It is a very powerful book. I haven't seen the movie adaptation (nor do I plan to) and was unaware as to what the book was about, but chose Empire of the Sun based on a recommendation by one of my GoodReads groups. This is a great book about so horrible. I found a review that I liked and I will quote something that that person said, "Turning misery, death, suffering, disease, hatred, indiscriminate killing and global warfare into beautiful art, redemptive rather than narrowly spiteful, surely this is one of the highest and most noble acts any of us can perform." I just thought that was perfect and made complete sense.
I did feel that it dragged a little in the beginning and truly didn't quite grab me in the beginning and that is why I chose to give it only 4 out of the 5 stars. It was a wonderful book and it kept me going through the middle right to the end.