Book Review: Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov - The Fantasy Review

Book Review: Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov

The Fantasy Review‘s review of Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov, book two in the Foundation series.


The second entry to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy had a slow start but soon picked up. I found that after the introduction of Foundation, the plot of Foundation and Empire was far more concise.

I love a good puzzle, and Isaac Asimov delivers more than one. Who is the Mule and what does he want? What is the Second Foundation, where is it, and why is there one there?

I won’t go into spoilers in this bit, but I will say that the answers to those questions are not only satisfying but exciting, and they had me tearing through the second half of this science fiction book. Obviously, not all questions are answered, but who doesn’t like to speculate?

This was a great sequel – I hope the final entry of the trilogy lives up to the promises given in this book.


“The General”

Despite the attack on the Foundation from the Galactic Empire, I found this part of Foundation and Empire to be quite slow. It promises action and we are left with political manoeuvres. Not that I don’t like politically driven plotlines, but that’s not what I was promised!

With the Empire calling off its attack, the members of the Foundation work to figure out what they were supposed to do. This does hint at something going wrong with Hari Seldon’s psychohistory, as he makes no mention of this event.

“The Mule”

This part was incredible and is the main reason anyone who finds the first part difficult to get though should read on.

The Mule himself is an interesting villain due to the powers he seems to have, however all he seems to want is power for power’s sake, and that sort of ruins him for me. Perhaps we will see more of him in the third entry that will explain his motivations.

The ending with the reveal of the Second Foundation was so good that I couldn’t stop reading. I think it was because I’d forgotten completely about this second Foundation (from the first book), but also it might have been Hari Seldon’s plan all along.

Distract the villain with the Foundation to allow the second Foundation to flourish and prepare in time for his attack. I have so many questions and that’s what SF is all about!

This review of Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov is an updated version of one of my previous reviews. Many old reviews are receiving this treatment over the coming months.

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Owner and Editor of The Fantasy Review. Loves all fantasy and science fiction books, graphic novels, TV and Films. Having completed a BA and MA in English Literature and Creative writing, they would like to go on to do a PhD. Favourite authors are Trudi Canavan, Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson.

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