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Empire State by Adam Christopher - book review

Empire State is a steampunk-ish novel set in New York and its parallel universe reflection, the Empire State. It starts off feeling like a fairly standard Prohibition-era pulp noir story, with a couple of bootleggers trying to get tough but then a couple of superheroes fall from the sky in the middle of a cataclysmic fight, and you realise that this isn't just another New York gangster tale.
The book is filled with lively characters and interesting ideas, from cyborgs to zeppelins. I particularly liked the running theme of reflection, distortion and how we can be our own worst enemies without even realising it.
It moves at a cracking pace and I could definitely see it being made into a film - the ending is particularly cinematic. In some ways I rather wished it would have slowed down a bit - there were so many good ideas in there that I felt could have been explored more and the climax of the novel seemed to take up a bit more of the book than was needed. I would have liked a bit more 'middle'.
Perhaps that stockpile of fantastic concepts is one of the reasons that the publishers, Angry Robot (no relation), have opened up the world of Empire State to the readers in the Worldbuilder project which I think is a great idea. They are inviting anyone to join in and use this universe as a basis for original creation - art, stories, etc. The best pieces may be published and could earn the creators a percentage of profits. 
Finally, the author has shared a Spotify playlist of the songs he was listening to when he wrote the book - what a nice personal touch. You can find that here if you're interested.  
So, if you like airships, superheroes and Boardwalk Empire, you should definitely check this out (affiliate Amazon link below). 

 

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