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Summary

Vakov Fukasawa used to be a Reaper: a bio-enhanced soldier fighting for the Harmony, against a brutal invading empire. He's still fighting now, on a different battlefield: taking on stormtech. To make him a perfect soldier, Harmony injected him with the DNA of an extinct alien race, altering his body chemistry and leaving him permanently addicted to adrenaline and aggression. But although they meant to create soldiers, at the same time Harmony created a new drug market that has millions hopelessly addicted to their own body chemistry.  

Vakov may have walked away from Harmony, but they still know where to find him, and his former Reaper colleagues are being murdered by someone, or something - and Vakov is appalled to learn his estranged brother is involved. Suddenly it's an investigation he can't turn down...but the closer he comes to the truth, the more addicted to stormtech he becomes. 

And it's possible the war isn't over, after all.... 

©2020 Jeremy Szal (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

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What listeners say about Stormblood

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  • 22-12-20

Brotherhood, loss and nail-biting action

Absolutely loved it. Szal has a way with characterisation that grabs you, tech that intrigues you and action that dazzles you.

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Brilliant Debut

No slack in this book, great world building, great story and rounded characters. All kept me gripped to the last word.
Enjoyed the heck out of book. More please!

The narrator was an excellent choice.

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  • TW
  • 09-11-20

Really Enjoyable Book

What a great book. Really enjoyed the story and the characters. Found myself grating my teeth at tense moments too and really wiiling characters to succeed.
I’m hoping there will be another book - to dive into the unanswered questions and continue for a further adventure...
Narration by Colin Mace was excellent & he really had the characters coming to life.

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Fasten your seatbelts!

A thrilling adventure not for the faint-hearted, Stormblood sits squarely in the tradition of the genre. Space opera with hints of both noir and military sf, brims with cool tech and offers a well-developed, intriguing world. There's plenty of excitement, but in the midst of it there's real heart as Vakov desperately tries to to do right by the only family he's got left.

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Narrated well, but that's all the good I can say

Very macho.. For the first 7 chapters at least the main character spends more time telling you how badass he is supposed to be than demonstrating it. Or, in fact, anything else.

The confused nature of the stormtech as a drug and a military aid at once is a mess and doesn't make sense.

Couldn't finish.

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testosterone fuelled fight fest tedium

On the plus side, the main character is interesting. Yes he is big chunk of fighting manliness but there is bit more to him than that. he is loyal, brave and willing to fight his inner demons/aliens. This is a book for people who like their world devoid of substantive female characters. There are blokes, doing fights stuff and that’s it. Basically the hero gets into scraps, gets beaten up, and/or tortured , then escapes in a wide variety of settings. then the story moves a little and pause, rewind and start again . I have two hours left in the book and guess what, the hero has ventured into yet another lair where he is about to get beaten up and tortured. except that I have had enough and do not care anymore. I am sending this one back. A huge disappointment for me.

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  • FanFiAddict
  • 05-06-20

Rip-roaring Military Sci-Fi

Rating: 9.0/10

Stormblood is a rip-roaring military sci-fi debut sure to please fans of Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs trilogy, BioWare’s Mass Effect franchise, and a touch Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series. It reads like a bat out of hell, never taking a moment to lay off the accelerator, but also brings an emotionally charged gut punch that’ll have you deeply invested in the story. Highly recommended.

I had seen some tidbits here and there from Szal on various social media forums talking about Stormblood, but I never truly got a sense what sort of ride I was in for. He posted a synopsis which gave a Blade Runner 2049/The Dark Knight noir mixture with a slap of Mass Effect 2, which had me salivating if I can be completely honest. But again, not even close to what I experienced going through this novel. From page 1, this book sinks its alien DNA enriched hooks in and proceeds to sling you around like a bull in the PBR league.

Jeremy has created a massive world full of rich environments that are detailed to a fault; every step Vakov takes introduces the reader to a brand-new experience, which is something I can say doesn’t happen often in reads. There is so much going on in the foreground and background, but you never find yourself overstimulated. You can easily picture the surroundings of each scene, the food and drink being consumed, the way the stormtech races through the bodies of the Reapers, and the massive amount of detail that goes into each and every fight scene. This reads like a big budget film and it PURE entertainment.

Having said all of that, this book isn’t just fast-paced cyberpunky goodness. It is also the story of two brothers who are on opposite sides of war; not the one being fought against an off-world enemy, but one against the very thing Vakov holds within himself: stormtech. It is the story of an older brother who went to fight in the war, leaving his younger brother behind, and coming back to find the world he left will never be the same. It is about how you deal with past regrets, and the endurance it takes to see hardships through. It is about brotherhood and sacrifice.

Lastly, I have to give props to Colin Mace. My heavens, this man can do no wrong when it comes to audiobook narration. He truly brought this story to life in ways I never could’ve imagined, and he will continue to be one of my favorite audiobook narrators for years to come.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Nick
  • 20-02-21

Plagiarism at its worst!

The author is too lazy to come up with his own names. The style and names (places, characters, organizations, objects) are a rip-off of the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. He even chose a narrator with a similar sounding voice as Tim Gerard Reynolds, who narrates the Red Rising series.
WTF? Be original.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ed Cortis
  • 19-06-20

11yr old son & I loved this on a long drive

Highly highly recommend this book, terrific story, great vocal performance, memorable characters and some awesome tech!

I read/listen to a lot of military scifi, love it, sadly most of it isn’t suitable for a shared listening experience with my son - too many F-bombs and sex scenes - Jeremy Szal’s debut is perfect, a book of friendships and relationships, we can’t wait for the sequels

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  • Wes
  • 10-01-22

amazing sci-fi

A great I’d describe as grimdark sci-fi. Highly recommend for anyone who enjoys sci-fi or fantasy with dark adult themes

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  • TheMedicalToker
  • 27-11-21

Compelling

A great Scyfy novel is the greatest escape we have in life. It's only more true with the rise of audible. First please ignore the awful review comparing this to Red Rising. They are only alike in that they are very well written. They both obviously took years to write, they are complex fully developed. In other words they are both great, but the fact that they both use the term reaper plenty is the only thing that's similar.

This narrator is remarkable. He is no Tim Gerard Reynolds knock off, he is fantastic in his own right, and he sounds completely unique. Apparently Bob thinks Red Rising has the monopoly on narrators who speak British English.

Comparing this to Red Rising may also be disrespecting this series which is off to a remarkable start. Everything after book 3 in Red Rising has been, let's just say stop after 3 and it's great, continue knowing the rest may ruin it for you.

This book has it all. I need to listen to it again as its been a while and the sequel is coming.

Stormblood is complicated, completely original, absolutely worth your credits. Stormblood stands on its own merits.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-06-21

Great sci-fi

Thoroughly enjoyed this, still thinking about it months later. It read to me like a meditation on addiction. Violent and brutal but with a ton of heart.

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  • Medford guy
  • 29-11-20

Editing, editing, editing

Did I mention, this books needs to be edited? Needs to be 3/4 length of its current length. Future where every other sentence includes the word Stormblood. I found that I really didn't give a crap whether this chemically hyped-up character lived or died. Writer has potential but surrender the super guys and give me a character I can relate to.

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  • J. T. Call
  • 30-08-20

A solid debut: military sci-fi with grit and heart

This was a fun, riotous romp through all the things I'd hope and expect to see in a good sci-fi novel: advanced weapons, alien civilizations and cultures, spaceships, future humans carving out their own dystopias. For good measure, Szal also serves you a hefty helping of military fic (complete with big guns and armored battle suits, soldiers with PTSD, and battles ranging from the claustrophobic invasion of your body caused by robotic malware to firefights on farflung planets). It's gritty, full of adrenaline, and filled with heart. The world building is tremendous and the prose is just exquisite. As if that weren't enough, you also get some great sci-fi noir rolled into the mix with Vakov acting as a sort of "mercenary P.I." who goes rogue half the time to get the answers he's searching for.

At the center of Stormblood, though, are the relationships revolving around the main character, Vakov Fukasawa. Because as much as this book is about Vakov's own PTSD and coping with the side-effects of having parasitic alien DNA bonded to his body, it's also about reconciling his relationship with a brother he abandoned, learning to open up to others and develop new relationships with people that care about him, and protecting his techie sidekick (and surrogate little brother) from Vakov's own dangerous impulses. There's a lot packed in here, so it's easy to overlook this last bit, but you'll miss that gem if you blink, because the writing is so fast and fluid that you are quickly carried along from the beginning to the end of the narrative with barely a moment to digest all the flashbacks, captures, and daring escapes.

An easy 5-stars.

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  • Henrik Sörensen
  • 20-08-20

The new Altered Carbon

If you like Altered Carbon then you will also like this book. I want to say that Stormblood maintains the same level. And Colin Mac's narration is fantastic.

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  • Chastened
  • 29-07-20

A mess

What is StormTech? It is the only plot device Mr Szal knows, apparently. Need drama? StormTech. Character development? StormTech. A catchy adjective to finis the though? StormTech!

Mr Szal is the print equivalent of Uwe Boll.