Nikola Tasev's Reviews > The Risen Empire

The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfeld
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M 50x66
's review
Aug 24, 2010

it was amazing

I was expecting some over-the-top action 'warhammer'-style, and fearing some over-the-top bullshit 'Sten'-style. The eternal immortal God-Emperor confused me, I guess.
What I got had almost nothing in common with any of the two. The marine fighting was of 'Starship Troopers' quality - but it didn't end there. The descriptions of the spaceships and related technology were the best I've ever read - waaaay smarter and more advanced than 'Starfire', more detailed than 'Hyperion', better defined than 'Revelation Space'. In the same time a lot of attention is given to politics, economics, phylosophy, even medicine - when a marine was checking whether her mate had pneumotorax from a lung wound I was in awe. Everything is presented realisticly and believably - a great plus for me.
The action begins from page one - no introduction and the backstory is given little by little. Two very different cultures are described, a grand mystery presented. I would say this is one of the best books I've ever read.
There are problems, of course. The book would be too hard Sci-fi for many people, especially the Star(Treck/Wars/Gate) crowd (if you consider Star Treck sci-fi, that is). By paying so much attention to detail the story moves at a snail's pace and many characters remain underdeveloped. Too many of the characters are savants in some area - I think this should be rare as the people themselves. The style is great for a grand book, but in about 300 pages very little happens - even without the introduction. I am afraid the story will be finished prematurely in the next book - and pray it does not. The setting deserves at least a 'Hyperion Cantos'-sized story to it. It's just too good.
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01/12/2017 marked as: read

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