Sunday, February 6, 2011

Book Review: Empire by Orson Scott Card

Empire by Orson Scott Card
two-star rating


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 in goodreads)

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.


Anonymous said...

Hello there.

I am so glad to have found your blog. Thanks to your Goodreads account.

I'll keep on touch.

Have a nice day.

rollie said...

neutraluniverse: I'm more glad that you found my blog. Thank you so much. :)
Have a very nice day, too. Happy valentines!

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