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Empire (Empire #1)

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,192 Ratings  ·  784 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Inspired by video game developer Donald Mustard and the design team at Chair Entertainment -- who are creating a multi-format entertainment franchise revolving around a second American Civil War that includes a video game, comic book series, etc. -- Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Orson Scott Card's apocalyptic vision of this near-future c
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Published November 28th 2006 by Macmillan Audio (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 06, 2008 Franziska rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I could not finish the book, and stopped half way through. It gets one star because it wasn't the worst thing a person could read. It was just one of the worst books I've read in a while. I feel like my IQ dropped steadily with each page I read. I haven't read anything else of Card's books, but I think he really should stay away from political themes. It just made me wanna puke. Sure, it's just fiction, but I actually felt Card was sharing his political views in the book just as much as he share ...more
Apr 02, 2008 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tim by: Orson Scott Card
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf
I have to say that Orson Scott Card has got to be one of the most intelligent authors I have read. He is very sensible and knows how to get to the real issues. I really liked the story of Empire however the way in which this story is told I did not like. I recently attended one of Cards lectures on how he writes and how he comes up with ideas for stories and I found out that he doesn't ever write a second draft. He rewrites his first draft several times because he believes that the actual life o ...more
Aug 15, 2007 Dan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Right wing fanatics, People who like Tom Clancy Op Center books
This is the story of a group of left wing militants who try to take of the US with high tech weaponry.

This book was not very good. Card is a good writer, but this is not his best writing. The characters are static and unbelievable. It reads like a script to an action movie: it is fast paced and there is a lot of action.

Also, this book is fair and balanced like fox news. The left wing extreme in this book holds beliefs that only a small, unmobilized percentage of the population of America holds.
Jun 11, 2008 Jared rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was recomended that I read this book because it deals with politics. Though this is something I am interested in this book seemed entirely too one sided. It was more a polemic than a novel, and its attempts to be non-baised were far outweighed by the moments of its blatant one sidedness. If you are a strong supporter of the right and think that our patriotic duty is to not question either the president or the military then you would like this book. If, on the other hand, you think that this c ...more
1.5 stars. Easily my least favorite book by Card. It wasn't horrible but it also wasn't very good (so I rated it somewhere between "I didn't like it" and "it was ok" hence the 1.5 to 2.0 stars). The premise was interesting and one that I thought could have made into a really good story. Unfortunately, I think Card let his desire to write a "conservative-friendly" thriller get in the way of just telling a good story. I applaud the attempt but the execution was lacking.
Kwesi 章英狮
While reading this book, I don't know what to do. I don't like it and I thought I was dying in a war. I'm not against of any Card's novels but I can't help to be annoyed while reading this. Plus, I don't have political taste or whatever related to government and this book is so so preachy. In the positive side, I've learned a lot about Card's ideology of political state in the America not only that, it can also be compared to our (Philippines) current political issue. Why there are still NPA and ...more
Miles Reid-lobatto

I never thought I could hate a book so much. I thought Battlefield Earth would be the low point of my reading life.

There is an interesting idea here, that's the thing. The idea of a New American Civil War (although I would say that the book's idea of it being Blue and Red is now outdated. If there is to be a Civil War in the US, it will be between Rich and Poor) is a potentially fascinating subject for a book. If done correctly. This means without bias. I may be left-leaning but I would be repel
Jul 27, 2009 Pickle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, what a terrible book. What happened to you Mr. Card, where did you go, and when did a crazy neo-con steal your soul and your body?

I used to love Orson Scott Card. Seriously, when I was a kid I read every single one of his published books, even saints (despite the fact that I hated and continue to dislike the Mormon church). His books were subversive and unique. Even when he stole subject matter from other authors, he used the ideas in a new way and talked about something meaningful (see the
1.5 stars. Easily my least favorite book by Card. It wasn't horrible but it also wasn't very good (so I rated it somewhere between "I didn't like it" and "it was ok" hence the 1.5 to 2.0 stars). The premise was interesting and one that I thought could have made into a really good story. Unfortunately, I think Card let his desire to write a "conservative-friendly" thriller get in the way of just telling a good story. I applaud the attempt but the execution was lacking.

One final note: Stefan Rudn
This was an interesting look at how a new civil war in the US might occur. I think that this is one of those books that you should read twice to really get the full measure of the story. I listened to it on audio, and a lot of the time that I was listening to it, I was listening but not focusing intently, so I may have missed a lot of the nuances of the story. However, that being said, I do think that it was very smart and well written, and plausible.

Many people might take offense to the milita
Feb 11, 2010 Matt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's rare that I get to use the term "puerile shit," especially when it comes to one of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card.

However, 'Empire' afforded me that opportunity -- in spades-- and before I'd finished this right-wing-infused manifesto thinly disguised as a novel, I had many, many other opportunities to generate even more graphic and offensive terminology.

OSC's foray into the techno-thriller world dominated by Clancys, Coonts, and Browns, is mediocre storytelling at best, and stunning
Aug 02, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This gets 4 stars, not so much for the story (3 stars) as the message. The message is clear, especially in the first part of the book & the afterword by Card - the screamers on the left & right of our 2 party system are becoming the icons & dividing the country. Moderates aren't tolerated. If you don't fully agree with one side, then you must support the other & you're an idiot not worthy of an opinion.

As ludicrous as it is, it's all too true. I see it frequently because I disag
Jan 19, 2009 Cristy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm proud to say that this book is the fruition of a dream of my brother's, Donald and Geremy. They came up with the idea for a Video game, which is currently in production and will be out later in 2009, but Orson Scott Card loved the idea and wanted to write the book. So after much consultation with the Mustard's, the book was written, the first in a trilogy. It is important to know that it is only the beginning of the story, otherwise the ending will feel very unsatisfactory. My major grief wi ...more
Sean Watson
Nov 03, 2012 Sean Watson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a frequent reader of OSC, this book was a monumental disappointment. Its premise is a violent revolution in America as the vocal fight between the Liberal and Conservative movements ultimately results in a civil war as one side becomes determined to take the country back from the traitors who have seized it. These unscrupulous fanatics hoard dirty money in secret, assemble a high tech army, and finally when the moment is right, they pounce and attempt to take the government by force. Which gu ...more
Dec 28, 2010 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Philip by: A Student
One of my students gave me this book to read because it deals with Social Studies stuff, the main character's wife is Croatian and I lived in Croatia for quite a while, and there was no AR quiz for it, so... could I maybe make one?...

No problem. And make one I did. I checked it out on and didn't see a quiz about a month ago... but I just checked again and... a quiz is there.

Oh well. He'll get more points from their quiz (17) I would have given 12 to the book.

We're living in a
Geahk Burchill
Nov 06, 2013 Geahk Burchill rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Remarkable garbage.

Orson Scott Card is one of the best science Fiction Writers ever to have touched a keyboard. One of his most important contributions to sci-fi was his ability to see nuance and complexity in characters. He seemed to effortlessly pick his way through religious, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds to present a character's point of view and make their actions believable. He then created fine networks of life-influences to make deep and interesting character interactions. Ther
Liberal, intellectual elites plot to overthrow the American government using an army of mechanized super warriors. No seriously. Here is a quote from chapter two where Card sets the stage with a painfully ham-fisted "example" of American academia.

"Oh, Soldier Boy, you poor lad," said Torrent. "The American idea was thrown out with Social Security. We nailed the coffin shut with group rights. We don't want individual liberty because we don't want individual responsibility. We want somebody else t
Mike (the Paladin)
Unabridged audio.

This was an interesting idea, and I was fascinated with it. Unfortunately it seems to have sort of....failed in the developing. I would like to see this sort of idea developed a little better and laid out in a more coherent manner. It's pretty clear where he was going here and the idea tugs at the mind. Unfortunately it (in my opinion) swings far out to one side and seems to get completely lost. The ending is to say the least...extremely, unlikely in most any scenario.

I think it
Feb 09, 2008 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Orson Scott Card lovers
Shelves: should-read-once
An interesting exploration in American potentials. Yet applying Orson Scott Card's usual character perfection to a world much closer to our own is slightly out of place. Worth a read once for being a thriller, psychological thriller, and Yet Another Scott Card Book, it leads you to think about where our political extremism is headed. If you watch alongside Ken Burns' Civil War documentary, it strikes impressive similarities.
Feb 02, 2009 Alan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not one of his best. This one is convoluted and proves that Card should not try to write the techno-thriller. It also proves that he should stay out of politics. I didn't like too much that he never answers (only hints at) one of the main questions of the book. I also didn't care at all for the ending.
Oct 24, 2009 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Clancy had a sense of humor and a philosophy degree, he could have written this book. (Sorry Clancy fans, he's just not my thing)

This is one of the scariest books I've read in a long time. The plot - an American civil war between the left and the right - is just too plausible, once the story begins to unfold. It gave me chills.

The action was great; the chase scenes, etc were as vivid as a movie. I loved the character development: the loyal military wife, the bad-ass ex special ops buddies, e
Carlos Velez
Apr 11, 2009 Carlos Velez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Orson Scott Card proves to me he can write amazing things outside of the Ender series. This novel deals with conspiracy, presidential assassination (not refered to as George W. Bush, but definitely implied), the beginnings of an american civil war, and the man who must find the truth in order to clear his name and restore the United States to balance.

The balance of what? That's the real issue, the meat of the story, the moral. The author speaks, after the conclusion of the novel, about how in th
Feb 07, 2011 Rollie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought I could not finish reading this book. Not because I didn’t like it but because of my busy schedule. School work, feasibility study, exams and now we’re having a general cleaning. See, how can I sneak up just to read this? Fortunately, instead of resting, I read this book. Yay! Thanks to my reading buddy Juan este Kwesi Ian Jay who finished reading this book first. (his review)

After reading Ender’s Shadow and loving it; after hearing a lot of praises about Ender’s Game; I thought it was
Feb 18, 2013 Zachary rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Spoiler Alert, though I don't recommend you read this book, so whatever.

This book is bad. The plot is largely unbelievable (without spoiling anything, the main plot is plausible, but the sci-fi elements introduced halfway through make you go "Wha...?"). It has way too much dialogue from characters that you wouldn't expect to be wordy. Card throws in a few mysteries that are, frankly, uninteresting.

Additionally, the flow just didn't work for me. From the first action sequence where things ar
Chris Dietzel
This book was doomed from the start. Any time an author inserts their bi-partisan politics into a story, they are going to alienate three groups of people: 1.) Those who hold the opposing set of views; 2.) Those who share their views but think that preaching "my politics are better than your politics" is the root of most political dysfunction; and 3.) Those who think neither party is favorable. The odd thing is that after the story concludes, Card delivers a very nice summary of how bi-partisan ...more
Jona Cannon
A fictional, near-future, American civil war that has no geographical lines. Instead, the lines are right versus left wing ideals.

This book was exactly what I needed at this time in my life. It helped me to recalibrate myself politically. I'm tired of the hard lines being drawn between conservatives and liberals. This book helped me to step back and consider what is right, rather than what position does a particular party hold.

There are a lot of negative reviews for this book by folks who read i
Jan 05, 2015 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Empire is a political thriller novel by Orson Scott Card that has a better premise than execution. In a near-future America, the red state-blue state divides, with their fanatical extremists, tear the country apart into a small civil war. The excessive, babbling rhetoric from both the Left and the Right generate a gap so deep that the country becomes dangerously divided.

While I think the premise was interesting and OSC included enough negatives from both sides to remain relatively impartial in h
Marc Gersen
Sep 09, 2014 Marc Gersen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I felt like I was getting stupider as I continued reading this book. I wish I had stopped reading after each page kept confirming that awful feeling, but I just refused to believe that one of my favorite authors could write something so completely predictable and one-dimensional. There's no character development, and the story doesn't really develop anything interesting. What if the Left moved from just having mean, nasty thoughts of contempt and disrespect for Real Americans - the military and ...more
Apr 13, 2009 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I almost stopped reading when I got to the point where they talked about how wonderful and lovable W was, and how the liberal Lefties were conspirators who he was protecting. Meanwhile, I've been reading Harpers torture coverage for the past month or so. I did like the comment about how the 'inside man' couldn't have been a left-winger, because there were no left-wingers in the Bush White House.

I almost stopped again when Card threw in 'jeesh', and a third time when Nick was anointed Ender 2. Ca
Stasa Fritz
I will keep my review “fairly” brief, after scanning a number of the positive and negative reviews. I have no problem with the main characters having a conservative point of view. I do have a problem with the execution of the writing. As I pursue my own masters in creative writing, I am stunned by how Card violates some of his own advice from his two good books on writing (Character and Viewpoint; How to write science fiction). Whether you call this science fiction, or an espionage/thriller, it ...more
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th
More about Orson Scott Card...

Other Books in the Series

Empire (2 books)
  • Hidden Empire (Empire, #2)

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