Prohibition-era New York, parallel universes, duelling superheroes... And the world of Empire State gets a lot stranger than that.
This is a great, punchy novel full of odd ideas and thrilling conflict, but what I liked best about it was the atmosphere, and the details that build it. Christopher constructs the sense of an off kilter world with layer upon layer of pulp noir strangeness, until the whole thing crackles with its own crazy energy. It's a fun house novel, where nothing is quite what it seems and you're continually thrown off balance; Christopher is a writer dedicated to taking you places that you might think you know, and then showing you them from a different angle, and I love that sort of thing. The world of Empire State is swaddled in fog and hazy street lights, riddled through with mystery and betrayal, and thrums to the sound of gun fire and the genteel tinkle of people drinking hooch from china cups. It is, in other words, a great deal of classy fun, with superheroes as a sort of extra added bonus.
For all its pulp, noir roots, Empire State is a book unlike anything else I've read, and it will stay in your memory for a long time, probably giving you lingering looks from under its fedora and smelling faintly of gunpowder.
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