Amy's Reviews > The Risen Empire

The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfeld
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's review
Jun 27, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: science-fiction, fiction
Read from July 07 to August 22, 2011 , read count: 1

This book had a very interesting storyline, but that was the main reason I wanted to finish it. I liked the book a little bit less as it went on, and I'm not sure if I'll read the next books in the series.

The idea of besting death by dying is an interesting idea. I still want to know what the heck the Symbiant is, though. If someone is dead but not, then what does life mean? Does the Symbiant prolong bodily functions? Or does it prolong life at all? Those who had committed the Holy Suicide seemed to not care about real life at all, spending their days looking at blank pictures and endlessly traveling around. Is that eternal life? Would that be a goal worth pursuing? I think not, personally.

The Rix Cult and their efforts to push AI compound minds to new planets kind of threw me off. First, I kept on noticing that the Rix Commandos were all being referred to as "she." Now, I know that, from a military standpoint, women aren't really put in the front lines these days. So, hearing that all the Rix Commandos were women was interesting. Men became the "unwanted" gender; the women were mechanically and genetically engineered to be the ultimate fighting machines. I also couldn't help but notice the h_rd, the Rix Commando we meet, fell in love with Rana. Coming from a women-only society, I guess I wasn't quite as surprised as I could have been, though I definitely wish it could have been more of a sister/sister relationship.

An Error of Blood sounds horrible: Mess up badly enough, and you have to kill yourself. I am a big believer in justice and responsibility, so hearing about how Captain Laurent Zai was bound to kill himself was awful. Though he was responsible for his ship, he was not part of the decision that caused "his" Error of Blood to occur. I find that intensely unfair.

I also found it interesting that those who still had human illnesses were kept in biohazard suits, really. The perfectly healthy people were so afraid of getting sick that anyone with germs was segregated. It's like leprosy in the Bible---Segregation. Eh. I still find it weird (but clever).

What bothered me most about this book was the relationship between Laurent Zai and Nara Oxham. As the two main characters of this book, it was very interesting to see their different perspectives. I admit that. However, and I am very sensitive about this, I hated hearing about their relationship. Though the book was never overly explicit about their intimacy, it came close enough to really make me uncomfortable with reading on. I was close enough to the end of the book that I decided to just finish it and get it over with, but it really disappointed me. For me, love = marriage, not "lovers." I believe purity is a very special thing that shouldn't be just thrown away in the way that Laurent and Nara did. True, they never cheated on each other or were promiscuous elsewhere, but that doesn't cut it for me. I honestly don't know what "marriage" means in this book, or even if it's there at all. Regardless, though, I was supremely unimpressed with that relationship. As I'm sure that relationship will only get more passionate or explicit or whatever, I don't know if I'll be reading any more of these books.

I did find this book interesting, but the Laurent/Nara relationship killed the story for me. It's not likely I'll read the next books.

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