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And, of course, the characters are This book actually made me cry, and I honestly cannot remember the last book that managed that feat.
And, of course, the characters are compelling, the smart-sarcastic dialog fun, and the plot interesting. The "Torrent" quotes at the beginning of the chapters are also thought provoking.
It has my definite recommendation, but do make sure you've read the first in the series, Empire , beforehand or you won't know why you should care about Torrent, Cessy, Cole, and the rest.
I really, ridiculously loved this book! That said, I also really like Orson Scott Card Anyway, I liked this one even better than the first one maybe because I couldn't remember all of it?
I giggled, I gasped, and I cried as I read typically not at the same time , and as soon as I put it down I wanted to read it again.
Yes, I know I'm gushing, which means I probably should've Um Yes, I know I'm gushing, which means I probably should've waited a few days to write this!
Sep 09, Dimitar Ivanov rated it did not like it Shelves: , fantasy-and-sci-fi. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. If you want to read about God, American Patriotism, How Conservatism and Fox news are great, Superheroe Solders, Virus , bad Muslims, poor and very "uncivilized" african boy - this is your book.
Boring and predictable final. Oct 22, D. Dutcher rated it did not like it Shelves: science-fiction , bad-novels , immoral-novels. I am a Christian, and though I tend to be anti-political, I lean towards the right when I do.
I say this so this one-star review doesn't get obscured by charges of political bias. This book not only sucks, it's pretty immoral coming from a religious conservative like Card.
In Nigeria, we get an Ebola like pandemic where the less deadly strain still nails thirty percent of people who get it, and the other kills people in six hours.
Cole and his exo-skeleton team are sent to protect Disclaimer. Cole and his exo-skeleton team are sent to protect people from raiders intent on wiping out survivors.
Cecily and Mark come in later to perform Christian acts of mercy on them. Much, much stupidity ensues. Warning: heavy use of spoilers.
I can't avoid them because a lot of my ire is due to plot decisions and themes. The first part of the book is okay. Some arguing about the ethics of quarrantining all of Africa, carnage by people afraid of the disease, and nothing objectionable.
But then we get to a point in the book where it all goes downhill. Northern Nigerians just killed a village. Cole's team is tracking them, and they notice that some of them are probably infected by the pandemic.
Rather than be horrified and try and get to them fast before they start to infect other people, Cole's buds suggest letting them go precisely so they will infect other people.
After all, they can't kill them out of fear from the disease if they have it too, right? This is bizarre. Never mind the fact that it might be possible to contain the disease, as it seems to transmit by fluid contact or sneezes, or at least slow the infection rate down some.
It's absurd. The problem is this mindset keeps returning. The same special ops catch the disease and make it a point to infect the entire base for the same reasons.
They believe that it's going to spread anyways, so might as well infect people, let some die out, and be immune before any other country's fighting force.
There's no real reason why they would think that the virus could spread beyond the borders, they aren't doctors or immunologists, and they aren't generals or people who have the right to condemn their own allies to die like this.
Cole at least is horrified, but rather than, I don't know, throw them in a brig pending court-martial, he grits his teeth and endures it.
Meanwhile, we have Christians clamoring to come to Africa to pull a Mother Teresa. Look, I'm a Christian, and Christian charity and selflessness can inspire people to make noble and heroic sacrifices for others.
But a bunch of people clamoring to be let in to an area where again, thirty percent of people will die or more is not showing good discernment.
Especially when all you can really do is carry water to people. So in one hand, you have a really naive Christianity to the point of a martyrdom complex, without seriously examining where or not it is one.
There's no reflection on whether or not this is God's will, and the idea is that this somehow revitalizes faith in Christianity.
On the other hand you have this weird thread of "someone needs to make the tough calls, and survival of the fittest" in Cole's actions, and far worse.
There's a lot of stupidity in the book. What's worse, is that the ending continues in this theme. The President actually masterminded this in some unclear way, and the end result will be "a chance to remake the most troubled continent" and "peace on earth.
The death toll from this and the plague will be insane,and a lot of it could have been avoided.
Political gamesmanship over a pandemic in a very Darwinian sense, from a Mormon author who on the other hand espouses Christian principles.
Which, he kind of did. Barely any remorse from Cole, either. No agonizing, no memories of fun times flashing in front of his face, etc.
There's no reflection on things in general-no agony of spirit over God and the problem of the plague, no real reflection on what duty to country means and if it can remain in the face of a killer problem, and just shallowness all around.
I don't give the immoral-novels tag lightly, but the wtf morality of this book earns it imo. Sep 17, R. See the rest of my review here I wanted to like this book.
I really did. The premise interested me. I was in the mood for outbreaks and deadly viruses. The world handling a crisis.
It was even a timely read with this current Ebola crisis, but man was this heavy on the politics. If you are a right-winged, Christian who loves Fox News and don't believe in Global Warming, you'll like this a lot.
If you like military jargon and vague action scenes, you'll love this novel. If you enjoy a lot of See the rest of my review here I wanted to like this book.
If you enjoy a lot of backstory and too many references to the previous novel which I didn't know existed or read then you'll enjoy this story.
If you enjoy precocious children who are ridiculously wise for their age and who love to banter with Mommy, you'll also like this story I could do this all day.
Fact is, I didn't enjoy any of those aspects of the novel. I read to be entertained, not to be told what's right and what's wrong.
This was supposed to be Science Fiction. It read more like wishful thinking on the author's part. Anyhow, I'd like to believe that every novel has some good in it.
So, I'll concentrate on what I did like. The novel starts with this little African boy whose whole family dies from an outbreak started by a monkey.
I won't say more. Did I already say too much? A captivating start and I kept hoping the kid wouldn't die since he was so interesting. I also enjoyed learning about the different languages in the various African tribes.
The president of the United States wanted to quarantine the whole continent of Africa in order to prevent the virus from reaching the states.
A lot of people found issue with that. As they should. A lot of folks wanted to go to Africa and help the sick.
The whole thing is a PR nightmare for the president and his people. About the president's people, Cole, a military officer, and Cecily, a mom who loves to bake cookies for her five kids and councils the president on the side.
I didn't connect with the mother too much. Not with how she handled her eldest son's, Mark, whole do-good crusade. But I did like Cole. He was smart and knew what to expect and who not to fully trust.
Before being sent to Africa to check out what the deal was, Cole knew the whole operation wasn't right. As a good soldier, he does what he must, but suffers deadly consequences.
Action ensues and they find themselves trapped in a country they can't leave and sick. The Muslim bad guys are coming to get them! But are they really the bad guys, or are the bad guys 'friend's?
The pre-ending was big. The real ending was anti-climatic. It should have ended several pages before it actually did.
Hidden Empire has its moments and all the epidemiology and author knowledge over how outbreaks occur was what made me enjoy it the most.
Enough that I overlooked a lot of the other stuff that bugged me throughout the story. Feb 22, Diana Little rated it it was ok.
Sadly I have to give one of favourite author's a 2 star. Although probably not for the most of the same reasons.
When this book originally came out in I'm sure it might have stirred up a bit of filth because of the civil war and rise of the American Empire depicted in the book.
It seems a few readers could not take this book at face value of being a fictitious political "what if" story and Sadly I have to give one of favourite author's a 2 star.
It seems a few readers could not take this book at face value of being a fictitious political "what if" story and thought the whole book was just OSC's extension of his political and religious views.
I personally found it a little sarcastic and I think OSC was playing a bit of devil's advocate on this one. I think also still putting this out as OSC science-fiction put off a few people, even though this is a sequal I didn't realize that when I started it and did not read the first book.
This is definitely dystopian, modern day political fiction, so be prepared, there are no aliens or magic in this one, and even his philosophical debates were way below par for what we are used to seeing from OSC My big issue with this one, were the characters.
I could not really get into or believe most of them; except Chimna, the opening character of the book, I found endearing.
I found the relationships between collegues and the president forced and really hard to swallow and the interactions between Cecily mother and her son Mark, goading.
I'm curious to how much input the original creators had in the telling of this series, and how much is OSC. We all know he can give us much more.
This story might be cool as a 2 hour movie to waste some time one afternoon, but I am not so sure it translates well into a book series.
I know OSC is a huge supporter of the gaming and movie industries, so I feel maybe he was trying to help out as much as possible with this one.
Regardless, I'm still a huge fan and this won't stop me checking out his other works. Mar 04, James Howald rated it really liked it.
When I read Empire I was not impressed. I was even a little let down. I expect more from Card than writing an adaption novel for a video game release.
I thought it was too much of a video game, centered on cool gadgets and scenery. The characters were fine but were not developed as fully as his usually would be.
The story was fine, but didn't spark me to think the way his stories usually do. He fixed that with the sequel. It's not my favorite Card book, or even in the "must read if you want to When I read Empire I was not impressed.
It's not my favorite Card book, or even in the "must read if you want to know the author" list. But it's a good read. The questions he raises about what makes a good ruler, when democracy fails or succeeds, etc are well thought out and developed and not answered fully a good thing.
Several side plots also struck me such as the differences in cultures and experiences that drive the way we react to something.
As usual, he does a great job of taking people from two different worlds africa and virginia and using them to help us see that our way of viewing even small things like the way we spice our food may not be the only way.
And for my Chrisitan friends, he does a great job of showing how Christianity has become irrelevant in the world by losing what made it important in the first place.
He places this in a historical context and even addresses it further in his acknowledgments at the end. Don't worry though, as a writer who considers himself Christian morman he makes sure to take the opportunity of his novel to bring the faith back to relevance.
I may no longer be a practicing Christian, but I can say that the points he raises are one of the primary reasons I left.
If I saw a faith that impacted lives like he shows, I'd still be there. Okay, enough. As always, enjoyed Card better than other authors.
But if I had to grade only against his books, this is a solid B. Mar 25, Liana rated it liked it. I liked it. I'm trying to figure out why.
I liked the political-mindedness, the contemporary feel, the fact that no one is really "bad," the thought experiment of what it would be like to have to deal with an epidemic of that size, and I liked that OSC seemed to really know the places he talked about in Africa.
I don't have first-hand knowledge of Bangui or Calabar, but I'm convinced that a they do exist I know about Bangui, but I'm going on faith for Calabar and that the streets are named I liked it.
I don't have first-hand knowledge of Bangui or Calabar, but I'm convinced that a they do exist I know about Bangui, but I'm going on faith for Calabar and that the streets are named and laid out in exactly the fashion mentioned in the book.
I knew that someone had to die. Someone important, that is. I'm surprised that just one of the jeesh died. I thought maybe Cole would die, but perhaps that would mimic Empire too much.
I wasn't particularly surprised that it was Mark. The scene where Cecily finds out Mark died was sad.
It made me cry. Go figure. I'm impressed that Cole was able to take down at least two of the jeesh, considering how often it was pointed out that he lacked the experience and perhaps even the abilities of the other guys.
Shooting them in the face was necessary, given the context, but I'm glad that the I wonder why they tried to talk to him. I'm glad that Cole told Torrent how angry he was It came across as if he didn't care.
I suppose this is one of those cases where, on screen, a good actor could make that a great speech. I'm glad I'm not an actor.
Cole adopting Chinma and then Chinma living with the Malich's is an interesting development. I thought that Cole and Cecily would end up together. Kind of obvious, but sometimes OSC is like that.
I think he might have at least one more book in this series, so we'll see what happens, if anything. Nov 09, Sean rated it really liked it Shelves: science-fiction.
Hidden Empire continued to develop the plot and the characters of Empire but was really memorable for it's introduction of a more human element, less kick butt action and more philosophy of the human condition.
That being said, there is still plenty of action and drama, just more tear jerking to go along with it.
We were left at the end of Empire with a more or less happy ending, foreboding but tidy. Card describes how each of the characters from Empire deal with this outbreak from positions ranging from President of the United States to young Christian boy.
Really what brings the story to life is the young African character Chinma. Card does a remarkable job at relating this tragic character to the reader through his experiences with atrocities common to life in some parts of Africa and his thoughts of responsibility and social separation in dealing with the outbreak.
This story was very touching at times, exciting at others. It brings a sense of reality to the power that a relatively small group of compassionate people can posses but also the specific applicability of that power.
They couldn't stop the outbreak, couldn't stop the violence, but they could ease the pain and ensure the survival of many who would have otherwise perished.
Orson Scott Card has an amazing way of combining science fiction with real life situations There is so much realness to the story and the characters.
You get wrapped up in their lives and their interactions. One would typically think of sci-fi as being sort of I don't know He has Orson Scott Card has an amazing way of combining science fiction with real life situations He has depth.
He has emotion. Deep emotion. Not only do you "fall in love" with a main character, but you also find yourself engulfed in the other characters too; they aren't just peripheral beings, but living breathing real people with real personalities and feelings and perspectives.
I actually just found out that this book is: a in a series; b not the first one in the series. Luckily it is so self-contained that you don't need to know a thing about 1 to enjoy this immensely.
Now I look forward to the first novel of the series and I hope that I haven't messed it up by getting "ahead.
Jan 31, Neil rated it really liked it. My perception of this book changed when my wife asked if she would enjoy it. My first thought was, "well it's the second in a series, so you'd have to read the first book first.
Yes, it is the second in a series. Yes, the writer assumes that you already know the characters and the major points of their backstory. Other that that, though, what I consider to be the main aspect of the story and the part that I enjoyed My perception of this book changed when my wife asked if she would enjoy it.
Other that that, though, what I consider to be the main aspect of the story and the part that I enjoyed the most stands on it's own.
Furthermore, while I enjoyed the first book and would certainly generally recommend reading it first, this story has a wider appeal beyond the sci-fi genre and so I actually do think my wife will enjoy it.
This book has scenes of advanced technological warfare - though, like it's predecessor, far fewer than the cover picture would suggest. At it's heart, though, it is the story of a plague in Africa, threatening to infect the world, and the ramifications of the political, military, and human responses to that plague.
It's classic Card fiction and will attempt to make you actually think. Jun 20, Maureen rated it it was ok.
Are Orson Scott Card's books becoming somewhat stale or is it my taste that's changing? Although several of the main characters from Empire were killed off before they can take part in this story, the new characters introduced are predictably noble, talented, and intensely Christian.
The politics are predictably conservative, there are all kinds of digs at the left-wing media and intellectuals, and the quotes used to open each chapter are practically OSC opinion columns on their own.
Not always Are Orson Scott Card's books becoming somewhat stale or is it my taste that's changing? Not always bad things in small doses, but it makes the whole book feel a bit like a rant.
If you don't mind this, as well as overly fawning reverence to the US military and family values, there's some fun to be had with the globetrotting plot.
Aug 29, Scott rated it really liked it. This was one of those books I couldn't put down. Well written, good plot, interesting characters.
I disagree with Uncle Orson's politics, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying his books. Jun 12, John Pearson rated it really liked it.
This was a good book, though whoever wrote the blurb on the inside flap didn't do their job well.
Some of the conflict that they wrote about never actually happened. Nov 04, Sean rated it did not like it. I read Empire several years ago and remember enjoying it.
I was very disappointed with this sequel for several reasons. In Empire, I found the comparison between the late Republican era of the Roman Empire and the modern US to be an interesting concept with many apt examples from the very end of the era primarily surrounding Julius Caesar's ascendance.
In Hidden Empire the comparison is much looser, comparing the modern US to about three hundred years of Imperial Roman events.
It would have been I read Empire several years ago and remember enjoying it. It would have been much more interesting if they had stuck to the theme from the first book, showing the US under control of president turned dictator and comparing it directly to Caesar's reign up until assassination.
For example, the book states that Marcus Aurelius died of the plague. Officially he died of natural causes, but some historians think he may have died of the Antonine Plague measles or smallpox.
There was also a story about pagan Romans coming down with the plague and being nursed by Christians so compassionate that they were moved to become Christians themselves.
I could find no historical evidence of this. The overtly pro-Christian stuff was really heavy handed and got really old. Only the Christians are willing to risk going to Africa to care for the sick while everybody else wants to leave them to die, seriously!?
And the vilification of Muslims was pretty blatant as was the "global warming is a government conspiracy" bs. The only saving grace for this story were the well written action scenes.
The narration by Stefan Rudnicki was also excellent, as usual. Card has written many series of which I am quite fond and often recommend.
However, I am done with the Empire series. Hopefully this preachy trend doesn't continue in his future novels. I read the first volume of this series five years ago and thought it was a pretty good story, about an attempted coup in America.
For example the entire drive of one of the main plot points is for Americans to go to Africa to nurse the infected because that's what good Christians I read the first volume of this series five years ago and thought it was a pretty good story, about an attempted coup in America.
For example the entire drive of one of the main plot points is for Americans to go to Africa to nurse the infected because that's what good Christians do, and I can't help but feel there's a subtle dig towards Islam the way there's such an overwhelming volume of pro-Christianity references yet the only time Islam is brought up it's when the Nigerians are massacring civilians and stealing resources.
It's like they're the boogeyman and the author is displaying his prejudices, likewise there's a chapter opening where people who care about the environment and global warming are decreed as being, essentially terrible people with bad judgement.
There's an alright story in there but I didn't enjoy it anywhere near the amount I did the earlier opening book with the religious aspect wedged in there which didn't seem to add anything to the story beyond lecturing.
The characters could have wanted to help others for the simple reason alleviating others suffering is a decent human thing to do when you have the ability to help, but no, it was all about religion.
Feb 14, Susan rated it liked it Shelves: series , science-fiction , fiction. I'd nearly forgotten the first book in this series by the time I picked this up, so I had to learn about President Averell Torrent all over again here.
And, while Torrent isn't present for a lot of the action, it is his desire to turn America into an Empire that drives much of what happens.
What gives him the opportunity is the outbreak of a new virus in Africa, which threatens to become a worldwide pandemic. How he and others react to that forms the core of the story.
I enjoyed the book because I'd nearly forgotten the first book in this series by the time I picked this up, so I had to learn about President Averell Torrent all over again here.
I enjoyed the book because of the plot and the characters, particularly the young African boy Chin Ma. But I had to stop trying to decide whether Card was really endorsing the far right-wing positions held by Torrent and some of the other characters FOX News is the only source for true news, for example, and global warming is a myth.
And the Christians-as-saviors aspect of the plot was a bit-heavy handed for me. I wonder whether Card had originally intended to stop this series with two books, or whether he'd considered more.
It would be interesting to know what Torrent does next with the massive amounts of power he's amassed. Sep 23, Joseph Potthast rated it really liked it Shelves: So this story continues in the same world set up in Empire and I think that makes it better then the first.
Now instead of building up it draws from the foundations already established and in my opinion improves upon itself. The story deals with many different plots and threads but ballances them well in my opinion.
In the first book it dealt with what if this unknown things happens and deals more with conspiracies and politics. All Racing. All Puzzle. All Multiplayer.
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