My reviews of Horror, Urban/Dark Fantasy, LGBT Fiction, SF & WTF?! (and everywhere in between!)
Monday, April 2, 2012
Review: EMPIRE STATE by Adam Christopher (Angry Robot)
About the book
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.
I have long been a fan of "alternate histories" and "multiverses" in comics and fiction. Harry Turtledove's Worldwar, Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept and, of course, Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion books all helped to kick off my affection for parallel realities, people with doppelgangers in other dimensions and the like. The DC "Elseworlds" comics and Amalgam crossover line with Marvel Comics were incredible, as well.
I enjoyed the way they put familiar characters in other worlds, or other histories, sometimes changing that character significantly but still being faithful to the original. There has always been a soft spot in my heart for something that takes the familiar and reinterprets it to make something new and unique.
More recently, I've become a fan of Adam Christopher, comic book fanatic and tea drinker. I came across his entertaining and informative timeline on Twitter and have been hooked ever since. Not only is he a font of knowledge on comics and superheroes but he is a great writer as well. I was able to read some of his shorter pieces on his website and thoroughly enjoyed them, always hoping he would put out longer work.
Well, Angry Robot must've caught wind of his genius, too, because they signed him to a two book deal that includes the superhero adventure Seven Wonders, to be published in August of this year, and his debut novel, Empire State.
When both Adam and Angry Robot both broke the news of the deal, plus the details of the first novel, I was immediately intrigued. The blurb sounded amazing and brought to mind some of the adventures I remembered from the old "Elsewhere" comics. I just knew this was going to be something new and fresh and exciting to read. And I was not disappointed!
As I opened the first page of Empire State I was caught up in a speeding car chase, careening through the fog shrouded streets of New York along with small time bootleggers Rex and Jerome, trying to get away from racketeer McCabe and his henchmen. And then all hell broke loose, an epic battle between New York's two superheroes, the Science Pirate and the Skyguard, high above the Empire State Building! And this all in the first few pages!
What Adam Christopher has done from here is to take a pinch of gritty noir, a bit of retro sci fi and blended it all together to churn out a science fiction novel so original and so daring as to leave you breathless. And I mean that literally. There are plot twists after plot twists and mysteries and murders and a cast of characters that grab you by your collar and won't let you off this rocket powered ride of a book until you're left panting from exhilaration at the end of it!
And he makes it all seem so effortless. Expertly weaving together all the many plot threads into a complex yet compelling read, Adam Christopher keep the pace moving right along, never letting the reader's experience get too bogged down.
The Empire State itself is a rich, fully realized world that I fervently hope Christopher visits again and again. There are so many ideas packed into this first trip there, I just know any subsequent adventures will be equally awesome.
Empire State is so engrossing and so action packed a read, it is hard to believe this is Adam Christopher's debut. This is a novel that will surely be talked about for years to come as a science fiction classic. Yet I would recommend this to fans of mystery and pulp fiction as well. PICK THIS BOOK UP...NOW! You will be captivated, entertained, and before you know it, left for wanting more of Adam Christopher's Empire State.