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The Last Empress (Empress Orchid, Bk 2)
The Last Empress - Empress Orchid, Bk 2
Author: Anchee Min
The last decades of the nineteenth century were a violent period in China's history, marked by humiliating foreign incursions and domestic rebellions and ending in the demise of the Ch'ing Dynasty. The only constant during this tumultuous time was the power wielded by one woman, the resilient, ever-resourceful Tsu Hsi -- or Empress Orchi...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780547053707
ISBN-10: 0547053703
Publication Date: 4/7/2008
Pages: 336
Edition: 1
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 25

3.8 stars, based on 25 ratings
Publisher: Mariner Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

shukween avatar reviewed The Last Empress (Empress Orchid, Bk 2) on + 118 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Anchee Min's sequel to Empress Orchid continues Orchid's story as she exercises power as regent for her minor son, then adopted son and grandson. She offers a lovely look at a woman, ill-prepared by her training and teaching for her role, but yet keenly intelligent, who figures out through actual experience how to hold her country together in its dying days. This book is a great window on pre-communist China's issues and history, as well as a study of political winds and the lightning-stark clash between Eastern and Western values and ideals as the two cultures interacted without any perception of each other's motives. I recommend reading the two novels back to back.
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buzzby avatar reviewed The Last Empress (Empress Orchid, Bk 2) on + 6062 more book reviews
This has a little more of the political situation than the first book. The author creates a character well, but as far as making her a sympathetic character, well, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. She was still an evil ruler.
booksalicious avatar reviewed The Last Empress (Empress Orchid, Bk 2) on + 43 more book reviews
Review:  (THIS FIRST PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SPOILERS) This is the second and final book in Anchee Min's series about Empress Orchid and the Chi'ing Dynasty in China. I must admit I was very much looking forward to reading it because I loved the first book, Empress Orchid, because of how it drew me in with all the details of scenery and lifestyle of what life was like in China for royal women during this time period.  However this book had a very different feel to it.  From the very beginning The Empress is faced with struggles such as losing her favorite eunuch, (who was plotted against by those she should have been able to trust) followed by the death of her only son, then the death of her fellow wife who is the first ranking empress and who was  her rival in many things. And finally when she has picked her sister's son as a replacement for the throne finding him inadequate for the role he must play, and he ends up dying before her in the end.


The Last Empress to my taste was written in a very different style than the first book in the series; it felt like a lot of political events and wars surrounded by a few pages of what the empress or other main characters might be feeling.  While there were many good scenes, such as when she rescues her sister's son from his abusive mother and declares him the next heir, there seemed to be far more historical "information" in the book than I was expecting compared to the first novel, which disappointed me, however it was still a very good read.  If you read the first book, Empress Orchid I think it is worth it to finish up the story and read the Last Empress just DO NOT expect the same writing style. 
beav1279 avatar reviewed The Last Empress (Empress Orchid, Bk 2) on
The book is well written, but got very long towards the end. I must read if you love Chinese history.


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