Michelle's Reviews > Empire

Empire by Orson Scott Card
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's review
Aug 05, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: fantasy, just-plain-awful
Read in August, 2009

When a so called American "progressive" party tries to take over the U.S., a small group of well-trained special ops soldiers swoop in to save the day. Mayhem ensues as the nation is split between the extreme left and right, and Americans are pitted against one another in a battle over ideologies too disparate to reconcile.

I found the novel lacked any real depth. The characters were stereotypical, which is ironic because in the end, Card includes an afterword that decries the extreme sides of politics in America. However, his main characters, who were supposed to rise above petty politics, seemed to be caricatures of those to the very left and right in America's two main political parties.

Beyond that, Card spent so much time running from action sequence to action sequence that the main characters were never developed and thus fell short of evoking sympathy, let alone any empathy. His characters were always conveniently in the right place at the right time to set up said action sequences. What's worse, I'm always disappointed when I cannot understand why a character acts as he or she does. And that happened throughout. The characters' motivations and actions were a mystery. Furthermore, the plot was underdeveloped. The key moments of conflict were contrived and entirely unbelievable. And to top it off, it was a bit boring. I felt like Card was phoning it in or perhaps bucking for a movie deal. Either way, it annoyed me.


I picked up this book because so many people I know have read Card's science fiction books. However, I was disappointed to discover that this wasn't sci fi, although Card did see fit to add in a few sci fi elements (strange "mechs" reminiscent of Star Wars). I've never really read science fiction, so perhaps someone out there can tell me if they recommend the Ender's Series or not. I must admit that I'm a bit skeptical at this point.

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Reading Progress

06/03 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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kory kuhlmann I think the First Meetings version of Enders Game is the best and you can borrow it from the library.
Near future thrillers are Science Fiction disguised as non sci-fi to sell mainstream but this book and the Enders universe books are very different and liking one and disliking the other is likely.


message 2: by Jeff (last edited Mar 31, 2012 01:13PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jeff Walden The Ender books are good, and I recommend them. I suspect most readers would rank them rather higher than they'd rank this book. Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow in particular are quite good (read the first before the second). Most of the sequels to each are fun but not the same -- enjoyable but I'd say not laying claim to true excellence. (Speaker for the Dead may be an exception and lay claim to excellence. It's been awhile, so I can't say for sure. It won the Hugo and Nebula as a sequel to Ender's Game, tho, and it was the original story Card wanted to tell until he realized he needed the backstory to tell it, so it may be genuinely excellent. It is significantly different from Ender's Game, tho, so if it appeals to you, it will not appeal in the same way or for the same reasons as the other book.)

To sum it up: don't prejudge the Ender books based on this book. They're much better samples of Card's writing.

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