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Blades of Winter

(Shadowstorm #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  761 ratings  ·  130 reviews
In one of the most exciting debuts in years, G. T. Almasi has fused the intricate cat-and-mouse games of a John le Carré novel with the brash style of comic book superheroes to create a kick-ass alternate history that reimagines the Cold War as a clash of spies with biological, chemical, and technological enhancements.

Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, a self-described “million-
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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Mike (the Paladin)
Look...this rating and this review break my heart. Mr. Almasi I wanted to like this book...I wanted to love this book. The synopsis and even the cover just shouts "great action read!"

I'm sorry, it's just not. The book gets 2 stars because the idea is great. I really enjoy the "alternate world building". It's got some great touches, some tongue in cheek parts played for humor, some twists on world history that could have made it interesting. All good...even potentially great.

So, why am I so disap
Well the "self-described ' million-dollar murder machine' " from the Amazon synopsis is a pretty good hint I should've taken. As is the age and the name of the protagonist. Story is written in first person and, as everyone knows at this point, I tend to view this as kind of risky because that means I'm inside the protagonist's head all the time and if I don't like the protagonist it'll put off off the entire story for me. (As opposed to third person where I don't have to know the person's every ...more

Blades of Winter by G. T. Almasi is the most action-packed novel I've read, to say nothing of its fast pace. It starts at top speed, and doesn't let up until the very end. In fact, after some upgrades, the novel keeps accelerating beyond its limits at an unparalleled frantic pace. Set in an alternate-history universe, Almasi's debut jumps right into the Shadowstorm; the Cold War on steroids.

Alix Nico is an up-and-coming, yet still low level, super agen
Benji Glaab
Blades of Winter is the first novel in G.T. Alamasi's shadow storm sequence. The story told in first person from Alix Nico aka Scarlet. Scarlet is a low level agent working for ex-ops an American special service that has been secretly at war in a coldwar-esque fashion with three of the worlds super powers. Russia, Germany, and seldom mentioned China. An alternate history hinging on WW2 that felt forced, and over-rationalized by the author. Most good books the world created simply exists.

The plot
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Full Review Originally on Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: I’m a sucker for Alternate historical tales, be it Joseph R. Lewis’s Other Earth series, Robert Harris’s classic Fatherland or the more recent Land Of Hope And Glory by Geoff Wilson. It’s something about this genre wherein authors re-imagine a world from a historical standpoint that draws the mind and of course many readers love this to death. I was intrigued by this book when I came across it a couple of months ago and I included it in my
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The one hook in this premise that pulled me through the story was Almasi's take on an alternate 20th century, in which Hitler rolled his armies out West into Britain, rather than East into Russia. After dangling this idea early on in the story, Almasi drops tidbits of history and news that flesh out the new landscape. These pieces appear in the form of pseudo-internal documents and press releases that cap the end of about every other chapter or so.

Which brings me to my main criticism of this boo
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read the advanced-release - and loved it! Alix Nico is my kinda girl: sassy, stubborn and ass-kicking! This was a fun, fast read with great characters I was happy to tag along with on their globetrotting exploits. I'm looking forward to the sequel already! ...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

Alix Nico is only 19. This doesn’t keep her from an abundance of ass kicking, covert ops, black ops, and um, killing. Alix is an operative with ExOps, and her enhancements make her a pretty badass asset. It’s 1980, and Blades of Winter’s world is definitely a little to the left of ours, in terms of history. The Middle East and France are controlled by Germany and the Blades are determined to remove German control from thei
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Blades of Winter caught my attention from the very first paragraph. It is exciting with a very different alternate history. It did drag a little about 3/4 of the way through but quickly picked back up. Here are some of the elements that really caught my attention.

Worldbuilding: This is where Blades of Winter really stands out. The alternate history could have happened. How is this world different? Germany conquered England and went on to conquer most of Europe before the US had a chance to get i
Talk Supe
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full review at Talk Supe


Pardon my French but that was my overall reaction to G.T. Almasi's debut novel, BLADES OF WINTER. I have never read anything like this! I don't even know how I'll classify it, all I know is that if Almasi intends to pay homage to John le Carré and Stan Lee, he did a stellar job of doing so, both the British author and Marvel Godfather will be proud of his first endeavor to continue the legacy of ass-kicking, super human heroes with heart pounding, science
She-ra's A' DragQueen

Only about 100 pages in so far but this book is like the Charles Bronson of science fiction novels. I swear this book has a sweetass mustache carved from Herodian stone and drives a Trans Am.

UPDATE: done! This book is so badass it backhands Chuck Norris.

The alternate history was a bit uninteresting in my opinion but the rest was more than enough to make up for it. My only concerns as far as geopolitics is concerned are the present and the near-future... Re-imagining an alternate history
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mcn
4.5 stars. So good. Review tk.

And here it is!
Natalie K
Sep 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Oh dear. This is quite possibly the worst book I've ever read. Okay, it's probably not the worst—I've read so many books that I'm sure there are some other stinkers in there—but it was pretty bad.

Let me set the stage for you. (Minor spoilers in this paragraph and the next if you're super spoiler-sensitive, but nothing that truly gives away the plot. All actual spoilers are marked with the spoiler tag.) It's 1980, in an alternate version of America. World War II took place, but the Nazis overran
Paul Nelson
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books-read
This is a highly enjoyable, action packed book that reads extremely quickly with a relentless pace and a not to complicated plot. Our protagonist is Alix a 19 year old spy who is like the female Jack Bauer on acid, spy is perhaps the wrong word as where ever she goes she leaves a path of devastation, destruction and a body count resembling a basketball score board.
The world building is good set around 30 years ago, yet with technology from far in the future. The world is run by the superpowers U
*I did not finish this book*

Given the glowing reviews of this book I thought I was in for a great ride. Man, was I disappointed.

Let's start with what I liked in this book. G.T. Almasi does make an effort with his worldbuilding as he rewrites History, including geopolitical elements throughout the book (well, the part that I read obviously). I found that interesting, though a bit too "Clash-of-Civilisations"like for my tastes. Another major element is the technological edge of his world which is
Peter Sigrist
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read an early draft. Nice alternate history, ass-kicking, spy thriller, teenage girl coming of age story.
I didn't mind that it had such a young adult tone, I read a lot of young adult books. Or even that she was such a smart-ass, that can be irritating when it's taken too far but as a basic character trait it isn't a major issue, many UF heroines are constantly mouthing off. But I minded that she was obviously and flagrantly too immature to do her job. She made huge mistakes constantly that should have kept her bosses from letting her anywhere near a field operation, and it made the book read like ...more
You can find the full review over at The Founding Fields:

Shadowhawk reviews the first novel in the Shadowstorm series by debut author G. T. Almasi, an action-adventure spy thriller novel.

“Take any high-stakes action movie, add in advance cybernetics and spies. Blades of Winter is the awesome result.“ ~The Founding Fields

Its been ages since I’ve read a spy novel, the last I remember reading is Ian Fleming’s Moonraker some twelve years or so ago, a James Bon
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
originally appeared on: Bookshelf Confessions

The cover is perfect. Red hair, black outfit, firing gun… a good depiction of bad-ass fiction..:D.. It was really the cover that got my attention and urge me to request this book.. and I wasn’t disappointed at all..:)

First and foremost, I’d like to say, that this is the very first action-filled novel I’ve read. I mean literally, BLADES OF WINTER is like watching those James Bond and Bourne Legacy movies into words. Cool!!!

For the first chapter, I feel
*Genre* Science Fiction, Suspense, Alternative History
*Rating* 4.0-4.5


Blades of Winter has to be one of the best alternative reality, action-suspense novels that I have read in a very long time. G. T. Almasi takes a page straight out of Robert Ludlum’s hand book and instills a bit of humor and romance to go along it. He provides us with a heroine that is as snarky as she is bad-ass in 20 year old Alixandra Nico.

In Almasi’s world, it is the year 1980 and the president is Ronald Reagan. T
Relentless, Exciting Post-Cyberpunk Alternate History Novel Debut from G. T. Almasi

Relentless, exciting and utterly engrossing in its plot and pacing, “Blades of Winter” is a superb mash-up of the espionage thriller, superhero graphic novel, post-cyberpunk and alternate history science fiction, in what promises to be the first in G. T. Almasi’s “SHADOWSTORM” series of novels. Not only is it a compelling homage to Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” and “Reamde”, but, in many respects, it surpasses “R
This started out really strongly for me. It was chock-full o' action and the alternate history laid out was really interesting, and not something I'd read before.
However, as the story progressed, I realized it couldn't just rest on the really good world-building that was going on. As many other reviewers have pointed out, Alix/Scarlet is probably the most ridiculous elite covert operative ever. She's 19. Pretty much everything she does is wrong, yet she never gets punished for it. She's actuall
David Dalton
Alix Nico is one tough action spy. She was built/designed with enough enhancements ("Mods") to make the Bionic Women feel like a low-budget agent. There is plenty of blazing gun action here, quite similar to the weird effects seen in the movie Wanted (bullets zipping around corners & super-smart-powerful guns (Alix's is called "Big Bertha")).

But Alix has several problems. First off, she comes across as a hot-head who leaps into action first without thinking, yeah everyone seems to let her get a
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads, sci-fi
Alix Nico’s world is a crazy spy-vs-spy meld of the classic espionage novels and a re-imagined world history. In it, World War II produced four superpowers and the covert stakes have been upped by biologically-modded half-cyborg agents. Anyone remember The Six Million Dollar Man?

This nineteen-year-old is the most lethal ExOps agent out there – and that’s not quite a compliment. She’s strong, fast, and has amazingly quick trigger reflexes. But she’s only nineteen, and that shows in her situationa
A giant fantasy of ultraviolence in an alternate modern world of different geo-political powers. Alix, aka Agent Scarlett, is a cross of the bionic woman and James Bond, enhanced with prosthetics, drugs, and cyberware, the CIA's Extreme Operations' new up-and-coming superspy. She kicks, punches, sprays bullets, drops grenades, chases and gets chased (on land and in the air) to spread nearly indiscriminate death & explosions faster than a Michael Bay film.

The action is occasionally interrupted by
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its set in an alternate world where there are just 3 great powers and instead of all out war disputes seem to be settled by Levels, spies who have had their bodies enhanced with bionics and chemical gene enhancements.

Alix Nico is a new young level who connives to get herself assigned a job well above her current level/ability. This triggers events of epic proportions and leads to the revelation that her father, the worlds best ever level and presumed dead, is alive and guinea pig of the enemies
Jan 10, 2013 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Reading this felt like watching someone playing a video game. In first person present tense. Despite the cool concept (SF spy novel during the Cold War!), the actual story did not engage me at all.

Things like having the heroine, a native New Yorker, internal monolog about needing to "mash the trigger" didn't help. (For those not from the US, "mash" is a southern phrase that means push. Not at all something I would expect to hear from a New Yorker. Also, I think mashing the trigger is kind of poo
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, thriller
I won this book in a blog giveaway. I entered it because the cover rocked and the story line looked interesting. This book just BLEW ME AWAY. Non-stop action, well she stopped to reload. The cast of characters all mesh together well and had me on the edge of my seat. I started this book last night and just finished it. Now I'm going to be tapping my foot and staring at my watch till the next one is on the shelves. ...more
Diana Thayer
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty strong heroine. She kicks butt, but takes quite a bit of damage. Characters are pretty believable, and supporting characters provide a necessary counterpoint to Alix/Scarlet's combination of youth, brashness, action-first mentality tempered by having to learn how to deal with the aftermath of trauma. Good action, quick read, and leaves reader anticipating the next installment. ...more
Donna D.
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking for something new and fun to read and boy did I find it! If your tired of all the same UF books out there and want something fresh and fast paced, give this a read. Loved the word and new history he wrote, loved the characters, Scarlet is one of the strongest females I've read in a long time. Can't wait for more crazy ass Scarlet adventures. ...more
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G. T. Almasi graduated from RISD and moved to Boston to pursue a career as a graphic designer. While he built his design portfolio, he joined a band as the bass player, and wrote and designed the band’s newsletter. Once his career as an art director took off, he continued to supplement his design talents by writing copy for his clients.

As a novelist, his literary influences include Robert Ludlum,

Other books in the series

Shadowstorm (3 books)
  • Hammer of Angels (Shadowstorm, #2)
  • Talon of Scorpio (Shadowstorm, #3)

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