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Empire State

Empire State

Written by:   Adam Christopher
Published by:  Angry Robot
Page Count:
448 pages
ISBN-10:  0857661930
ISBN-13:   978-0857661937
Where to buy:
Amazon, Angry Robot, and other fine book retailers

Publisher’s comments:
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.

Hello Ghouls and Boils,

Today we are proud to present a review of Empire State by our tentacular Assistant Editor Floyd Brigdon. I have not heard much about this book, but it seems like a very interesting cross-genre book. I am sure I will be adding it to my very long list of books to read in my “free time” (translation: when my review pile dwindles).

Since this book has Noir elements, I find this the perfect time to remind you about our interview with the phantastic author Trent Zelazny. The live interview will begin at 6:30PM Eastern and we will leave the line open for call-in questions for the full half hour of the show. We’ll be discussing his latest book Destination Unknown and who knows what else! So do tune in and don’t be shy – call in with your questions! The player will be on SNS early in the day. If you don’t hear the show begin at 6:30, refresh the page.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program… I will leave things on Floyd’s capable hands. Enjoy, my fiends!

Abstrusely,
Sarah L. Covert

When I first dove into Adam Christopher’s Empire State, I expected something like a superhero-noir-mystery-action/adventure-blowout. After finishing the novel, I can safely tell you that it is absolutely nothing like that. It delivers nothing at all like the story that I had envisioned when I read the little bit that is available on Angry Robot’s website about the novel.

But what it does deliver is so, so much more than I could have ever imagined.

Early in my reading of Empire State I was considering calling the novel a mixed bag. I thought that the opening was very engaging and almost immediately gripping. Christopher doesn’t waste any time at all with background or backstory but, instead, throw the reader immediately right into the thick of things and that is a definite plus. On the negative side, however, there were many transitions in the first few chapters (really the first third of the book) that were very jarring, with scenes shifting in the middle of a page. I was reading this on a Kindle and thought, for a while, that maybe the effect was due to a formatting error, but these transitions often left me with more than a few “What the hell?” moments.

Having finished the novel and being able to look back at those moments, I am happy to say that Empire State is one of those novels where almost everything in it… even the “flaws”… makes sense in the long run.

The story is a huge mash-up of a lot of different genre tropes and ideas. You have some superheroes, some steampunk elements and some science fiction ideas all blended with noir imagery and, at its backbone, a good old detective story. But if I had to pick just one label to put on this novel I would use “pulp” because  Empire State often felt like a classic pulp story… and some of the chapters even use the good old cliff-hanger endings. The novel plays around with all of these very broad genres and styles but it consistently refuses to succumb to the temptation to be stereotypical itself. The characters are larger than life (and very unusual in some surprising ways) and the story that they are involved in unfolds with a captivating pace (and I loved the nod to Fredric Wertham).

I can tell that Adam Christopher had a great time while writing this novel. You can almost feel that in every part of the story and it is an infectious feeling.

Final Thoughts:
Empire State  both defied and exceeded my initial expectations. It is a very enjoyable read that I would suggest to anyone who has the vaguest of interest in the genres that it touches on. I found out about one of the neatest and most unique aspects of the novel when I was reading its afterward. Christopher and Angry Robot  have made the world of Empire State  that is open to other creators and writers and have already spawned a number of works building onto the original piece (including an RPG!). Now that alone should tell you something about how inspirational this novel truly is. I give it and enthusiastic five out of five tentacles and look forward to seeing what comes next from the pen of Adam Christopher.


Floyd Brigdon, Assistant Editor/Columnist/Reviewer

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