I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
I think of the books I listen to in terms of: great; okay and unfortunate. This book falls in the great category. It is an engaging mixture of politics, science fiction and thriller moments.
I like the character Cecce very much. She is a fabulously well rounded character. Card, does a great job making you care for all his characters -- even the anti-hero; this draws you in hoping things go one way, getting it another way and then watch it play out in a third way.
His deep baratone voice adds just the right level of thriss and mystery to this audiobook.
If you are an Orson Scott Card fan because of the science fiction aspect of his stories, expect something different from this book. However, his books are really about intrigue, political maneuvering, and strength of character. Empire brings those elements to a current setting.
Be prepared for the range of emotion that would be inevitable if you witnessed another Civil War in America. Some parts are painful; more so than if they were taking place at a future time and place instead of here and now.
Orson Scott Card is a democrat... a liberal, even. And yet, we find ourselves reading a book where the Conservative Right makes up the majority of the protagonists. Why would Card do that? Probably because even though he's a democrat, he's actually a democrat of the "Right to Choose the Right (or wrong)" variety, rather than the "I'll do whatever I want to do, and you can go hang" variety.
Empire opens us up to a world not too far off from the one we live in today... I even got the impression that the book takes place mostly in 2007/2008. He shows us how the heated, bitter, angry partisan attitude in this country could, though hopefully won't, tear the nation apart.
I am a long-time fan of Card, and like many of his fans, his earliest work will always be our favorite. But like anybody in any career, he has matured, and he's moved away from the boyish fun and intrigue of Ender's Game and become much more politically oriented, it seems. Empire is more of a lavishly decorated political commentary, an allegory, even, than it is a true novel of Science Fiction. The "holes" that so many other reviewers are keen to point out are the kinds of holes you could find in any one of Aesop's Fables (the Grasshopper and the Ants, for example).
Though this is not my favorite Card novel, it is certainly an entertaining political story which deserves attention, and having Stefan Rudnicki narrate it certainly makes the audio experience pleasant.
It is amazing how accurately OSC is able to articulate the phases and ideology of the opposing forces in America today. Written a decade ago, tensions have raisen since then and are now comparable to those reflected in this book. Each year they progressively get worse. Everyone is insane.
the actual idea and premise of the book is very interesting and I'd love for there to be other books that explore this topic more even if not in this particular universe. the issues that I have with the book is that it gets lost in the dialogue that often times doesn't build characters aren't helpful in advancing the plot and altogether just uninteresting. this is a large part of what I think is keeping this story from being as tight and cohesive as it could be
This book will (hopefully) make you recognize and question your own fanaticism. I know it did for me. Also, I could listen to this narrator all day, he always does a superb job.
Computer Tech / Business Owner / Soccer Referee / Soccer Assignor / Soccer Trainer / Community Leader / Kiwanis / George F Hixson Fellow
Orson Scott Card is always a great read. He has never let me down.