The premise of this book sounded interesting--extremists on both sides of the political spectrum propelling the country into a civil war--but the execution is extremely lacking. This is a very poorly-written, silly book. The characters, the settings, the dialogue, the situations, are all under-developed and have the feeling of being simply pasted into the book to prop up Card's premise and his message. This is not how successful fiction works, and of all people, Card should know that. "Empire" could have been a truly thoughtful, compelling book, because the issue Card's concerned with (extreme political polarization) is a timely and important one--but instead it has a rushed, superficial feel, possibly because Card was attempting to time to book's release with the release of a corresponding video game. Again, this is not how fiction should work.
I expected a LOT more from Card -- he is one of my favorite authors. But this book is a stinker. Don't waste your time on it. Reread and Ender story or Alvin story instead. In his defense, the poor effort could be due to its link to some kind of game of the same name.
I couldn't finish this book. the characters and plot started out interesting, but it is degenerating into right wing political paranoia. Some of the rants would make sense in 1986, but not in 2006 when it was written.
Hard to disagree with anything anyone else has written, a poorly conceived and badly executed story...with so many implausible plot and character holes in it, Swiss cheese seems totally solid in comparison. SPOILER AHEAD...if that's even possible...OSC commits the SF Cardinal Sin (pun intended!) and KILLS the hero of the book less than half-way through! I gave it up on it shortly after that, there are too many other good books that deserve my attention and recommendations.
If the incredibly talented OSC actually wrote this book, I'll eat my hat. A genuinely awful story and, pure waste of valuable reading time! Read several of the 1 Star Amazon reviews for this title and you'll get the point...there is not the slightest socially redeeming value or, bit of reading entertainment to be found in this bound waste of a tree's life. You have been warned!
Empire tells a lively parable, critical for our time, about the depth of ideological divides, particularly the current one between Conservatives and Liberals. This fictional civil war story proposes that we have reached a crux of cultural division which could leave us all subject to a new Caesar Augustus, a dictator who quietly and cleverly uses party division to give himself supreme power. Some of cards favorite themes make odd reappearances as plot devices here. If you liked the jeesh of Ender Wiggin, you might love to see such characters operating in a world even more real than that of Card's Shadow series following his other Ender world characters, primarily Bean. More importantly though it follows a lively "Modern Warfare" story which should concern all those who love freedom.
Its fiction, but I think fiction that deals at least somewhat with current issues is good fiction. We are horribly polarized in this country. I would like it to stop. This book does touch on the need to really listen. Unfortunately, listening seems to be a lost skill. To much shouting going on.