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Review: Empire State by Adam Christopher

>>Thursday, January 12, 2012

Title: Empire State
Author: Adam Christopher
Format: eARC
Pages: 346
Genre: Science Fiction, Noir
Publication Date: December 27th, 2012
Publisher: Angry Robot
Rating: B-

From Goodreads: The stunning superhero-noir fantasy thriller set in the other New York.

It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York.

When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist.

Adam Christopher’s stunning debut novel heralds the arrival of an amazing new talent.

Why did I read this book? I really enjoy being a part of Angry Robot’s Robot Army, because I get to find out about and read upcoming releases. This is how I found out about Empire State and after seeing the words super hero, noir and prohibition-era I had to read it!

Source: eARC from publisher

My Review
Empire State is not really like anything I’ve read before and I mean that in a good way. It combines so much awesomeness into one package. The story is this: two super heroes fighting in their high tech armor create a hole in reality and subsequently another reality. Our protagonist is Rad Bradley, a fedora-wearing private investigator who takes the job of finding a missing young woman. He drinks lots of illegal booze and rationed coffee because the Empire State is in Wartime against a mysterious enemy. This takes Rad to a plot to destroy the world (or worlds) as we know it. Like I said, there’s a lot of awesomeness: airships, robots, fedoras, and superheroes. Not to mention the stellar setting: Prohibition-era New York.

All these things I loved. At the center of this story is a mystery (can’t have a detective without a mystery…) and there were so many twists and betrayals I didn’t see coming. Rad is our main character and I enjoyed his subtle goodness and his determination to solve the mystery (and save the world), but there were also other characters I enjoyed. One of them is Captain Carson, a quirky old time adventurer who helps Rad throughout the story.

I may appear vague because I don’t want to give away the ending or any of the reveals about this world. What I will say is that there’s a fascinating take on the alternate reality and how this affects the people and places in our world and theirs.

Rating: B-
The only issues I had with Empire State was that I found it took some time to really get into the story. Everything takes some time to get set up but once it is, it’s pretty fast-paced. I would have also liked to have seen more women, or more of the women that are in the story. However, I found Empire State very enjoyable. Christopher melds so many ideas together: superheroes, Prohibition, noir fiction, science, alternate realities and creates a powerful fantasy package. I never once thought this world was unbelievable and I think that’s a great accomplishment.

This is Adam Christopher’s debut novel. He recently stopped by with a great guest post: The Masked Men of Empire State. Check it out!

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