The writing is very succinct and the quick pace does pull you through the story. It's a decent, fast read, but things seriously unravel toward the endThe writing is very succinct and the quick pace does pull you through the story. It's a decent, fast read, but things seriously unravel toward the end. The MC goes from being useless to somewhat interesting to completely insufferable. The writer throws in an occasional line about her thinking about how she is changing, but nothing in her actions ever show these things. Her transformation turns her into what she hates, which could certainly make for an interesting character arc, but it happens entirely without irony or real reflection.
There are also too many implausible elements of the story. You have to buy that there has been a total and complete nuclear annihilation of all things on land, even in the most remote areas of the world and all the little islands and archipelagos scattered about our oceans, of which there are close to 200,000 that we know of. The writer also suggests futuristic technologies in passing without elaborating in any way how they might work. Oh, they're 3D printing clothes? So are all the clothes made out of acetate or something? Isn't that a feature that probably would have been noticed by the main character? Also, 3D printers don't work on magic. Where is the material even coming from?
This book certainly has its moments, but there is very little character development. Characters rarely interact in meaningful ways. The MC is the only character who has any sort of growth, and her growth is more like the growth of a cancer. The bond villain ending eye-rollingly ridiculous.
Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, it's just not really good either. It's an easy read that requires no thought and that's fine. ...more
I received a free copy from the Amazon Vine program.
I thought the book did a great job of showing what a future would look like where technology advanI received a free copy from the Amazon Vine program.
I thought the book did a great job of showing what a future would look like where technology advanced faster than social consciousness and equality. Yes, some of that is disturbing and even frustrating, but that is the world this book is set in. It's not some altruistic future world where we have learned from our mistakes. It's a world where we keep making the same mistakes and those mistakes are amplified by our ability to surpass our own evolution.
There is a murder mystery in here, but it's more decoration than structure. The real story is about the human interactions. It's about the manipulation of fate and free will and the consequences there of.
The world-building is excellent. And, while some of it is a bit silly and intentionally tongue-in-cheek, the story really does take on big subjects and makes you think about what our world would be like if we get too much power to control our universe before we have gotten rid of the worst of our human tendencies. ...more
Empire of Sin is a history of New Orleans during the 30-year period between 1890 and 1920. This era, beginning with the end of Reconstruction and endiEmpire of Sin is a history of New Orleans during the 30-year period between 1890 and 1920. This era, beginning with the end of Reconstruction and ending with the beginning of Prohibition, was pivotal in shaping the culture and landscape that would evolve into the modern day New Orleans. It was a virtually lawless time, when sin was making a lot of people very wealthy. There is also another story here that is mostly between the lines; the tale of how racial segregation and oppression created an inequality and injustice that still hasn’t untied itself even decades after the abolishment of the Jim Crow laws that this era spawned.
The scope of this book is broad, covering the birth of jazz, the reign of organized crime, and a thriving sex trade. The central tale is the rise and fall of Storyville–a district where vices, such as soliciting and gambling, were, if not legal, decriminalized and flourishing–and it’s symbolic “mayor” Tom Anderson. Anderson and the other purveyors of sin grew rich and powerful during the heydays of Storyville, which made them targets of reformers.
The birth and evolution of jazz primarily runs parallel to the narrative of Storyville, though at times the two stories intertwine and are inseparable even when they aren’t touching. It’s clear that without the influence of Storyville and “Black Storyville” jazz may never have reached maturation.
Peppered in are accounts of the activities of the organized crime syndicates that have some impact on the overall narrative, but never really quite fit in to it all. In many ways these stories feel disparate and out of place, but are, nevertheless, intriguing and engaging.
New Orleans itself could have been more of a character. With so much focus on Storyville, the rest of the city gets left out. Other than the over-the-top antics of reformers and justice mobs, we don’t get a feel for how the rest of New Orleans operated during this time.
The level of research that has gone into this book is astonishing. The subject matter is presented in a way that is always engaging and interesting, and Krist speaks with both authority and credibility as he recounts the stories of pimps, prostitutes, and procurers with a refreshing lack of judgement and, at times, even hints of admiration.
Empire of Sin is an exciting story that should appeal to anyone who enjoys history and/or true crime....more