Customer Reviews for

Empire (Orson Scott Card's Empire Series #1)

Average Rating 3.5
( 98 )
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(39)

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(16)

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(14)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

A cautionary futuristic science fiction thriller

The two extremes in the USA have reached a point of hatred that threatens the fiber of the country. Neither extremist group wants to compromise because they believe that makes them seem weak. The vast center prefers harmony, but they are considered expendable pawns by...
The two extremes in the USA have reached a point of hatred that threatens the fiber of the country. Neither extremist group wants to compromise because they believe that makes them seem weak. The vast center prefers harmony, but they are considered expendable pawns by the right and the left who each assume the mantle of righteousness. In this divisive world of hate, the final blows occur almost simultaneously. Terrorists kill the president, the vice president, the secretary of defense, and other VIPs leaving a chaotic nation without leaders. The right blames the left for being soft on Al Qaeda the Left blames the Right for failing to protect the infrastructure.------------- Major Reuben Malich was near White House when the rocket attack killed POTUS, and the Defense Secretary. Initially considered a hero for saving lives, soon Rube is accused of carrying out the assassination. With his new assistant Captain ┬┐Cole┬┐ Coleman and a few other trusted aides, Rube investigates and soon believes the recent assassinations is the first stage in a coup to turn America into a world dominating empire to outlast the five centuries of Rome. The 'Progressive Restoration' has begun as the second American Civil War has exploded into open hostilities.----------------- Extrapolating from the hatred that has divided the country, Orson Scott Card provides a cautionary futuristic science fiction thriller. The war seems a plausible outcome though the recent election controlled by the middle brings new hope that maybe we can get along. Readers will appreciate this powerful military thriller yet extremists on both sides will condemn Mr. Card for failing to take their opinion while missing the whole point of this strong thriller that either extreme could destroy the values of this country with their no compromise idealism.--------- Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on December 9, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Disappointment abound

Like many avid readers of science fiction, I enjoyed Ender's Game. In fact, I enjoyed nearly everything Card has written in the Enderverse. But this work was appalling. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more had I subscribed to Mr. Card's political standpoints, but I do...
Like many avid readers of science fiction, I enjoyed Ender's Game. In fact, I enjoyed nearly everything Card has written in the Enderverse. But this work was appalling. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more had I subscribed to Mr. Card's political standpoints, but I do not.

It's unfortunate that such a well loved author would alienate such an important segment of his readership. I may be wrong, but I assumed most people who loved science fiction were more progressive than not. And this book is a demonization of progressives.

I would have liked it better had Mr. Card used a pseudonym for this work, so honest lovers of science fiction, and not political commentary, would know to steer clear.

And just so everyone knows, it brings me no pleasure to write a bad review for an author who once captured my imagination so completely.

Ender's Game is still my favorite book.

posted by Irishspartan1775 on February 23, 2010

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    E is for effort, E is for Empire

    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?

    Finish reading the review at http://tickleishpickle.blogspot.com/2009/07/e-is-for-effort-e-is-for-empire.html

    5 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2011

    Don't bother

    Wow, I really expected more from Card (Ender's Game). This book has an absolutely ludicrous premise a weak plot and characters you won't end up caring about in the slightest.

    I really wouldn't bother, those who gave this more than a two are probably on Card's payroll.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    Sorry I bought this book

    I bought and loved all of the "Ender" books, but I did not enjoy this book at all. I found the plot to be implausible and I did not care about the characters. I do not share Card's political views, nor would I recommend this book to anyone.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2010

    Technical issues with E-book

    Ok Book so far.Too bad chapter 10 is missing from the digital download. If I could get any help from customer service I might be able to fix it but without a redownload option or any help after 1/2 hour listening to soft music on the phone I still don't have any info. If you don't want to headache don't buy this from B and N in this format.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2008

    A reviewer

    I thought that this work was just not very good. I have read other books by card and this one is just not one of his better works. I guess you can't write a hit every time. Hopefully his next effort will be better.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    What a farce

    I liked a trilogy of Orson Scott Card's and the premise in 'Empire' sounded interesting. But politics in the US has changed a lot just since he finished the book in 2006. And he didn't even have things quite straight for 2006! Card's pivotal character, A. Tennant, is the best thing in the book, and yet he is not fully realized. Just maddening hints at his true character and intentions. He is revealed in the early pages of the book as the genius with an obsession about how empires emerge. The other characters are smart, good-hearted, but so one dimensional that they can be manipulated endlessly. Many unanswered questions. The battle scenes were so obviously like a video game. Is that what literature is sinking to? Just super good guys and super bad guys with space-age weapons? The novel is doomed by Card's didacticism and his woeful mischaracterizations of progressives as well as conservatives. Michael Crighton's 'State of Fear', trying to discredit the science behind global warming, failed for the same reason. Both these fine, seasoned writers come off looking foolish. The divide between the two ideologies is very real, very old and very firmly imbedded in the minds and hearts of American culture. Card relied on sterotypes invented by the Mainstream Media and internet blogs. He needs to research more widely and be open to our vast diversity created by our centuries of free thinking. In 2006 and still today, the Corporate-owned Media are worthless as honest news sources and are mere toole of their bosses, who also control the government, regardless of party labels, with a few brave individual exceptions. Card's notion of the major intellectual institutions being dominated by the far left is not true today, if it ever was. The novel paints a false picture. There is no way Progressives 'aka liberals' would mount such a ridiculous 'coup'. Progressives are much too disorganized and anti-authoritarian to pull that off. They love to talk, not fight. The deep divide is not Red State/Blue State invented by the Media. And Card is right that it's not geographically based. It's not even urban vs. rural. It's super-capitalists run amuck 'all over the world' versus everybody else! But the catch-22 is a dirty little secret. The rest of us are also capitalists at heart - with a love of cars, clothes, fancy homes and stock holdings 'or the desire to have them' just like the obscenely wealthy CEOs we despise. Just a matter of degree. There is a growing movement to reject such materialistic values, however. Those people are the true progressives. There are many differences between 'left' and 'right' but the basic defining ones are hard-wired into each of us. Progressives are just that: They look forward with optimism to change. They see group consensus as a more effective way to solve problems. Conservatives prefer the status quo or at least - slow, controlled change. They value individualism more than community when the two are in conflict. They like the order and security of a hierarchical system of authority. And here's the clincher: Almost everyone has some of both progressive AND conservative in his or her view of the ideal society. If there's a real civil war in our future, it will be like a huge boil that bursts open. It will be chaos, the 'rebels' will be the desperate poor, and it will be a genocide. No, there will be no civil war with two sides having at it. The American Empire exists today. Everything is in place for the emperor. The Constitution has been already marginalized. But more likely, the USA will collapse of its own weight or something totally unpredictable will happen. It is fun to speculate, tho, isn't it?

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2006

    Very poor.

    I've been an avid reader of Card's work since high school (early 1990s) and the original Ender series ranks as some of my all-time favorite fiction. I've read Empire twice now, along with Card's reflective afterward, and feel I've digested it pretty thoroughly now and can comment fairly. Essentially, the story is this (but the names are changed) George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are assassinated (the book only indicates that they are a polarizing Republican duo, but ...) and Orin Hatch (in the book simply an honest Mormon from Idaho) assumes the presidency by order of constitutional succession. An overzealous military general attempts a coup, and in response George Soros (or a figure who's obviously George Soros with a different name) leads a leftist counter-coup from his secret mountain headquarters in Washington state. No, I'm not joking. It's such a ripoff of so many bad James Bond films. George Soros has spent his billions of dollars building mech warriors and hovercrafts in his mountain layer, and with them he takes New York City. A short civil war breaks out and it fails when a group of special ops soldiers takes the mountain hideout. In the end, Orin Hatch steps down as president to allow the future American emperor to assume office. The latter is a cross between the charm and humility of Barack Obama and the intelligence of Noam Chomsky. Card says he's not taking sides in the culture war in this one, but the only REAL names he uses in the book are Fox News and Bill O'Reilly. Yes, that's right, when the good guys in the book need to get their message out untainted, they go to Fox News and they have conversations with Bill O'Reilly, who tells them repeatedly that they're in a no-spin zone. And, of course, the Washington Times is the only newspaper they'll consider going to, but they decide against it in the end because no-one reads it. No-one reads it for good reason. This book is written at a slightly better level than the worst of the Shadow series books, and it's full of right-wing sympathy. Card will deny this, but his afterward only demonstrates, sadly, that he takes this stuff far too seriously.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2006

    Card Strike Out

    I didn't finish the book. The scope was so narrowly focused on the two main characters(Rube and Cole) that the experience of witnessing a U.S. Civil War throught Cards thidr person point of view was completely absent. Where was the collective view? Where was the view of the general public? The impact of such actions as a whole on our nation? I would love to see Tom Clancy have a go on this theme.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    Disappointing

    I expect more from Orson Scott Card. I have enjoyed his other books, but this one seemed like the work of a lazy author. He took an interesting, potentially thought-provoking idea and turned it into a shallow platform for his political and cultural beliefs. I'm not saying this because I disagree with him, but because it is disappointing. To make an plot work, you need well-rounded characters, not caricatures. He throws a few bones to the other side, so that even halfway through the book I hoped there might be a plot twist or two coming, but no. Just a trite story that reads like a retread of Red Dawn. I can picture the checklist of bad guys he must have had pinned to his wall while writing this novel, because he hits every boogey-man (or woman) of the right-wing in this book. In the end it didn't make me think, like a good book should. It made me roll my eyes. Too bad. It could have been really good, and I think that the people he hero-worships deserve better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    Terrible ebook

    Cant read font of ebook and you can't change it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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