan Oktaria
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...more
Imas
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
Yun Zhen
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...more
Kathy
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...more
Ladiibbug
" ... 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...more
Jill
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
Barb Shoffner
Aug 21, 2007 Barb Shoffner added it 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.
Mery
Jun 01, 2009 Mery rated it 4 of 5 stars
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 :)
Antula
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.
Lita Hidayati
Banyak yang mengatakan bahwa Tzu Hsi adalah biangnya kejahatan (Naskah Cina, dicetak pada 1949 -1991). Namun, entahlah. Penggambaran Anchee Min terasa lebih nyata dibandingkan Sir Edmund Backhouse, yang belakangan baru diketahui telah menyebarkan manuskrip-manuskrip penuh kebohongan tentang latarbelakang kehancuran kekaisaran China dibawah kuasa sang Budha Tua, Putri Yehonala, atau lebih dikenal sebagai Tzu Hsi.

Ada banyak kehilangan sebagai kompensasinya memilih datang sebagai salah satu dianta...more
Cecily
Carries on from Empress Orchid (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...), starting soon after her husband dies, leaving her and the (principal) empress to govern in lieu of her young son.
Rosemary
The end of this book was very exciting, hearing in dramatized fiction (unabridged book on DVD) how the last empress of China Cixi had to rule China while appearing not to because she was a woman, while foreign powers were at China's doorstep wanting control of Chinese territory. She realized that the rest of the world with science and engineering was passing China by while China's emperors were being schooled in classic literature, knowing nothing of the external world. Good lesson on isolationi...more
Krittika
Sep 27, 2012 Krittika marked it as abandoned
I wish i never started this, as i hate not finishing a book... maybe one day i will finish this, but for now my time is too precious to be spent on a book that has no direction..
Kelly
Long, sometimes dry, but oddly absorbing.
Isis

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...more
Nives Kobra Eisenkohl
Autorica je uspjela uspješno spojiti opsežno povijesno istraživanje i dirljivu priču o tradicionalnoj Kini iz ženske perspektive pružajući suosjećajan prikaz života carice Orhideje. Čitajući se osjeća preobrazba mlade carice Orhideje u inst...inktivnu i mudru vladaricu koja nastoji razumno vladati i donositi odluke čak i onda kada se to protivi njezinim životnim stavovima.
Povijest ju inače prikazuje kao ženu zmaj, međutim autorica je uspjela objansiti i zašto se Orhideja morala tako predstavljat...more
Yas
Paperback version: 414 Pages
Genre: Chinese/Asian Fiction/ Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis:

The Last Empress is the second of two books which concern the rule of China in the 18/19th century.

The first named Empress Orchid (as reviewed here http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13...) told of how the main character Orchid came from a very poor family and ended up being made concubine to the Emporer of the time. It tells the difficulties of her life, her ambition to win the emperors affection...more
Linh
The Last Empress was a tough book to read for anyone Chinese. Anchee Min did a great job creating a story out of the facts she found about the Empress Dowager and really brought all these historical figures as well as the China, as it was in the turn of the 19th - 20th century. It shed light on the invasion of China from the perspective of the people in the Forbidden City and gave a softer, more human version of the Ci Xi. Again, I would praise Min for doing her research and I personally would l...more
Cecily
I did not really enjoy this book. I probably should have read Orchid first which had better reviews and was supposed to have been more emotionaly charged and better potrayed her character. With The Last Empress I did not get a clear understanding of her. Partly because her relationship with the players in the book were contradictory. Example, her son who despised her throughout, until he had days to live and he then seemed to have made a 360 and became an affectionate son. That came out of nowhe...more
Jodi
Jan 18, 2009 Jodi rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
"The Last Empress" is the sequel to "Empress Orchid." I liked reading about Orchid's life after her first son ascended the throne all the way up to her death. I feel bad that she was so disliked in history because the author made her seem very human, and kind, but trapped by her role as the empress. I found the historical notes at the end of the book interesting because it stated that China fell apart after her death - how sad that she was so despised by those outside her immediate family and fr...more
Indri Hapsari
sekuel lanjutan dari empress orchid yang pertama.
bagian pertengahan lanjutan dari perjuangan seorang anggrek untuk menstabilkan kekacauan negara Cina akibat kesalahpahaman dan adu domba politik yang berujung pada peperangan dan penjajahan negara Cina oleh Inggris dan sekutu.
memang pada akhirnya beberapa bagian negara Cina berhasil diduduki oleh negara Inggris (dan sebagainyalah, saya lupa juga :D), akan tetapi anggrek tetap mampu mempertahankan harga diri bangsa dan berjuang hingga ajal menjempu...more
Mary Ann (MAA)
Interesting read due to historical setting in China in 19th century and early 20th century. I'd recommend doing some background reading on China during this period as well as the last empress. I did this after I read the book and it substantiated much of the history. Tho the book is a novel is very much grounded in fact. The author portrays other (possible) sides of the empress besides the popular one of 'Dragon Lady'. It is a bit challenging to keep the characters straight when you are unfamili...more
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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...
Empress Orchid (Empress Orchid, #1) Red Azalea Pearl of China Becoming Madame Mao Wild Ginger

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