Thursday, February 16, 2012

Empire State

Empire StateEmpire State by Adam Christopher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two battling superheroes open a rift into a parallel dimension. On the other side of the rift is The Empire State, an imperfect copy of New York. Empire State detective Rad Bradley's search for a missing woman brings him into conflict with forces from New York. But do they mean to save the Empire State or destroy it?

Why I liked this book:
Parallel universes are awesome, aren't they? One out of ever five Star Trek episodes uses them in some way. The Empire State is a copy of New York that reminds me of The Dark City. Many New Yorkers have analogues in the Empire State. In the course of this story, many of them meet their doppelgangers. Some people's doppelgangers were not very dissimilar from the originals.

The setting is a pseudo-New York of the 1930's, with robots, detectives, prohibition, and a war against an Unseen enemy. Ray Bradley is just a gumshoe that isn't all that bright and keeps finding himself in the thick of trouble. The two superheroes, Skyguard and Science Pirate, after pretty interesting. Nimrod and Carson were both characters I'd like to see more from. I had no idea where the central mystery was going.

Why I did not think this book was amazing:
Let me take a deep breath and... for a book that's promoted as a superhero book, there isn't nearly enough super hero action. The logic of how New York and the Empire State are connected was inconsistent from chapter to chapter. None of the characters were particularly well developed. I know I was supposed to care when the Skyguard's identity was revealed but I didn't. I felt like a lot was going on and it never really came together into one cohesive story. In that way, it kind of reminded me of Stephen Hunt's Court of the Air.

I think if the book had been more focused and about a hundred pages shorter, I would have liked it a whole lot more. It had it's moments but felt plodding and bloated in places. It's not a bad book, though. It's pretty entertaining if you can stomach the slow parts. I've giving this one a 3-.

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