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The Last Empress (Empress Orchid #2)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  6,613 Ratings  ·  463 Reviews
In this sequel to the novel 'Empress Orchid', Anchee Min brings to life one of the most important figures in Chinese history, a very human leader who assumes power reluctantly, and who sacrifices all she has to protect both those she loves and her doomed empire.
Unknown Binding, 308 pages
Published April 2nd 2007 by Not Avail (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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

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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
Sherrill Watson
A historical novel of the last Empress or China, fromn 1852 (when she became second concuubine to the Emporar) to 1908 when she died. A masterful and probably complete, if sympathetic history by Ms. Min.

She lived only in the Forbidden City with several eunuchs, Nuharoo chief among them, and many concubines. Upon the death of his brother, her son Tung Chih became Emperor at the age of five. China was a BIG country and there were MANY factions and intrugues. Men were appointed to positions of pow
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Charmaine Leung
May 24, 2016 Charmaine Leung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 28, 2016 Leeney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last decades of the nineteenth century were a violent period in China 19s history marked by humiliating foreign incursions and domestic rebellion, ultimately ending in the demise of the Ch 19ing 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 came to know her in Anchee Min 19s critically acclaimed novel covering the first part of her life.

The Last Empress is th
Katie V
The 2nd book seemed to drone on and on like a bad Wikipedia Page of historical facts combined with very little detail about life in the Forbiddon City. The author continuously refers back to things that happened in the first book that effect the second book. I feel that even she got lost doing this and at the end of the 2nd book she was referring to things that happened at the beginning of the 2nd book not just things that occurred in the 1st book. These referrals always seemed clumsy and obviou ...more
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Around the World: China: Suzanne recommends: The Last Empress 3 17 Nov 04, 2011 02:28PM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

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

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