Akin to the bestselling and preceding novel in the series Empress Orchid , names within the story are different in spelling but retain the same pronunciation - allowing the reader to identify each relevant character to his or her real life counterpart. In , the Selection of Imperial begins for him is completed. The chosen Empress is a "cat-eyed, eighteen-year-old beauty" called Alute. His death had a great emotional impact on Empress Orchid.
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Shelves: historical , gift , owned-challenge Bullet Review: So bittersweet at the end. The biggest problem with this though was how hurried and rushed it felt in places. But there are trials and struggles, internal and external, not to mention a media and Western world that Bullet Review: So bittersweet at the end. But there are trials and struggles, internal and external, not to mention a media and Western world that loves to portray her as a tyrant and despot.
Who is the real Empress Orchid? Maybe this book shows a side that traditional historical writers have omitted. Nearly two years ago, I had the great opportunity to read "Empress Orchid" , a fascinating look at Orchid from her childhood to when she became Empress. This book picks up almost immediately after it - but instead of focusing on a tighter timeline, it goes from to the time of her death in In trying to cover nearly 50 years, Anchee Min has to pick and choose what to focus on in her book, to summarize big events and sail over dozens of years to make sure she can fit everything into pages.
It is my wish that instead of a duology, this had been a trilogy. The first 20 or so pages were pretty rough as a LOT of summarizing and "time warping" occurred to get Tung Chih from a boring age 5 to a more interesting teenager and actual Emperor. Where is that?! This sort of pattern - summarizing, then slowing down to get into a scene - pretty much takes place the entire book, though the beginning and the ends are the worst offenders.
Min knows how to paint a scene and make her vibrant characters jump to life on the page. She also knows how to communicate this very different culture to a Western audience. It makes me really sad at these moments to be an American and to know my ancestors helped to tear apart another country, all in the name of Imperialism or capitalism or what-have-you.
I have a hard time buying the "evil tyrant" stereotype. The very end was so very sad and bittersweet, I wanted to bawl on an airplane and I never cry. A good, sad story, but a sad one nonetheless. Anchee Min does such a delightful job with this story, giving nuance to history, and it was a joy to be able to read it.
Thank you, to my Book Buddy Iset , who gave this to me!!
The Last Empress
THE LAST EMPRESS