Alas, poor Card
I just got back from Western New York, driving back to DC with my sister. She's a science fiction buff, and we listened to Orson Scott Card's Empire all the way down. Since I'd just read Peter Suderman's review of the book in the New Atlantis, I was interested to see what I'd think.
I'm afraid I agree with Mr Suderman: the book is dreadful. I'm an enormous fan of Card's, but there are some things no love can survive, and this book is one of those things. The book's premise of a plot to start a new American civil war is stupid. Card is phoning it in--apparently from somewhere with a very poor signal--and does nothing to make the story more believable. Characters this thin cannot be described with the traditional "paper" or "tissue"; they seem to be composed of some sort of special alloy fabricated to be exactly one molecule thick. Worse, they're not even entertaining. Stock fictional characters, well done, can provide hours of fluffy entertainment; these mostly bore one with ill-conceived sermons on politics and family life.