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Empire

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The American Empire has grown too fast, and the fault lines at home are stressed to the breaking point. The war of words between Right and Left has collapsed into a shooting war, though most people just want to be left alone. The battle rages between the high-technology weapons on one side, and militia foot-soldiers on the other, devastating the cities, and overrunning the The American Empire has grown too fast, and the fault lines at home are stressed to the breaking point. The war of words between Right and Left has collapsed into a shooting war, though most people just want to be left alone. The battle rages between the high-technology weapons on one side, and militia foot-soldiers on the other, devastating the cities, and overrunning the countryside. But the vast majority, who only want the killing to stop and the nation to return to more peaceful days, have technology, weapons and strategic geniuses of their own. When the American dream shatters into violence, who can hold the people and the government together? And which side will you be on? Orson Scott Card is a master storyteller, who has earned millions of fans and reams of praise for his previous science fiction and fantasy novels. Now he steps a little closer to the present day with this chilling look at a near future scenario of a new American Civil War.


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The American Empire has grown too fast, and the fault lines at home are stressed to the breaking point. The war of words between Right and Left has collapsed into a shooting war, though most people just want to be left alone. The battle rages between the high-technology weapons on one side, and militia foot-soldiers on the other, devastating the cities, and overrunning the The American Empire has grown too fast, and the fault lines at home are stressed to the breaking point. The war of words between Right and Left has collapsed into a shooting war, though most people just want to be left alone. The battle rages between the high-technology weapons on one side, and militia foot-soldiers on the other, devastating the cities, and overrunning the countryside. But the vast majority, who only want the killing to stop and the nation to return to more peaceful days, have technology, weapons and strategic geniuses of their own. When the American dream shatters into violence, who can hold the people and the government together? And which side will you be on? Orson Scott Card is a master storyteller, who has earned millions of fans and reams of praise for his previous science fiction and fantasy novels. Now he steps a little closer to the present day with this chilling look at a near future scenario of a new American Civil War.

30 review for Empire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Franziska

    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 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 shared his religious views. The book was trivial, cliche, stereotypical, poorly written and pretty boring. One of the very few books where I didn't care at all to find out how it ends. Usually, I want to know, even if I don't read the whole book or find it rather boring. I'm impressed with those who've read the entire book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    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. 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. The right wing extreme of this book is also, some what exaggerated, however they never take any action in the book. The war/uprising is entirely started and perpetrated by left wing militants. Also, the book openly states that the present administration are moderates who are widely supported. I am not going to claim that the present administration are right wing extremists, but they are hardly moderate, and they are also not widely supported, not now and not when this book was written and published. This book makes excellent points about the political dialog in America today: people need to stop characterizing the other side as stupid or crazy just because they don't agree. There has been very little party cooperation lately, and that needs to improve. However, to deny that this book has a right leaning bias would be irresponsible. I read this book because I like Orson Scott Card and thought this book looked interesting. Also, my Mom got it for me for Hanukkah.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tim Nielsen

    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 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 of a story is lost by rewriting over and over again. The problem with this theory is evident in books like Empire. The only real issue I have with this book is the amount of dialog contained in it. The characters are consistently talking about the entire plot with a few action sequences thrown in between the dialog. I think this book would have been so much better if I was shown the clues and allowed to try and figure out what the answers were instead of reading a character who is talking about what he thinks is going on and answers all the mysteries before I even had a chance to figure them out. Card says in the book that a general can be too smart for his own good and end up giving his enemy too much credit. I think Card has been too smart for this story and has denied the reader a chance to solve the mysteries.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    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 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 country was founded by people that questioned the authority over them and that is what made it great, or if you think allowing those in power to act outside the bounds of checks and balances is a bad idea, or even if you think that desenting ideas should not be presented as strawman arguments than this book is not for you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    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. 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    George

    I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book: although I did not for a long time. It has a definite flavour of being political: although I could not figure out which side he was on. At one point he seemed to be standing against the right, and then it was all against the left. I've always loved Mr. Card's writing, and I was sad for much of it that he was becoming so political... and passionately so, although he seemed to shift back and forth. It was not till nearly at the end that I realized this was I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book: although I did not for a long time. It has a definite flavour of being political: although I could not figure out which side he was on. At one point he seemed to be standing against the right, and then it was all against the left. I've always loved Mr. Card's writing, and I was sad for much of it that he was becoming so political... and passionately so, although he seemed to shift back and forth. It was not till nearly at the end that I realized this was what he was trying to do. As I wrapped up the storyline I thought of how effective it was, since it forced you to look at both sides of the issues... and I honestly don't remember who was right or wrong. In the afterward he explained that this is the danger today. We are so embroiled in our own opinions that we can't see the other side: each of us maintains our internal consistency without bothering to see that it does not correspond with reality. The U.S. is in danger of another civil war. And if we're not careful, we will do the same in Canada. I have read some reviews and was surprised to find that some people really did not like it: I believe precisely because they are so wrapped up in their own world that they cannot see what Mr. Card is trying to illustrate: on both sides. The conservative side cannot see the benefits of the more liberal side, and the liberal side cannot see that there are benefits to the conservative. They cannot see balance. That is truly frightening.

  7. 5 out of 5

    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 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 Abu Sayyaf lurking and killing innocent Filipinos. If you like reading newspaper and watching TV news with repeated headlines and news that are obviously too affectionate to its own state, you might enjoy the pleasure of reading this book. We Filipinos suffered a lot because of political issues from Marcos' regime to Macapagal's diabolic repossession of its nation and why I should read this book again? For my pleasure to entertain myself not to be posses by history's bad memories again and again, of course there are exceptions to some other books and school works. If I ask my parents of their past they always mentioned every president who works with his or her nation and their mistakes, same with text books from elementary to high school and to the teachers who never stop from teaching students the dark history that some said they were already covered with a veil. I think new generations were just trying to be positive, trying to change the present by making the past as an open secret. Why we should need to think of the past if we can change our present by looking through possibilities that we may done in the near future? Maybe I'm young to speak of those words but for me I think we need to let go of the past and try to think of our future. Stop! Discussing ideas may cause unlimited amount of comments and never ending arguments. If this book shows America suffers from two parties (Democratic and Republican), we may suffer being over over democracy, poisoning our mind and dying for nothing. Empire, compasses the mind of Orson Scott Card while reading his ideology of his nation by playing his own puppet, killing each other for the safety of the community. Major Reuben Malich, leads a group of Special Forces team somewhere outside America and it was successful that he was promoted because of his bravery and by saving a civilian. After that, he went back to New Jersey and continue studying and met Averel Torrent, the next president, with a big glowing political mind supported by both parties. Reub work at the Pentagon and he received orders from above and met Bartholomew Colesman, side kick and his trusted pal. After the White House bombed from a rocket launcher, the President and the other council died and he received a news that the V-President died from a car crush. As he continues saving people and his life with Cole, the nation become overly reacted to the event and one at a time people died. After a long range of disappointing events Cole continue the story and discovered a secret place were co-Americans build and delivered special weapons. I find it boring because most of the part of the book is composed of dialogs especially arguments between religion and philosophical point of view of America. The one that really hit my back, was when the author compared America to Rome. A nation who become powerful and destroyed because of its people, same with America in the near future, 5,000 years of building strong walls and a day to destroy everything. Also expect lesser action and facts that may be deadly to share and there are soldiers who died and become hero and lost while time passes by. I've reread my review over and over again and it reminds me that sometimes I need to be careful of what I'm saying. Being stupid and being open online, it may cause me thousand of stalkers all over the world. My idiotic mind speaks while writing a stupid review. After this you will see me counting my hair while begging in the dirty street of Manila or worst. If I only have an Xbox maybe I'll enjoy reading this book while trying to finish the game. Stupid me, I'm not a gamer type but I play with my little brother sometimes. Loved Arcade Games. Shadow Complex. Rating - Empire by Orson Scott Card, 1 Sweets and the time I wasted reading this book with boring dialogs. (If you like Orson Scott Card, please, before reading this you need to expect that this book is different from his other books, the only similarity is the political point of view of the characters. Number 1 on my worst book list. Thanks to my reading buddy Pedro este Rollie - review - of Goodreads - Filipinos.) Challenges: Book #21 for 2011 Book #13 for Off the Shelf!

  8. 4 out of 5

    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 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 repelled by the same book if it was just as biased to the left as it clearly was to the Right. But this book wasn't interested in telling a story, it was a political screed about how the Left and Liberals are somehow inherently evil and detrimental to the Great American Melting Pot. It was a story where Righter than Right Men stood up and said 'We are the best country in all of time and all of history and everyone else can go hang.' It was a book which claimed that 'In Europe, the media always told people what to think, and they thought it.' Only a good ten or so pages after showing that the main character and Gary Stu only ever watches Fox News at home. It was at this point where I tossed the book out of the window, never to be seen again. It was a book which had an essay in the back detailing how 'Homosexual Marriage is somehow evil and is contributing to the moral collapse of America.' This is a book which is not designed to appeal to intelligent audiences, like the works of John Ringo and other far-right SF Authors, it is only meant to appeal to the types of people who thrill in reading passages where crew-cutted good guys kill anyone who isn't as Right-Wing as them, who spout bullshit ideas without a hint of irony. This is a book, like so many of this sort of gung-ho Military SF genre written by the kind of people who listen to Rush Limbaugh and watch Fox News perform hideous crimes to the word 'News'. Where so many SF books show us the potential of humanity or the limitless reaches of the imagination, this particular genre of books only exists to do one thing. They only exist as the fetishistic wish-fulfillment to say 'we are right.'

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pickle

    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 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 Worthing Saga were he stole the idea of cryogenic sleep). His short stories are shocking and suggestive, in addition to being well written. Early in his career it seemed like he not only cared about what he was writing, but he cared about writing well. Now, I think he only cares about what he wants to say, and he doesn't care about disguising what he wants to say with a decent plot or well constructed characters. I remember Ender and Valentine and Mazer Rackham. They were intelligent, multi-dimensional and puzzling characters. The scenes from Ender's game where Ender is struggling with the morality game are truly provocative. The idea of a child being tricked into xenocide and then turning into a non-violent opposition leader are the definition of subversive. And it wasn't just Ender's Game. Take Hart's Hope, a obscure fantasy written by Card during his early period. In this book a poor young boy discovers a completely unique ability: in a world controlled by magic, he is a sink. Magic doesn't work on him, and he can make magic stop all around him. How subversive is that, magic as a metaphor for power and the main character as an opposition force to that power? Sounds like fantasy that could have been written in the sixties. Man. And then you've got the recent stuff by Orson Scott Card. The new parallel Ender series is garbage. I got to the third one (I think, the one before shadow of the Hegemon or giant or something crappy like that), and I gave up. The book was thinly veiled pro-life propaganda. Petra doesn't have any opinions except that killing babies is wrong. The characters read like cranky middle aged men, not 20 something men and women who are forced into "saving" the world. But this isn't a review for any of the Ender's Shadow books. This is a review of Empire, so I better start talking about Empire before this blog post gets too long. Oh wait it already is? Tough, all you three readers will have to suffer through it. Empire sucks. And aunt Susan, I blame this on you. You promised me it didn't suck. You said it was like the old Card, before he sold out Ender for money, before he turned into a talentless hack writer. You lied to me, your tenth favorite nephew. How could you? Continue the review at

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    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 disagree with hot but 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 disagree with hot button topics on both sides. The country really is divided along urban/rural lines & most people don't really care - they just want to be left alone. This is told from a moderate Republican point of view, but doesn't spare fanatics on either side & often pokes fun at both, e.g. the good guys rely on Fox News almost exclusively. Many times names are left out, but the inference is obvious. Card points out in the afterword that this story was thought of else where & he doesn't think this is the way it would really happen. It's a cautionary tale not an attempt at reality. The story was quite good in the subtle machinations until about halfway through & then the scenario got a bit ludicrous. Well before a long internal dialog gives away the ending, most will guess it. Still, it's a good one & all too plausible, especially in light of the historical examples given. There's a lot of action, most of which was fun. The heroes were a bit too much the only game in town, but I suppose that was better than a cast of thousands. There were a couple of real shockers along the way, too. All in all, it was quite a good read. I realize this is just the first in a series, but I'm not sure I'm interested in reading further. It stands quite well alone.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    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 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 stunningly sub-par for Card. But it's the passages such as this that bore me: “A lot of Americans would love to slam the doors shut and let the rest of the world go hang.” “And if we did,” said Cole, “who would save Europe then? How long before they find out that negotiations only work if the other guy is scared of the consequences of not negotiating? Everybody hates America till they need us to liberate them.” “You’re forgetting that nobody cares what Europeans think except a handful of American intellectuals who are every bit as anti-American as the French,” said Malich. Yeah, it would be one thing if these characters represented one perspective in the book, balanced by others, however, these characters are tasked to present the ONLY perspective -- or rather, the only perspective worth respecting -- and as a result, their dialogue and ideology both become even more strained, growing both tired and tiresome. The narrative is written in a manner that suggests that to disagree with this "America! Fuck yeah!" position, you immediately are in league with the novels "villians" -- the weak, leftist intelligentsia. OSC was once an innovator, a dreamer, someone who saw promise even in bad situations. Drawn into writing the Empire series by a computer-gaming company (no, I'm not making that up), OSC offers little in the book with which I could empathize, and that is strange territory as a Card fan. Instead of rooting for the protagonist, I found myself rooting for some breakthrough moment when Card would cast away the pretense and show you it was all a rouse -- but it never comes and instead I rooted for the book simply to be over already. (And yes, you read that correctly -- Empire SERIES. Don't wipe just yet, because OSC is pinching off another turd.)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    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 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 Rudnicki narrated the audio version of this and did his usual excellent job.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    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 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 militant party which staged the coup to set off the events that start the civil war being liberals, or "Progressives" as they are referred to in the book. We, or at least I, generally think of the right wing republicans as the militant type, and as the stiffly traditional type that would be more apt to take up arms to defend that traditionalism. And in fact, I was surprised by it, because I lean toward the liberal side myself (although I consider myself a moderate - but I am for many liberal ideals), but again... it was plausible. Get any extremist faction together, and no matter what their ideologies are, they will do what they think that they have to do to defend them. I actually got more out of this book from the author's afterword than I did from the story. Not to say that the story wasn't good. It was. The story was interesting, and futuristic and the kind of story that I'm fascinated by, but the afterword was more... informative, I guess. That's not what I'm trying to say, but I felt that the author's words there aligned more with my own thinking than the story that he represented in the pages did. In the afterword, he talks about the hateful rhetoric and divisiveness between parties, and how it only takes one party thinking that they need to actively defend, with arms, their ideals from the attack of the other party, and there you go - we're in a civil war. It's a scary thought, and it's incredibly likely. One thing that really bothered me in the story though is the representation of Fox News. In the story, as the "good guys" (I quote that because both sides believe that they are the good guys, but we're being shown the defenders as good guys rather than the attackers) are Republicans, the use of Fox News as their outlet was quite frequent, and they WERE presented as "Fair and Balanced", which to me is an outright falsity. Fox News is one of the most vitriol-filled and antagonistic and attack-oriented "news" right-wing organizations out there. They no longer even really have "news" segments, it's all opinions and interviews and talk about the news, which is quite different. I have a hard time reconciling an organization that is argumentative, downright rude and would tell a guest to "shut up" when they don't agree with them with a trustworthy and reliable news organization. To me, Fox News does more for divisiveness in this country than any other factor, probably ALL other factors combined, actually. I don't say this as a liberal, I say this as someone who thinks that all opinions are valid and thinks that everyone should have a chance to express their opinion respectfully, EVEN IF IT IS UNPOPULAR - not be cut-off, harassed by the show host and then demonized later. Aside from this ONE thing (and sorry for the rant- but I had to put it out there), I think that this story does a pretty good job of representing the opinions of both sides as valid and realistic. I may not agree with them, but to the opinion holder, they are right. I think that we have to be willing to step back and see things from another person's point of view. If we are not willing to do that, then we probably WILL have another civil war in America - quite possibly in my lifetime. =\

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sean Watson

    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 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 gun-toting movement is fanatical and unprincipled enough to resort to violence to change the country? You guessed it - the Liberals! Card's protagonist is a brilliant right-leaning Special Forces soldier, who despite his conservative nature, has complete empathy and a deep cultural appreciation for the Muslim civilians in the theater wherein he fights because we all know conservatives are never judgmental of those who hold different beliefs. When he uncovers the treachery of the Liberal movement, he knows the media cannot be trusted since it's been completely corrupted, so he goes on the only fair and balanced show left: The O'Reilly Factor with host Bill O'Reilly, and no - I'm not kidding about that. I typically enjoy OSC because he challenges me and presents fresh perspectives. This book was utterly predictable, base, and pandered to the lowest common denominator of our current political landscape. I thought Card was better than this. If you genuinely believe that Fox News is a legitimate news organization, I expect you'll love it and I would encourage you to buy it. It sucked several hours out of my life that I'll never get back.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cristy

    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 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 with this book is the same problem I have with all of Card's books; too wordy. Card has lots of great ideas and theories, and he tends to write ALL of them down. He really needs a good editor who he will listen to (I "hear" his editor is just a yes-woman so he gets his drafts right through to printing.) As great as his ideas are, they don't necessarily add to the story and in fact make the reader a little disinterested and bored. The general idea of the story is pretty intersting, the idea that a civil war is on the verge of taking place in the modern day USA between the left and right parties. This of course kind of hits home these days, and Card does predict some things that actually have happened since he's written the book. I would probably recommend this book to people who enjoy sci-fi and action films.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Geahk Burchill

    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 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. There was a sense of empathy for all people in all places. Well if you were hoping for more of that in Empire you will be as disappointed as I was. This is a dreary, flat, totally black & white world where his surreal brand of extreme right-wing politics is made to stand in for common sense reality. A stagnant plot shoe-horned into his ideology Card seeks to bludgeon his reader with contrived two-dimensional motivations of uninteresting characters and implausible scenarios. Gone is any nuance or layering replaced by rabid polemic and specious political argument. I would say this was the worst thing Card ever wrote except that he made a sequel which is even worse.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    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 www.arbookfind.com 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 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 www.arbookfind.com 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 time of polarizing extremes when it comes to politics. Is it the worst it's been? I don't know. We haven't seen one senator caning another in a while, but who knows what the future holds. Empire looks at the United States on the unsuspecting cusp of a second Civil (or Revolutionary depending on who you talk to) War. There are lots of reasons people would argue that it can't/won't happen here, but Card makes some valid points that given the right scenario a spark can catch. It’s easy to think that in a Civil War pitting red states against blue states there’d be no Mason/Dixon, no geographical distinction – and therefore we’d have an unfightable war. Just because we had that distinction last time doesn’t mean we’ll need one this time. Card points us to Rwanda where the Hutu and Tutsi were mixed geographically throughout the country. I may point out India, where right after they gained independence they crashed into a civil war based on religion – the Muslims moving to Pakistan, and the Hindus moving into India. There were general geographic distinctions (like red state/blue state) but they were also deceptive. The book made me think through a lot of possibilities and whether or not we were really there. It made me go back and read The Federalist #10. It made me watch the highlights of this guy’s rally... books make me do a lot of things... in those regards, it was a good book. But I didn’t think it was Card’s best writing. There was a lot of dialogue, there were a lot of snippety facts thrown in that I loved as a Social Studies teacher, but I’m not sure how much the average middle schooler/ high schooler would be able to pick up. (Hong Kong v. China v. Taiwan; Farsi v. Arabic; Croatians and Serbians;... you know, passing references to a lot of facts...) There were some mistakes in the text as well (minor though they be...) For instance on page 321: “The only U.S. military ************** or ********** in ************ were ************** and ********** ... and then the ************...” But he forgot about the guys flying the planes. (Sorry, I didn’t want to spoil it, but I also don’t want the accuracy of this book review to come into question – as has in the past. A year from now if some punk kid who thinks the book deserves 5 stars and not 3 comes on here and says, “What are you talking about? Mistakes in the book... there are no mistakes... now you know... take that fictional punk kid...) Maybe it’s minor, and maybe that’s the only one... but I felt like there were a couple places that didn’t really mesh up. What can I say? It made me think. Do I need more than that from a book?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Velez

    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 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 the United States today, we are divided between the right wing and the left wing. He refers several times to the Blue State / Red State demographic and misleading it is. A slightly more precise phrase would be Urban / Rural. Even in the staunchest of red states, there are urban populations that identify primarily with the democratic population, and vice versa. A civil war based on these differences of beliefs would rip the United States apart becausee there are no geographical boundaries to separate one belief system from another. "Belief system? This is just politics" Not anymore. Each wing has its extremists, and even farther in toward the middle, many of our average citizens have passionate anger and resentment towards people of the other wing. Pro-life look upon pro-choice with righteous indignation, Pro-Gay marriage look with disdain upon the Anti, without regard to the people themselves who carry those beliefs. Beyond even those extremes, a man who identifies primarily with right wing conservatism can be treated with the same contempt as a left wing extremists for only one diverging opinion, such as opposition to the current war or how it's being handled. "But it would be a long step to civil war just for a little political intolerance." All it takes is for one side to reach the conclusion that the other side is going to take away their way of life, or their belief system, or values. Then that side could choose to take preventative action, in self-defense, and take up arms. The other side would have no choice but to also take up arms in self-defense. It happened with Yugoslavia and Rwanda, though there were no clear geographical divisions there either. It's extreme, and not inevitable, but the tension between these political belief systems surely destabilizes our government and our society. Tolerance and understanding of these differences builds strength and places checks and balances on the seats of power. Intolerance and political profiling tear us down. The book deals with these issues magnificently. There is no force feeding of ideals or dogma. The message is there, carried just under the current of the intriguing plot and characters of Orson Scott Card, at times surfacing when one character becomes impassioned or offended, and then riding the waves of conflict and twists of plot. I am not an avid reader of political or conspiracy fiction, nor are they among my favorite movies, but Card has a gift that transcends genre or preference, and plays to the human soul.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    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 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 to take care of us. If we had a dictator who did a better job of it than our present system, then as long as he pretended to respect Congress, we'd lick his hands like dogs." ... I would like to know when Orson Scott Card was last in a graduate class. He has some graduate level education, at least according to Wikipedia, so where does he get this idea that American schools are like this? Professors don't give long rambling lectures about political policy, especially in history classes (like the one Card seems to represent in this wonderful excerpt). Oh well, what else should we expect from a Mormon whack job? "Torrent smiled his maddening superior smile. "The rhetoric today is already as hot-blooded and insane and hate-filled as it was over slavery before the first Civil War -- and even then, most people refused to believe war was possible until Fort Sumter fell." God I hate you. I hate you so much. Here's a suggestion Orson, if you're going to write about something historical or contemporary try learning about it first. No self-respecting, supposedly widely respected, and well learned, history professor, teaching at Princeton, like Professor Torrent is supposed to be, could ever agree with the quote from Card's book. Political rhetoric today is nowhere near as bad as it was in the 1850s and 60s. Also, to the best of my knowledge, no US Senator has been beaten half to death by a Congressman who disagreed with his views. God damn I hate you so much. Stick to science fiction and stay away from politics.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zachary

    Ugh. 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 Ugh. 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 are setup just a little too perfectly and the main characters spring into action, to the last one where a hidden base assault reads like a group of friends jaunting through a cave, the storytelling is just bad. Save yourself some time, read the synopsis on amazon/here, and just nod your head knowingly.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    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. 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Gallup

    As it happens, I read part two in this saga last year and am only now getting round to the beginning. Luckily, each can stand alone. I didn't even realize they were connected until I recognized Coleman and the Special Ops guys in the "jeesh." Hidden Empire makes passing references to a recently concluded Left-Right civil war. Empire is where the philosophical underpinnings of that conflict are explained and, of course, acted on. There are flaws in the story. For starters, it obviously strains cre As it happens, I read part two in this saga last year and am only now getting round to the beginning. Luckily, each can stand alone. I didn't even realize they were connected until I recognized Coleman and the Special Ops guys in the "jeesh." Hidden Empire makes passing references to a recently concluded Left-Right civil war. Empire is where the philosophical underpinnings of that conflict are explained and, of course, acted on. There are flaws in the story. For starters, it obviously strains credibility that underwater terrorists would be sneaking up the channel just at the moment Malich and Coleman happen to standing at Hains Point gazing down at the water—or that Coleman would recognize subtle indications that something was moving below the surface, and immediately grasp the implications. The fact that this string of coincidences also strains credibility for other characters is an indication that the author too knows it's a problem. (In literary analysis there's even a word for this situation.) But perceived coincidences are a feature of the story. Characters notice them and worry whether they are clues of an improbably elaborate conspiracy, or signs of their own over-active imaginations. Also, as I've noted with other OSC titles, his dialog often feels like it's there only to clear up points he wants to make to the reader. (Some readers call that preaching. I think OSC is just sacrificing realistic dialog in order to give each side in the discussions a thorough airing.) While clumsy, this is characteristic of OSC and I've learned to live with it. I continue reading his books because the concepts never disappoint. (Well, judging from other people's comments, I guess they disappoint left-wingers. But all of us can probably agree that the scenario described here has become more plausible over time. Malich comments that there is a population of people who would not view assassination of a sitting president as a bad thing. Even in the year this book was published, a movie was released to exploit that interest. Much more recently, the Secret Service was forced to open an inquiry when Madonna spoke ("rhetorically") to a cheering crowd about blowing up the White House. I just Googled "assassinate Trump" and got 111,000 hits for people threatening to or at least publicly saying they want to do just that.) A fictional treatment of our balkanized polity—one that does not name actual politicians—is entirely appropriate. Consideration of what hatred and self-righteousness can lead to might empower enough of us to keep it in check. Anyway, here's an example of dialog that serves to clarify matters for the reader (I seriously doubt Coleman and Malich needed to have this conversation for themselves): Coleman: "They were killing cops. They were killing uniforms. They may think they're saving the Constitution but they're saving nothing." Malich: "It's all about imposing their will on unwilling people. But don't you understand? When you have The Truth, everyone who opposes you is either ignorant or evil. You rule over the ignorant and you kill or lock up the evil. Then you can rule the world according to your perfect Truth." Lately I've been thinking of the way cataclysmic events like wars and revolutions recur periodically (in the same way epidemics sweep through a population and then fade away). I've been listening to Empire on audio by day while reading a very different novel at night—Black Dogs, by Ian McEwan. The feral dogs in that book are compared to the frenzy of war that gripped Europe in the last century. They appear, they bring harm, and finally they run away, potentially to show up again another time. At the risk of repeating myself, I do think OSC has something worthwhile to say on this subject. Given that a polarized society is a fact of life today, there's no point in getting indignant that someone has written about it. In terms of literary merit, and certainly in comparison with Ian McEwan's prose, this is a three-star book. On the other hand, I admire the author's afterword, in which he takes pains to say extremists on both sides are at fault. And in view of all the one-star reviews by deniers who insist OSC is off-base, I'm going with five stars. Guys, your objections seem to have been overtaken by events. One of the rebels in this book may have been the first to use the "Not my president" meme that more recently became so popular. No doubt he would approve of a video clip I just saw in which Yvette Felarca, spokesperson for a violent protest at Berkeley, says "The Left has been far too timid for far too long." Okay, rant over. If OSC writes a third installment I'll read it too.

  23. 4 out of 5

    C.T. Phipps

    I read this awhile ago but a friend reminded me of it and it occurred to me that I haven't reviewed it. The Empire series is one of the funniest book series I have ever read and for all the wrong reasons. Rather than attempt to explain to you why it is incredibly funny, I'm going to instead give a short synopsis of the early part of the book. The moderate left-leaning Republican President of the United States (explicitly George W. Bush) and his Vice President are assassinated by a super-trained g I read this awhile ago but a friend reminded me of it and it occurred to me that I haven't reviewed it. The Empire series is one of the funniest book series I have ever read and for all the wrong reasons. Rather than attempt to explain to you why it is incredibly funny, I'm going to instead give a short synopsis of the early part of the book. The moderate left-leaning Republican President of the United States (explicitly George W. Bush) and his Vice President are assassinated by a super-trained group of genius soldiers who turn out to be using the plan of a black ops American soldier who explains he had nothing to do with it and is immediately believed. He then investigates a sinister Democrat conspiracy (reminding us that not all Democrats are evil) that trails back to what is explicitly George Soros with a new name. The state of New York City is conquered by the evil liberals with hover bikes and walking tanks from Star Wars. The people of New York welcome this liberation from the evil Republican administration. Our heroes, two manly men out to do manly things, when go to liberate New York by themselves and capture the bad guys. This was made to be a tie-in to the SHADOW COMPLEX video game that is just a side-scrolling G.I. Joe homage where you go after a bunch of reactionary terrorists whose political affiliation is never identified but is indicated to be Neo-Confederates. Just as a note, I love in Kentucky and do you know how many Democrat liberal militias I've encountered? Not many. That's not to say the Ultra-Right has a lock on all political extremism but this book is just *weird* from beginning to end. It's triply funny by the end where Orson Scott Card finishes his story about how the Democrats are coming to kill us all but believes this book shall talk about how we all need to put aside political partistanship. So when picking up this book, imagine Tom Clancy trying to write a G.I. Joe comic but much-much sillier. 3/10

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Matsui

    I’m an admirer of Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi and felt he was brave to venture into Empire, a political intrigue / military action thriller. But the more I thought about Empire, the more I started to question the premise, especially the author's stated position of political neutrality – left vs right. The author’s disgust with liberals became obvious through his portrayal of a highly organized and well financed fifth column of left-wingers who launch a brazen rocket attack on the White House and as I’m an admirer of Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi and felt he was brave to venture into Empire, a political intrigue / military action thriller. But the more I thought about Empire, the more I started to question the premise, especially the author's stated position of political neutrality – left vs right. The author’s disgust with liberals became obvious through his portrayal of a highly organized and well financed fifth column of left-wingers who launch a brazen rocket attack on the White House and assassinate the president and vice-president en route to killing everyone in sight and generally undermining the American way using high-tech weaponry reminiscent of War of the Worlds. I appreciate that this is fiction and an author has full right to portray any scenario that his/her mind can conjure. What irked me were his personal comments tacked on to the end of the audiobook I listened to proclaiming his neutrality and calling for everyone - left and right to hold hands and sing kumbaya. Great thoughts until you realize any coming together appears to require everyone's thinking to fall within what's acceptable to America's religious right. Empire presents the fictitious scenario of a hidden hand manipulating America's future. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it but I see Card attempting the same thing through this clumsy effort at literary gerrymandering. I found what might have been a decent read for me spoiled by the author's personal agenda.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    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 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, even the Machiavellian bad guys. Also notable is the subtle, dry humor throughout the book. I found myself literally laughing out loud. The sarcastic one-liners should've seemed out of place, but the humor-in-the-face-of-adversity thing just made everyone seem more likable and real. I only gave this book 4 starts because it is not the sort of tale I enjoy on a regular basis - I like to escape through reading, and this book was a little too close to home. Also, the story seemed to drag a bit in the last third. All in all, a good book for those who like thought-provoking military plots.

  26. 4 out of 5

    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 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 quite possible that the authors own world view and his wish to "share it(?)" may have gotten in the way of his story-telling. Where some people set out to write a novel and it springs from a given world view that may add to the story telling, here the world view that was being expressed seemed (to me) to take p residence over the story itself. I'd like to see the general idea developed differently, maybe the author will revisit it later.

  27. 4 out of 5

    John

    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. 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.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rollie

    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 wa 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 a logical leap to assume that majority of books of Card is great, if not, at least good. Once I love a book of a certain author, it tends me to look for his/her other works but, unfortunately, I think it wasn’t a healthy assumption or a best idea since I realized that my notion is a perverse of how this book showed me. The fall of Roman Empire is an image of what United States of America leading to after the 9/11 attack. Between republican and democratic, blue and red, who is behind of everything when in a Friday the 13th day, White House has been attacked? The worst of all, President and vice president are in it and get killed. When Major Reuben Malich shared his plan, hypothetically being a terrorist, under the class of Averel Torrent, he became an interesting student of Torrent. Malich met Bartholomew Coleman as his buddy and at the same day, White House had been attacked. After defending the White House, they were proclaimed as heroes of United States of America. But would Malich consider himself as a hero if he knew deep inside that the plan used in attacking the White House was his own? I’m not living in a political world and never had any interest in any political issues. And surely, it’s one of the reasons why I haven’t liked the book that much but nor would I say I disliked this book. Card is one of the sci-fi gods in someone’s retrospect especially for those who have read his sci-fi books already. This Empire is partly sci-fi and post-apocalyptic book at the same time. And yes, to adhere what I said at the previous paragraph, this book is somewhat a combination of sci-fi and politics. In this book, he made knots of problems, unknowingly; the thread he used was tangled already. If it doesn’t make sense to you, I hope this one will: Card used a confusing instrument in making this book. In effect, I was just as if skimming reading this book even though I have even read every word of it. And it was annoying that Card brought up different edges of political issues whilst it got more confusing. “The most painful betrayal is when the closest person of your life happened to do it” Quite true, right? This is one of the most beautiful quotes I liked in this book. However, after reading it, it was an instant hint of what was really going on. From that quote, I knew then who is to be blamed and who are the person to set my eyes onto. This book has a semi-open mystery that gives the reader an idea of the main antagonist of the story. If you didn’t notice it, I guess you had just ignored it but it was given in the early chapter who’s the person planning a dirty trick and given wholly the name in the last chapter. Under this issue, I could have given this book a one-star rating but because of the good plot, I’ve added one--only one just to indicate as “just an okay book”. Not good but not bad either. Speaking of characters, I didn’t like how the author developed the characters. They were weak enough to be likable. I didn’t even understand how Card gave the first few chapters to Rube when at the halfway through he’ll be gone. And yet the character who caught the spotlight of Rube already introduced in the second or third chapter and still gave him small part in the early chapters. How could he be likable in that case? I believe that the author is best at his previous works and awesome in creating a hero. But unfortunately, the heroes of this book have a weak foundation unlike the heroes in Card’s other books. They were praised as heroes in this book but I doubt if readers would praise them the way they do when it’s pretty obvious that there’s almost nothing the characters did much good job in terms of heroism. I wouldn’t dare recommend this to everybody but if you’ll ask me to whom I would recommend this, obviously, to political issues fanatics out there. Go grab it but never go if you’re just going to blame me. A two-star rating or an okay impression is, I think, enough for my book shelf to find another author to fall onto, considering that somehow he has retained my admiration to his works. But I’m sure it’s not good to count his previous works, rather, his present works to look for.

  29. 5 out of 5

    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 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 still has to be believable within the confines of the world he is building. It doesn’t. Card choses to build a world that is essentially “right now” and post 9-11. He populates it with people that actually exist (O’Reilly on FOX). If you do that, in broad brush strokes you are setting expectations that this is the world we live in right now and people would react as you have seen them recently react. They don’t. Card does a number of things that make this hard to swallow: 1) Major attack in and on New York City, where the entire nation still empathizes with the police and fire department (left or right politically) and has the revolutionary forces kill all uniformed people and the city then rolls over and embraces that group? This world? Today? Really? Embrace the killers of anyone in uniform? Then he basically ignores the entire situation for several months (elapsed novel time) and focuses strictly on the remaining protagonists? Card, what happened to “world building” as you discuss in your craft books? Yes, you wanted to keep it fast paced, but that much time elapses and we get close to zero feel for what is happening in the nation. A few blurbs about city council votes does not cut it! The premise at its core could have worked. I have had two similar ideas boiling in my head for years…but if I ever approach the idea, I will look to this book as a list of things to avoid, not to emulate. My concern (for Card’s future) is that this book seems to have not been fully edited by a good set of critical editors. As authors become popular, this seems to occur frequently. Good and great authors still need to be told when something doesn’t work and they need to not let their past success go to their head. I recently read a collection of Card’s short stories, which included some LDS oriented stories. Despite the obvious political and religious leanings, those stories were quite good and the short essays that went with each story were insightful. But, most of those were written long ago. Finally, as mentioned by a few, this also feels “video game-ish.” I will probably not spend the time on the sequel to this, “Hidden Empire,” as I suspect it will be in the same world and follow the same style. I don’t begrudge Card the opportunity to get preachy, I just would like him to do a better job at it. Sometimes, when an author is too passionate about something s/he loses objectivity and the ability to self-edit. I think this may be the case for this book (and its sequel).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marian Willeke

    As my first experience with Card, I wasn't very fond of the paranoid approach. Standing on it's own, it had an interesting view into one of our possible futures, albeit unlikely future, in my opinion. I heartily agree that people incorrectly compare the US to Rome. It was a good feeling to have already thought that if there was an appropriate comparison, it would have been to the Rome before the Ceasars, and then to examine that thought more in a novel. I was very impressed with Card's intellige As my first experience with Card, I wasn't very fond of the paranoid approach. Standing on it's own, it had an interesting view into one of our possible futures, albeit unlikely future, in my opinion. I heartily agree that people incorrectly compare the US to Rome. It was a good feeling to have already thought that if there was an appropriate comparison, it would have been to the Rome before the Ceasars, and then to examine that thought more in a novel. I was very impressed with Card's intelligent writing, although I wasn't terribly impressed with his techno representation. It seemed that he was much more familiar with the militia foot soldier side of the war and much less familiar with the high technology side. I do greatly appreciate his civil engineering approach for the Progressive Restoration's base. The ending was a little unsatisfactory, but only in the realm that it left you with a certain vigilence to look beyond political and media hype because we will never know the full story. Overall I did enjoy the book, but am hopeful that Card doesn't always write this type of thriller.

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