Stormblood by Jeremy Szal Audiobook review
- Version: Audiobook
- Length: 16 hours 31 minutes
- Published: June 4th 2020
- Publisher: Gollancz
- Narrator: Colin Mace
- Categories: Sci-fi, Military Sci-fi, GrimSF
- ISBN: 1473227410
- ©2020 Jeremy Szal
- (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group
This was such a great book. It was packed full with action sequences that fit, without becoming repetitive, or boring. There are different alien species, crazy futuristic tech, emotional flashbacks, some truly evil bad guys running space station gangs, adventure, and an underlying old school noir-ish feel to the whole thing. Compass, and the descriptions of the different levels contained in this artificial world, were highlights for me, and brought to mind a touch of Iain M. Banks Culture Mindships. I really enjoyed it from start to finish, and hope for a book two, as there are even bigger events unfolding on the horizon.
There are different events, or smaller stories that help makeup the story as a whole, and make it a complex journey. Vakov is brought in to help solve the mystery of infected stormtech that is killing his fellow reapers in psychotic, and suicidal explosions. Hired by Harmony, the “Good Guys” that run a good portion of stations, and systems in space. They are the overseers that took on the Harvesters in the previous war. The people responsible for creating the Reapers, the stormtech enhanced soldiers that either died in the war, or died trying to deal with the aftermath of being changed and forever addicted to the alien substance, now a part of them. Vakov is one of the few that is able to function, not constantly on the hunt for his next fix of stormtech, or one of the other drugs to be abused.
Vakov Fukosowa is a the MC that we see through the eyes of. Occasionally, it’s in the form of a flashback to his military days. Days he spent fighting against the Harvesters, in a close knit unit of Soldiers that were given a substance known as stormblood, that was supposed to make them the ultimate soldier. No empathy, no hesitation, single minded to kill til the war was over. The substance is the leftover remains of an alien race, one that is known for aggression and destruction of others.
Vakov’s best friend is Grim, he’s Vakov’s “guy in the chair”, the tech genius who can get him in and out of anywhere, and be his eyes and ears when working. They make a perfect duo when it comes to thieving jobs. And when living on a space station, more like an artificial world, called Compass, he knows the coolest, and best hidden, exclusive hangouts and bars. He also is there to remind Vakov that he can be a better person, that he has changed, and can change.
Added to that is Vakov’s hope of reuniting with a long lost brother, divided by events from their younger years. As well as a m/f relationship in the works, one that again, fits within this darker sci-fi story.
I highly recommend this to anyone into sci-fi, and appreciates a well written mystery, with some awesome SF elements. I will give it a solid 4.25 Stars for enjoyment, suspense, sci-fi ideas, and character growth.
Narrated by Colin Mace, who seems to become Vakov. His voice was accented perfectly for each character and is a Narrator I would love to hear more of.
About the Author:
Jeremy Szal was born in 1995 and was raised by wild dingoes, which should explain a lot. He spent his childhood exploring beaches, bookstores, and the limits of people’s patience. He’s the author of over forty science-fiction short stories, many of which have been translated into multiple languages. He was the editor for the Hugo-winning StarShipSofa until 2020 and has a BA in Film Studies and Creative Writing from UNSW. He carves out a living in Sydney, Australia with his family. He loves watching weird movies, collecting boutique gins, exploring cities, cold weather, and dark humour. STORMBLOOD is his first novel. Find him at https://jeremyszal.com/ or @JeremySzal