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Empress by Shan Sa
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Empress

by Shan Sa

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English (12)  French (3)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I don't really know how to describe this book. Its good in a sense that you really get a feeling of the imperial court of China, probably an inside look that few get.

However with all the descriptions it is easy to get lost. The titles go on forever and ever, Empress this, Emperor that, Royal this Royal that...um ok I get it they love long titles and everything.

Oh well, I don't really know what else to say. ( )
  avidreaderlisa | Jun 1, 2013 |
I'm giving up on this one 100 pages in. I have an old ARC of this book (obviously old - the book was published in 2003) and so I expect some typos and the like. But there have been a noticeable number of times the wrong word was used ("peel of laughter," for example) and it's just driven me crazy. The writing is not nearly good enough to make up for the editing problems. Repetition of words in a sentence ("all of them are all like beasts of burden....") and other mistakes just pull me right out of the story.

It's a shame because I'm sure the story is very interesting, but the way its told here (even aside from the mistakes) just isn't compelling enough to keep me reading. ( )
  ursula | Feb 1, 2013 |
drawn by the exotic magic of the East, faszinated by the daily and forced traditions at the court in China 600-700A.D. Almost a family drama, a soap opera, an epic tale. This book had everything in it. However, the last third became a bit redundant. Still, I like it because this time in China was unknown to me and I liked reading about the court affairs. Yes, everbody with everybody. no regards of the gender, but then again, it made an interesting read. Will look for the author's other book. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Dec 28, 2012 |
[Empress] is about a Heavenlight Wu, who, in the 7th century as the daughter of a minor official and his more highly placed wife, would normally look forward to a life of marriage and drudgery. However, as a child she is noticed by a passing great General, Li Ji, who takes her under his wing and when he ascends to the Imperial Forbidden City he sends for her to join him there. She enters this very restrictive society as a mid-level lady, but she has much greater ambitions. Through some luck and lots of maneuvering she more than attains her wishes.

Believe me, the Borgias must have patterned much of their behavior on the Chinese Imperial court. They were a very blood thirsty lot.

I learned a lot about the life of a woman in the Forbidden City, which was much, much larger than I had realized. It was well named as a "city" because it was truely immense. Women's lives were restricted and choreographed. There was a great deal of infighting among the women in currying for favor of the current Emperor. Heavenlight, once she gains some power, is instrumental in helping the women in minor ways, but is so much a product of her time and the culture, that she does nothing major to help the position of women.

As a character, Heavenlight was very intelligent, but manipulative, petty, and prone to jealousy. Her wants and needs were primary over even those of her children.

This was an interesting historical novel, and I learned much about that period in Chinese history, but I was not a fan of Heavenlight and her machinations. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Apr 28, 2012 |
Grand story telling. ( )
  rnsulentic | Oct 31, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061147877, Paperback)

In seventh-century China a young girl from the humble Wu clan entered the imperial gynaecium, housing ten thousand concubines. Inside the Forbidden City, she witnessed seductions, plots, murders, and brazen acts of treason - but shrewdly masterminded her way to the ultimate position of power. From there she instigated positive reforms in government and culture. And yet, from the moment of her death to the present day, her name has been sullied, her story distorted, and her memoirs obliterated by men taking vengeance on a women who dared become Emperor. This amazing historical novelisation reveals a fascinating, complex figure who in many ways remains modern to this day.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:22 -0400)

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'Empress' is an historical novel of one of China's most controversial figures, Empress Wu, who emerged in the Tang Dynasty and ushered in a golden age.

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