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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
The Empire State is a bit different from the books I normally read, but I enjoyed it. It keeps you guessing and has a tone that is characteristic of a Noir/PI Novel. Worth a read...
Published 1 day ago by StumpyB

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An ambitious novel that hugely disappoints
The multiple worlds that Adam Christopher has created for this book are genuinely unique and interesting places in which all manner of exciting tales could be told, but unfortunately this book is not one of them.

Three quarters of the book are taken up with clumsy exposition about the setting - pages and pages of characters literally explaining to the central...
Published on 13 April 2012 by James Turner


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An ambitious novel that hugely disappoints, 13 April 2012
The multiple worlds that Adam Christopher has created for this book are genuinely unique and interesting places in which all manner of exciting tales could be told, but unfortunately this book is not one of them.

Three quarters of the book are taken up with clumsy exposition about the setting - pages and pages of characters literally explaining to the central character how the multiple worlds work - and the remaining quarter is filled with confusing and nonsensical action. The central character is supposed to be a private detective who is the key to an inter-dimensional plot, but he never does any detective work, and just gets dragged dumbly along, never doing anything to advance a story that in truth could have carried on quite well with out him.

The conclusion is supposed to be an exciting series of crosses and double crosses, but none of the characters' behaviour makes any sense, the betrayals being present more because the author felt they were required of the genre rather than because they had anything to do with the motives on the characters. I kept expecting a clever twist at the end that would suddenly make the rest of the book make sense, but when in came to the final page I was just left disappointed.

Ultimately Empire State is an ambitious attempt to cross multiple genres, but sadly it fails to satisfy in any of them. Disappointing.

(Also - why is the main character so obsessed with his hat?)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A struggle to the finish!, 4 Aug 2013
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Mr. G. Bridgeman-clarke "Graham BC" (Rayleigh, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I am not a great advocate of science fiction. Anything can happen and in most poorly written books, it does. To me this book has a great idea behind it but that ideal of a parallel city New York/Empire State gets lost and the book becomes so confusing, So confusing that even the author gets the name wrong in the early part of the book replacing Rex with rad when, at that time Rad isn't involved in the book. Or was it the other way round?

To me the book is in two halves. The first half held my attention but the second half was where confusion reigns. There double crosses and double double crosses. You try to work out who the good guys are and then you have to work it out again.

There are so many loose ends and so many issues which do not add up. I didn't give up on the book but only because I had 70 a pages to go, if it had been more then this book would have been on its way to the charity shop early on.

Regret it wasn't for me. i like my stories to be straightforward and page turners, This was neither.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing., 17 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Empire State (Kindle Edition)
Oh, I wanted to enjoy this. It looked so much like something I would dig. Noir, Chandleresque detectives, golden age super heroics, alternate realities... I despaired when this turned into my slog of the year. The genres are mashed, but not in a smart or invigorating way. They're just mashed. Ground up. Paid lip service, before being poorly implemented in a cliche-ridden way that avoids the heart of each, so that everything becomes tokenistic. The plot makes little sense, even though key characters repeat important plot points numerous times within each chapter so you don't miss them, the alternate reality is boring beyond measure, and the characterisation is hollow. A disappointment.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A pastiche too far?, 4 April 2012
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If you've never read a steampunk novel, a graphic novel or seen the movie Dark City you may enjoy this book.
I thought the characters were one dimensional (ironic given the nature of the story). The rules of the author's world were conveniantly broken which ended up having a detrimental effect (why didn't the same thing happen to all the characters that travelled between the cities?).Combined with a typo that gave away a significant plot point made this a disappointing read, great cover though.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, the whole idea just doesn't work, 11 May 2013
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This review is from: Empire State (Kindle Edition)
There are some nice ideas in this story, and some imagery that should, in theory, add up to an innovative addition to the more usual alternate history/sci-fi stuff. Sadly though, Adam Christopher just isn't a good-enough writer to bring it all together in a convincing novel. The narrative is deeply confusing, and characters seem to shift personalities and motives. In the end, the story unravels into a big mess of people running around for no real reason.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction, pocket universe, superhero noir, 6 Nov 2013
It's the height of Prohibition in an alternate New York where the Skyguard and the Science Pirate, former superhero guardians of the city, now battle each other for supremacy. Rex is a racketeer shaking down midtown Manhattan when he witnesses the final, epic battle between the Skyguard and the Science Pirate and accidentally discovers the Science Pirate's secret identity ...

Rad Bradley's a down-at-heel detective in the Empire State. It's the year 19 and the State is at war but the ironclad battleships sent out into the fog to battle an unseen enemy never return. Until now. When Rad's hired by Katherine Kopek to find her missing lover, Sam Saturn, his investigation takes him into the Empire State's darkest secrets - secrets that threaten its very existence ...

Adam Christopher's debut science fiction novel is jam-packed with ideas - pocket universes, robots, superheroes and Chandler-style noir - but the story itself never really came together and was slightly too episodic for me. Rad's a curiously passive character, dragged along by events rather than driving them and I was disappointed that Rex, having started off so strongly, disappears from the page for too long, leaving him somewhat underdrawn. This is a shame because Christopher's New York and Empire State are fascinating worlds with some great concepts underpinning them and I desperately wanted to know more about the City Commissioners, the robots staffing the ironclads and the Pastor of Lost Souls but there's simply so much going on and insufficient pages to explore all of them properly. I did love the bonus interview with Christopher at the end and the creative commons licence is fascinating - all in all I'll read Christopher's next book even though this didn't quite do it for me.

The best parts of the book for me are the scenes involving Captain Carter, a scientist and adventurer whose always one step ahead of Rad and whose relationship with his robotic manservant, Byron, is delightfully ambiguous. Christopher puts Carter's ambiguity to good use such that you're never quite sure whose side he's on. Sadly the female characters are severely underdeveloped - barely more than names on a page in fact - and much as I wanted to root for Rad there simply wasn't enough there for me to feel involved with. That said, I kept turning the pages and while this book didn't quite work for me I will definitely check out Christopher's other work.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High concept, low execution, 2 Sep 2012
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Let's get one thing straight, the whole idea about mixing up a Raymond Chandler/Film Noir-style detective story with Science Fiction and a helping of Super-heroics was a great one. No question. It's why I picked up the book in the first place. But sadly it doesn't work. Not because the basic premise is bad, far from it, it's a very good one. It's just badly written. It takes an eternity to get going, the Empire State is poorly described and the central character is unsympathetic. I'd hoped that 'Rad Bradley' was a tip of the hat to 'Slam Bradley', a detective created by Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster, the men who gave us 'Superman'. When the owner of the illicit bar that Rad hangs out in is called Jerry, I waited on his partner Joe to turn up. Nope, the interview contained at the back of the book indicates that it was a typo owing more to Sci-Fi author Ray Bradbury. Shame. There are lots of unexplored avenues in this book. Why did the Skyguard and Science Pirate fall out originally? Why does the main villain character 'merge' when everyone else has separate and quite different versions on each side of the 'Fissure'? Why does Rad get caught up in it at all? The last is particularly problematic. We are endlessly told he's pivotal to the whole plot, but actually isn't. He's a passenger. He doesn't do anything of note. The author outlines in an afterword a 'Worldbuilder' project in which he invites, with some strict but understandable provisos, other writers to play in his world. My recommendation would be to go for it. It's an interesting world with a slew of different angles that could be taken. Sadly, none of them are on show here.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you're a fan of alternate history sci-fi, read this., 25 Feb 2012
it's New York, and Rad Bradley is a private detective working to survive, as you do. Then he gets assigned a missing person case, and he is pulled into parallel worlds, the future, and many other places he'd rather not be. The aforementioned Parallel World is the Empire State, a very twisted Manhattan. Things will never be the same for Rad again...
It took me quite a bit of trying to get into this. Maybe it didn't help that I started it while in the bar area of the Hammersmith Apollo while whoever was opening for Thin Lizzy was playing. But still, I should have been able to get into this. But it just left me quite confused. I didn't really understand the whole thing concerning the superheroes, ie the Science Pirate and the Skyguard. This does get resolved alter with explanations, but it would have been nice to pick up quicker. The general world building, even of "normal" New York, wasn't very good at all.
I also couldn't really imagine Rad or Rex. Not good when these are the two major characters. This meant I couldn't really visualise lots of things happening, and some things that I could, I just wasn't sure if I was getting the right idea of those things.
Some things I did get though. The four worlds in this book are 20/30s New York (is writing a few days after reading and has forgotten fine details), 50s New York, the Empire State and the Space Beyond. All of these were well imagined and fit together neatly, even if it is very confusing to start with.
And we never get any explanation of why the superheroes exist. That I understood. Don't like that. I did like the time travel elements.
It's a very slow start. The first third, I wasn't sure why I was carrying on reading this, aside from just hoping that something would happen. Luckily, a mystery is built in time for me to stay hooked, developing further on in the book, and it definitely picks up further on in the novel.
2/5 to a promising and actionfilled, but confusing book. If you really do enjoy sci-fi/reading about Manhattan, then you should read this. Otherwise, maybe give this a miss.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 17 April 2014
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The Empire State is a bit different from the books I normally read, but I enjoyed it. It keeps you guessing and has a tone that is characteristic of a Noir/PI Novel. Worth a read...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good book but not what I expected, 18 Feb 2013
The setting felt realistic, even the bits set in another world. The tone worked well, there was a bleak, oppressive greyness that suited the events of the book. There were parts that felt a little disconnected, but that fit with the tone and the setting, as the reader is aware from early on that something isn't right.
Empire State is a good book, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I think I was expecting something a bit different and that created a disconnect in my mind. There were a couple of sections early on -mostly involving female characters- which I thought were really great, but they weren't the focus of the plot. About half way through I found myself drawing favourable comparisons with Dark City, there's a similar sense of darkness and unease in both. The end made me feel a little confused, though it has since occurred to me that I am not particularly well-versed in the noir genre. This book is more an SF noir than it is anything else, and that might be part of what threw me off.
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Empire State
Empire State by Adam Christopher
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