Read Succession by Scott Westerfeld Online

succession

Club Review: Because the immortal Emperor can grant a form of eternal life-after-death, creating an elite known as the Risen, he has ruled the eighty worlds unchallenged for sixteen hundred years. He and his sister, the Child Empress-forever a little girl-are worshipped as living gods. No one can touch them.... ...no one but the Rix, machine-augmented humans who worship veClub Review: Because the immortal Emperor can grant a form of eternal life-after-death, creating an elite known as the Risen, he has ruled the eighty worlds unchallenged for sixteen hundred years. He and his sister, the Child Empress-forever a little girl-are worshipped as living gods. No one can touch them.... ...no one but the Rix, machine-augmented humans who worship very different gods: AI compound minds encompassing entire planets. The Rix are cool, relentless fanatics, and their only goal is to propagate such AIs throughout the galaxy. They seek to end, by any means necessary, the Emperor's prolonged rule and supplant it with a cybernetic dynasty of their own. They begin by assaulting the Imperial Palace on Legis XV-and taking hostage the Child Empress. Tasked with her rescue, brilliant tactician Captain Laurent Zai of the Imperial Frigate Lynx is well aware that failure constitutes an Error of Blood. Yet when the mission goes badly wrong, he declines to commit ritual suicide, and instead takes on a suicide mission: stopping the next thrust of the Rix invasion with just his own ship. While combat rages among the stars, the newborn Rix compound mind expands through the global net on Legis XV and works to break the Imperial blockade. And light-years away, Captain Zai's lover, Senator Nara Oxham, suspects that the mind has discovered the Emperor's hidden weakness: a dangerous secret for which he is willing to countenance the killing of worlds.... Includes The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds. Jacket art by Stephan Martiniere....

Title : Succession
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780739438015
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 530 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Succession Reviews

  • Keith
    2019-05-04 14:34

    (This book selected for review via poll )The Risen Empire falls squarely within the wave of intelligent "space opera" (contrasting with old-fashioned Star Wars style science-fantasy and stuff-blowing-up military sci-fi) that has been around for the last 2-3 decades. (See for example the works of Iain M. Banks, Vernor Vinge, Alasdair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter etc.) Setting-wise it blends dystopian/cyberpunk themes (a corrupt and oppressive regime with a dark secret, destructive ideological conflicts, class divisions, artificial intelligence) with elements that wouldn't be out of place in pulpier, more old-fashioned space opera (undeath-like immortality, mind-reading, a soldier with near-bullet-time reflexes, forbidden romance) or hi-tech military sci-fi. These different elements are blended together in a way which (like the recent comics series Saga, the first volume of which I recently reviewed) avoids dissonance and promotes originality. For example, the titular Empire superficially seems like a traditional anachronistic space opera setting, drawing on elements of the Roman Empire. However, it breaks with a lot of the usual Feudalism In Space cliches, in particular lacking a titled nobility (the resurrected citizens form a privileged class, but not one that resembles traditional fantasy/historical nobles) and with a Senate that resembles modern-day democracies flavoured with advanced technology and clearly has more power than the Roman Senate did under the emperors.I recall reading a blog post where the author makes this clear, stating that he wanted to write cool Star Wars-style space battles but with a more realistic and thoughtful take on the technology involved. On this front, the novel certainly delivers, presenting imaginative and well-thought-out technological ideas like microscopic remote-piloted drones, starships that separate into widely-spread components for battle, and artificial intelligence emerging from a planet's data network. However, the technology doesn't dominate the plot, which is very character-focused by space opera standards, dealing with the trauma and ambiguities of war and with understanding and romance across political divides and battle lines (again, like Saga), with an unusual and diverse cast of characters.The characters, like the setting and technology, avoid traditional tropes or shift them into new forms. Thus, for example, the dashing, decorated starship captain suffers from terrible injuries and post-traumatic stress, the mind-reading character finds it more of a curse than a blessing, the genius character has a form of autism and is stuck as a menial worker, and the emergent artificial intelligence isn't homicidal or megalomaniacal. Crucially, the narrative finds a lot of time for moments of genuine human emotion and warmth among the politics, hi-tech excitement and explosions. This authenticity allows the book to get away with an overall quite idealistic, optimistic outlook that shines through and doesn't jar with the darker and more cynical elements.This is a little-known general-audience book by well-known "young adult" author Scott Westerfeld. I rate some of Westerfeld's YA books very highly in that category, particularly the Uglies series, which is probably the best I've read out of the recent glut of dystopian fiction. However, I rate The Risen Empire as easily the best of Westerfeld's books, which may simply be down to my falling outside the YA demographic but may also be because Westerfeld's imagination is freed from the perceived or actual limitations of writing for a younger audience. It's disappointing that this great sci-fi work isn't better known and promoted among fans of his YA work, and that he seems (perhaps for financial reasons) to be focusing on writing new YA fiction rather than general-audience works like this (obviously this may not be disappointing to fans of his other work).

  • Andreas
    2019-05-11 15:25

    Weltensturm vom für mich unbekannten Autoren Scott Westerfeld ist eine überaus positive Überraschung. Aus der Zusammenfassung wird gar nicht richtig klar, auf was man sich als Leser einlässt (aber das triff wohl auf die meisten Klappentexte zu). Das Buch ist spannend geschrieben mit viel Liebe zum Detail. Trotz seiner mehr als 800 Seiten habe ich es in einem Rutsch gelesen. Etwas störend fand ich zu Beginn die schnellen Wechsel zwischen den Kapiteln. Ich hoffe, dieses Stilmittel setzt sich nicht durch. In Weltensturm tut es nicht wirklich weh, aber das kann schnell nach hinten losgehen.Insgesamt gibt es drei Schauplätze. Am Rande des Kaiserreiches kämpft Zai mit dem neuarigen Raumschiff Luchs gegen das Raumschiff der einfallenden Rix. Auf dem Planeten Legis XV versucht die KI Alexander, den Planten zu übernehmen. Und schließlich tobt auf dem Heimatplaneten ein Machtkampf zwischen dem Kaiser und dem Senat. Verbunden werden die Handlungen durch ein gemeinsames Element - der Liebe! Insgesamt klappt das ganz gut, wenn es auch an manchen Stellen ins Kitschige abgleitet.Von einem SF Roman erwartet man Ideen und von denen gibt es einige. Sie sind nicht unbedingt neu, aber die Art und Weise, wie die Effekte beschrieben werden, weiß zu begeistern. Es gibt z.B. verschiedene Arten von Gravitation, die für Antigravfelder benutzt wird. Man erfährt nur grob wie sie funktionieren, dafür werden eindrucksvolle Beispiele genannt und mit den Gravitationsgeistern wird ein unangenehmer Nebeneffekt beschrieben, den wohl keiner gerne erleben möchte. Ähnlich verhält es sich mit den KI-Drohnen. Dabei handelt es sich um intelligente Miniaturdrohnen, die eine zerstörerische Wirkung auf Raumschiffe haben.Der Höhepunkt war für mich die Raumschlacht in der Mitte des Buches, die sich wohltuend von den üblichen Kämpfen absetzt. Ein klassisches Duell mit Zeit für Planung und fiesen Tricks und vielen Details. Wow!Der Hintergrund der Geschichte ist durchdacht, konnte mich aber nicht in ihren Bann ziehen. Dazu erfährt man zu wenig über die Bewohner der 80 Welten, um stärkere Emotionen entwickeln zu können. Auf der anderen Seite ist es nicht unbedingt notwendig, die ganzen Informationen überhaupt zu bekommen. Lieber nur einen Ausschnitt präsentieren und die Geschichte für sich wirken lassen.Kommen wir zu einem der Schwachpunkte der Geschichte - den Charakteren. Scott Westerfeld gibt sich große Mühe um ihnen Leben einzuhauchen, letzten Endes konnten sie mich nicht überzeugen. Das führt zu einigen kleineren Überraschungen, z.B. was die Rix für Gefühle entwickeln können oder inwieweit sie sich verändern können. Interessant geraten ist die KI Alexander (ein passender Name). Zusammen mit der Rix h_rd bildet er ein nahezu unschlagbares Team.Glücklicherweise hat man wenig Gelegenheit, über die schwachen Charaktere weiter zu grübeln. Interessant sind dabei besonders einige Themen, die eine Brücke zu uns schlagen. Es gibt z.B. einen Konflikt zwischen den Lebenden und den Toten (ehemals Lebende, die durch einen Symbianten - kein Schreibfehler - am Leben erhalten werden), der mich stark an die Diskussionen zwischen Jugend vs. Senioren erinnert hat. Die alten Männer in der Politik bestimmen die Zukunft der Jugend... Spannend ist auch das Thema, wie groß der Genpool sein muss um das Überleben einer Rasse zu sichern. Erkauft man sich mit dem Ausmerzen von Krankheiten vielleicht eine mangelnde Anpassungsfähigkeit und muss später einen großen Preis dafür zahlen? Wobei ich nicht glaube, dass für einen stabilen Genpool Millionen von Menschen notwendig sein müssen, wie Scott Westerfeld meint.Das Fehlen von wirklich neuen Ideen und die etwas stereotypen Charaktere drücken auf die Gesamtwertung, aber allein schon wegen der Raumschlacht in der Mitte lohnt sich das Lesen. Man wird spannend unterhalten und hat eine wunderbare Zeit. Wer mal wieder unschlüssig vor dem Bücherregal stehen sollte, braucht nicht lange zu überlegen und kann beruhigt zu Weltensturm greifen.

  • Erica
    2019-05-18 12:36

    Some books take a while to really get going, and some books throw you into the action from page one. This book was one of the latter. It opens with a thrilling space battle with a completely unexpected twist, and had me completely hooked from the get-go.This is hard science-fiction (as opposed to the science fantasy from authors such as Jack Vance), with space travel at percentage-of-lightspeed, advanced technologies that sound scientific and plausible, and a suitably advanced culture that is completely believable. One of the coolest technologies is the synesthetic implant that everyone receives as standard, and which allows data to be viewed through the other senses a human possesses. Throughout the novel people see the real world in primary sight and have overlays in secondary and sometimes even tertiary sight, and it sounds pretty awesome. I also loved how there are four types of gravity: hard, easy, wicked and lovely. You’ll have to read the book for explanations of how they all work.At the centre of the novel is the Empire of eighty worlds, ruled by the Risen Emperor and his sister, the Child Empress. The Emperor has done the impossible: he has found a way to conquer death and grant eternal life by means of a symbiotic implant, though this implant only works on dead people. This gift of immortality is controlled by the Emperor, and he has had absolute power over the eighty worlds for sixteen hundred years.In contrast to this are the Rix, ‘enhanced’ humans who worship their planetary compound minds and wish to seed these AIs on every inhabited planet in the universe. Caught in the middle is Captain Laurent Zai, who is tasked with rescuing the Empress when she is taken hostage by the Rix.This book has so much going for it that it’s hard to pin it all down. There is a thrilling space battle that takes up a big chunk of the book and at times takes place in microseconds, yet never gets boring. There is a good dose of politics, contrasting the unbending traditionalism of the Risen and their grey worlds with the pinks: those who believe that to be immortal is to be stagnant, and who would take the power away from the Risen. There is romance, in the form of the relationship between Zai and his lover Nara Oxham, a Senator from one of the pink planets. It introduces the concept of the Time Thief, the effect that the military experiences due to travelling throughout the universe at relativistic speeds. In essence this means that if they spend two years travelling at, say, ten percent of the speed of light, ten years may have passed in absolute time. Ten years relative to them could be fifty years absolute, so any family left at home will age and die long before they do.I usually prefer to read fantasy over sci-fi, but when I do grab a sci-fi novel, this is the kind of novel that does it for me. Gripping from start to finish, and I can’t wait to read the conclusion.More reviews at Silk Screen Views.

  • Nikki
    2019-05-09 13:17

    The main thing was that I didn't really feel the characters that well. I felt the book was written more about the technology and the backdrop than about people -- which is fine, and I've come across it a lot in sci-fi, but it isn't the way I prefer books to be. No matter how many people waxed lyrical, in the text, about Laurent Zai, I didn't care that much about him. Honestly, my favourite character was one of the bits of technology -- an intelligent house.That aside, I did enjoy it, and the physics didn't leave me behind too often. And nor, thankfully, did the politics, of which there was a moderate amount (since one of the main characters was a senator). If you like sci-fi, I think I'd recommend it. I'm rapidly discovering, though, that sci-fi really isn't my genre, since there's more often a focus on technology than on characters.The ending felt strange to me, in that nothing was resolved. The empire may or may not fall apart. The compound mind may or may not triumph. Senator Oxham and Captain Zai may or may not see each other again. But I did like the closing scene, which is set ten years before the main action of the book (and we get little glimpses of "ten years before" throughout the book). The very last lines of it are lovely.[They] had taught [him] one certain rule: never laugh at a kiss. A kiss was mysterious and powerful, fragile and invincible. Like any spark, a kiss might fizzle into nothing, or consume an entire forest. A kiss was no laughing matter. Not for the wary.A kiss could change the world.It does seem odd for that to be the final word, since that's very strongly about the characters rather than war/technology, but I did love it.The main thing that interested me had little to do with the plot, oddly enough. This involved throwing the word "synaesthesia" around a lot -- in the book it's used as a way to handle multiple lots of data at once and to experience data in a deeper way. I think it was mainly interesting to me because it made me realise I have synaesthesia -- I can taste words. But that's beside the point!(Edit: After writing this, at the time I read the book, I realised there was another book in the series. For whatever reason, on my edition says this nowhere in it.)

  • Evilynn
    2019-05-14 12:35

    The good:I liked the Rix and would've loved to read more about them. Unusually well balanced gender-wise for space opera, passes the Bechdel test too and the character development was good, as usual with Westerfeld. There are some interesting ideas (nano craft, The Rix Cult, the adorable AI house etc), all in all, it works pretty well up until the unveiling of The Emperor's Secret.The bad and very spoilery, because there's no way around it:Westerfeld never really explained how the Emperor could be 1600 Absolute Years, did he? If no one noticed it wasn't a perpetual deal until quite late in the first wave of walking dead guys, shouldn't he and the Empress have been in pretty bad shape 1200 years ago? I don't think there is any amount of relativity and Time Thieving that could stretch them out 1200 years more, at least nothing that's alluded to in the story itself. Was the emperor in cryo sleep all the time he wasn't actually meeting with politicians? Was the empress always travelling? 3.5/5

  • bkwurm
    2019-04-22 15:13

    Surprisingly good.Light reading but packed with sufficient background that the setting is believable. Also the division between pink (living) and gray (dead) political factions seems to be an original and intriguing idea.A small complaint in that given the apparent ubiquity ofcomputerization and information, I found it hard to accept that some of the secrets was unknown to the general public and even to those in power. But it did not detract from my enjoyment of the book.I would have liked to see another sequel.

  • Jorge de la Vega
    2019-05-17 07:40

    An unsung masterpiece of space opera science fiction if there ever was one. Scott Westerfeld brings together a universe so intricate in detail and depth that could easily stand alongside the works of Iain M. Banks, David Brin, Stephen R. Donaldson or, dare I say, Frank Herbert himself. The Risen Empire as a whole (the setting, not the title) is an incredibly complex entity which we barely scratch the surface of, and yet that is in no way a detriment to the story. We get to see the important bits and pieces and put together the overall picture in our heads, all the while exploring the very personal thoughts and experiences of its diverse and expansive cast, all of them with their own motivations, flaws and complexities to work over. It is, indeed like Herbert's Dune, an incredibly personal and at the same time a gargantuan work of fiction that needs to be peeled layer by layer, and maybe even read more than just a few times to completely grasp. Oh, and the science fiction elements are cool, too, duh! Yes, when a novel is so good it transcends its genre and can be analyzed solely by its size, scope and themes you know you have something amazing in your hands. This is my second read of this story, though the first in this single-book format, and I have to say I enjoyed it even more this time around. This edition is the way one was meant to read this book, and I implore you to seek it out and give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

  • Claus
    2019-04-28 08:34

    This is a really great space opera with strong ideas and amazing descriptions of intense space battles and submarine like action by remotely piloted micro craft on the tiniest of scales, as well as political intrigue. Interesting world-building, interesting characters, interesting technologies and interesting cultures. I particularily like the Rix. The book is well written and for me just got better and better, but the ending felt a bit rushed and everything wrapped up a bit too quick and easy. That said the ending is ok and the rest of the book is so good that I'd happily recommend it.

  • Scott Holstad
    2019-05-09 07:19

    I just had a hard time with this book. I guess I can deal with an undead emperor who's lived and reigned for 1600 years, his beloved little sister, and his worshiping people, as well as his enemies, the Rix, but the thing that really kind of irritated me was actually the beginning of the book -- a "thrilling" space battle. At least it's supposed to be. And at first it seems like it even might be. There's a lot of tension, action, strategy, pilots risking their ships and lives traveling tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of kilometers on a mission to rescue the Child Empress, who the Rix kidnapped. How they got to such a closely guarded person of importance and kidnapped her is beyond me, but hey, it's part of the plot so I guess you have to go with it. Okay, so I was going along until I found out that these ships were one millimeter big. And that the pilots had voluntarily had themselves permanently shrunk down to one millimeter big themselves so they could pilot these bad ass ships in an effort to save the Child Empress. Of course, the author doesn't explain how a one millimeter pilot could fit into a ship of the exact same size. It seems to me that the pilot would have to be just a little bit smaller, don't you think? But maybe I'm being nit picky. No, I don't think so. I think this is a plot flaw. Also, how many people would truly volunteer to be shrunk down to one millimeter, even if it's for their leader? Is that even believable? Moreover, the tens or hundreds of thousands of kilometers the ships travel are actually going from one room in a big house or mansion or palace or something to another room. Seriously? Holy shit! I'm sorry, but when the plot is that stupid, I stop reading! Maybe the book gets better, cause after all, it has a very good rating, but at this point, I'm pretty annoyed and wishing I were reading David Weber, Chris Bunch, or even Phillip K. Dick. Cause this is downright stupid. So, I have to say that I felt that this wasn't the book for me. After all, I have hundreds more waiting for me to read them, most probably better than this. One star, which seems harsh and possibly worth two, but I'm too annoyed to give it two. Not recommended.

  • KostasAt
    2019-04-25 08:30

    8/10Note: this is the omnibus edition and even though it has the same title as the first book, as the author mentions, the story was actually written as one.This is the second series I’m finishing from Westerfeld (also read Leviathan), and even though I didn’t expect it at first I found it quite entertaining.The story takes place in the far future where the Emperor of the Eighty Worlds, aka The Risen One, is ruling for sixteen hundred years because he has found what everyone wants; the Eternal Immortality, and he gives it only to his loyal.But behind that the Emperor hides a big secret, and for to keep it hidden from his enemies, he is willing to even sacrifice whole worlds for that.In the meantime, a difficult mission falls in the hands of Captain Zai and his ship, where if they fail they might not only get themselves killed, but also billion others.Also Senator Oxham too, will have to face her own enemies as she tries to bring an end to the war but what she doesn’t know is that the Emperor ‘s conspiracies run much, much deeper.Even though I liked the book, I had a really hard time getting into the story and the characters at the beginning, because in the first 100 pages Westerfeld introduces lots of new characters in some really small chapters without giving them a lot of room to evolve.But after that, the story starts slowly to improve as it continues, and with Westerfeld's writing getting also better (which was a bit of a surprise for me). While at the same we see lots of conspiracies, intrigues, AI machines, space battles and a lot more.Closing, although the book has its flaws I can say that overall it entertained well enough to keep my interest until the ending, and I would definitely recommend it to those who like Space Opera with lots of action and to those who like Hard –technologically- Science Fiction.

  • James
    2019-05-14 12:12

    I haven't read as much Sci-Fi as I'd like to have done, but I found The Risen Empire to be original and entertaining, striking an excellent balance between the grand- and individual-scale dilemmas, and handling the trials of the vast scale of an interplanetary setting excellently. Westerfeld managed to add new dimensions, elements, and facets to a wide variety of things one expects from a story like this, some of which totally change the impact of events. Remotely-controlled combat craft, for example, allow the reader to appreciate someone's genius and quick-thinking in sacrificing a vehicle, without it being callous or emotional. I also particularly enjoyed the quick-moving political aspects of the novel.The book explores a fundamental set of relevant moral questions about immortality, death, and human development without being pretentious, and has a spread of characters/storylines applying enough to one another to seem entirely involved, but adding a wide breadth to the story's scope. Furthermore, in Katherie Hobbes and Nara Oxham in particular, Westerfeld offers characters who are believable, understandable, admirable, but flawed, and exciting to follow through his world.

  • Memphis
    2019-05-21 08:28

    BIG POSITIVE: The author drops us in the middle of the world to let us experience it, rather than using looooong descriptions and exposition. Yay! I love this style of story telling.DOWNSIDES: Introduced interesting questions: What would immortality do to a power structure? To culture? Does opposing immortality make sense? Introduced an interesting culture that believes humanity exists to create compound, planet-spanning minds and worships them. Then kinda goes nowhere with these ideas.I liked the Senator. She was an interesting character with layered motivations. And the tech imagined for her house that grows and runs itself is great. The house is part architect, part landscaper, part butler. And again, the author lets us experience the house--from the house's point-of-view, rather than writing an essay about his neato tech idea. The house and the Senator were very creative and fun to read. I also liked the nano drone pilot action sequence. Again, immersive instead of descriptive.

  • Tufty McTavish
    2019-04-28 10:21

    Once this got going and settled into the universe, I thoroughly enjoyed it. And the key was "detail". I've read a lot of pulpy books that are all dialogue and very short action spurts. The action here was thorough and substantial.The opening scene plays like a complex video game level. A small number of events may occur but the description sets the scene perfectly, which I found very absorbing. A later space battle was really quite superb, nuanced, and full of minutia.It really shows up the shorter, simpler novels. I did struggle a bit at first to separate the various groups and factions, but I'm very glad I persevered.

  • Ben
    2019-05-07 08:14

    It took a little while to get into the book, because the author immediately throws the reader into the story and then slowly fills in the background details. There are also a large number of characters, and constantly shifting viewpoints, which also made it more challenging. Eventually the author reveals enough details about the universe his story takes place in that the story becomes absorbing. It's a very good mix of interesting characters, a well designed universe, compelling action and even a few "big ideas". It has the feeling of a universe that the author has spent a lot of time thinking about and fleshing out.

  • Jota Houses
    2019-05-01 13:41

    En realidad son dos libros "The Risen Empire" y "The Killing of Worlds" pero como no pueden leerse individualmente he preferido comentarlos juntos.Es una Space-Opera muy entretenida, con una ambientación sugerente, acción, intriga, militares, políticos, un Emperador, Invasiones, conquistas y el destino del Imperio en peligro. Muy Recomendada si te gustó la Fundación pero se te ha quedado viejuna.

  • Peter Hollo
    2019-05-23 15:24

    The Australian/UK edition I read was entitled "The Risen Empire" (but it's both books in the duology).From an author better known for his YA (sf mainly), an excellent far-future sf space opera that's surprisingly "hard sf" and thought-provoking, a bit more militaristic than I usually read, but not jingoistic at all.

  • Ferdinand
    2019-05-14 15:33

    A fairly Technical read, but a good one nonetheless. A couple of very gripping ideas. A good foreshadowing of writing to come.

  • Lirio Dendron
    2019-04-28 07:33

    Sehr interessant, tolle Ideen, aber irgendwie langwierig zu lesen.

  • Paule Pullenpichler
    2019-05-15 14:37

    Hervorragende Space Opera, spannend geschrieben und mit interessanten Ideen.