Customer Reviews


98 Reviews
5 star:
 (49)
4 star:
 (28)
3 star:
 (11)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely enjoyable read but slightly disappointing ending.
I picked this book up at the airport and read the back while waiting for my husband to buy some magazines. I hadnt even finished the back cover and knew i had to have it.
The storyline centres around Orchid, a young Chinese girl in the 1800's who is chosen as one of the Emperor's Concubines and becomes one of the most powerful women in Chinese history. It follows...
Published on 28 Jun 2005 by J F Atkin

versus
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful in parts, lacking in others
I was drawn to this book as I have read a few others which are similar. I came to the book having quite high hopes for it, and I have to say, I was disappointed. For me the beginning was far too drawn out. While I understand that Min wanted to convey the longing and the loneliness of Orchid as she waited to be summoned by the Emporor, for me it just went on for too long...
Published on 12 Feb 2006 by Brida


‹ Previous | 1 2 310 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic on detail, plodding on plot, 30 May 2006
This review is from: Empress Orchid (Paperback)
I had high expectations of this book. The story of the Dragon Empress is such an amazing one that any writer would be hard pushed to make it dull. Or so I thought...

The attention to detail is superb. You really get a sense of what day to life was like in the Forbidden City. The problem is that the detail overwhelms the story. You don't get enough sense of the Empress as a person. Also the book effectively ends just after her rise to power, thus missing out at least half of her life.

Worth a read, but could have been better.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passion, love and ambition, 6 Oct 2006
By 
Mr. R. J. Cervello "Robstar" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Empress Orchid (Paperback)
I loved this book and its ability to pick you up from the safety of the 21st century and transport you to ancient China. This book is not only insightful in telling you historical facts in a facinating way, but also magical in the fabulous way it takes you along the journey of Orchid.

We are able to see that by getting what you want in life does not mean happiness and how the love for your child can bring you to do amazing things.

This is a true but twisted fairytale that leaves you begging the author for more. I felt so empassioned by the story I have gone to do my own research into the story.

The only weakness of this book is the ending, which is probably just because I didn't want it to end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, interesting style, 15 Mar 2014
By 
Iset (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Empress Orchid (Kindle Edition)
I read this book several years ago, and I thought it was about time for a re-read, especially since I remembered it as being a good read. What I found interesting was the differences from how I remembered it. It was shorter than I recalled, and more brutal and heart-wrenching.

What I enjoy the most about Empress Orchid, and Anchee Min’s writing in general, is her skill at description. She knows how to turn a phrase in an interesting and quirky way that grabs the attention and at the same time feeds the reader information, and it’s all done through show not tell, without info-dumping. Min’s writing style has been described as “eccentric” and awkward, but I disagree. It has a wonderful deft touch and flow to it that makes it feel natural and thoughtful.

The driving force that carries the story is, of course, Orchid herself. Min writes Orchid’s character with incredible humanity. Orchid’s story begins with hardship, which Orchid uses her wits and extraordinary luck to escape. But over time her regrets pile up, and Min portrays this with great poignancy. Yet, her feelings are ones we can all identify and empathise with. Orchid is practical, frustrated, forthright, smart, and imperfect – and I identified with her as a reader because of that. She’s definitely a character I rooted for. Life in the Forbidden City felt insular and Min succeeded in creating a real sense of cabin fever that really came through to me.

I have to admit, my knowledge of East Asian history is minimal, so I can’t testify to the accuracy of Min’s portrayal. I applaud the way she weaves relevant details into the narrative without making it clumsy or plonking it down in laborious chunks. What little I know of Cixi (Orchid) suggests she was a formidable and ruthless character, and not a terribly likable person. However, Min creates a character who is very sympathetic. Due to my lack of knowledge, I’m left wondering whether the accepted idea of Cixi is real, or whether Min’s portrait, which implies that Cixi’s reputation was exaggerated and blackened by her enemies, is a more realistic vision. A thought-provoking novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Girl power!, 27 Mar 2007
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Empress Orchid (Paperback)
I am sure that Anchee Min would feel somewhat belittled by me delivering such a trite title for the review, but that is what kept me reading Empress Orchid. There are all sorts of better books available if a history of Chinese Imperial culture is what you are after, but for a solid page-turner with a strong female character at the centre, Empress Orchid doesn't tread far wrong.

Min's characterisation is patchy and sometimes sketchy of most of the cast which sometimes causes the narrative to lose pace. Some characters turn out to be wonderfully vile and evil but I would have liked to have seen them built up to this, rather than the sort of pantomime caricatures that they are reduced to. In addition to this, the text becomes a little introverted onto Empress Orchid leaving the reader feeling as though some action is probably passing them by.

However, writing style aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It will not suit a reader looking for the sort of literary depth of Wild Swans, for example, I will admit that. What it does do is provide a great story about a woman on a mission to improve herself and her prospects, without losing her compassion, in a beautiful setting that most people can enjoy
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a enchanting detailed book, 26 Sep 2006
By 
Doogie (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Empress Orchid (Paperback)
This is my first review but I felt I had to write something about this delightful book.
Am not a great reader but I purchased this book after reading memoirs of a geisha.....and I made the right choice. The detail in the book brings it alive that I couldn't put it down. You can tell the author is passionate about this book. Well worth a read!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Empress orchid, 9 Oct 2007
By 
This review is from: Empress Orchid (Paperback)
I really was looking forward to reading this book, although it is very well written and tells of the life in the forbidden city, i felt a little bored with it. almost waiting for something to happen. which unfortunatly never did. perhaps that is the way the last empress felt.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating is an understatement, 8 May 2006
By 
R. wilshaw (Liverpool, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
From the moment I picked this book up, I was transported into Orchid's world of opression and unhappiness.

I can't speak highly enough of this book and have just decided to buy everything else Anchee Min has ever written. I'm even buying Orchid as an Audio CD to for when I go away in a couple of weeks.

The story takes you from the poor and pitiful life of Orchid and sees her life through to living and growing in the Forbidden City as the wife of the Emperor. Following the trials and tribulations of Orchid at times reduced me to tears, but no matter what the story, I always found myself captivated by Orchid's emotions and experiences.

Regardless of what I or any other reviewers think of this book, I would recommend reading it for yourself and experiencing the life of Orchid and the Emperor first hand.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Worth more than 5 stars!, 24 Jan 2008
By 
S. Reid (Newcastle, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Empress Orchid (Paperback)
I loved this book so much!! I heard about it a while ago but only just got round to reading it now. It's a wonderful insight into a time and culture that I don't know much about, now I want to read more!
I read one of the other reviews saying that the plot of the story was given away straight away, so you knew how it was going to end. Well, the point of the story isn't to create suspense and keep you guessing until the end, it's not a 'will she/won't she?' story. The point is follow Orchid from being a peasant girl, through all of trials and tests she has to endure, to her becoming one of the Empresses of China. It shows her strength and also shows how she was able to get through in the male dominated world of that time.
This is a brilliant, absorbing story and I would recommend it to everyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great historical fiction read, 19 May 2006
This review is from: Empress Orchid (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book - at first i got weighed down by the very descriptive details of court rituals but once you get used to the writing style the story carries you away, and I was racing to the end to find out what happens.

Orchid comes across as very likeable in this novel, so is quite interesting afterwards to look her up on the web and see the very mixed opinions on her - that she was a power hungry, determined woman, getting people killed who got in her way. Not the Orchid we see in this book, but that just goes to show how unclear history is.

Has completely inspired me to visit China and see the Forbidden City for myself, the way she describes it makes it seem magical. A good book to read if you know nothing about Imperial China - will get you hooked on wanting to know more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars intense, detailed and enthralling, 2 Dec 2009
This review is from: Empress Orchid (Paperback)
if you have any interest in historical writing or just books in general, you should read this!!
this is the story of a young poor girl in china who competes to become one of the Emperor's wives, which she actually becomes. the story is of her life and experiences of the Forbidden City which is written in the most illuminating way.
The struggles of being a lower ranking concubine, the lengths that any of the wives will go to, to give the emperor a son, and to knock out their competition is eye opening.
the detail and research that have gone into this book is just incredible. one actually feels as though they have been transported back in time to the forbidden city, the colours, the smells, the beauty. yet the story isnt a dry historical book that one would expect.

a definate must read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 310 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Empress Orchid
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (Paperback - 3 Jan 2005)
£6.39
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews