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(The Common #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Vakov Fukasawa used to be a Reaper, a biosoldier fighting for the intergalactic governing body of Harmony against a brutal invading empire. Now, he fights against the stormtech: the DNA of an extinct alien race Harmony injected into him, altering his body chemistry and making him permanently addicted to adrenaline and aggression. It made him the perfect soldier, but it als ...more
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published June 4th 2020 by Gollancz
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Jeremy Szal While I'm a huge fan of Joe's books, it isn't. I wanted to have an alien character with an alien-sounding name that rolled off the tongue, making him …moreWhile I'm a huge fan of Joe's books, it isn't. I wanted to have an alien character with an alien-sounding name that rolled off the tongue, making him likeable and relatable. Couldn't tell you what prompted me to pick that name, but it's not a nod to the First Law trilogy (although I wish it was). (less)
Jeremy Szal There will absolutely be ARCs, yes. I don't know when, the book is still in the editing stage, but there's going to be review copies sometime in 2019.…moreThere will absolutely be ARCs, yes. I don't know when, the book is still in the editing stage, but there's going to be review copies sometime in 2019. When that happens, we'd love a review on Fantasy-Faction. Either ask me or Gollancz closer to release date and we'll find a way to make it happen. (less)

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Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Military sci-fi readers
Milestone achieved: This is my 400th review!

ARC provided by the author and publisher—Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.

A captivating military sci-fi debut. Stormblood tells a splendid story about two brothers divided by war that is full of comradeship, actions, and conflict.

Here’s an ugly truth, I haven’t been reading a lot of sci-fi lately. I was able to read 115 books in 2019, and only eight of those books were sci-fi novels. For this year’s priority sci-fi TBR pile, I have only te
Nick Borrelli
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are certain books that are difficult to review because they were so good and there was so much going on that you want to be able to do all of it justice. Problem is, most times you can't, but I will try very hard to see if I can do just that.

STORMBLOOD by Jeremy Szal is also a tough book to categorize. Part space opera, part SF noir, part military SF, and all action-packed goodness, making this a one of a kind reading experience that leaves you breathless and utterly exhausted by the end.
Michael Fletcher
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Razor sharp and vicious, Stormblood is an adrenaline-driven vision of a dark future.

Highly recommended!
Chris Berko
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Alright Mr. Jeremy Szal, you and me need to make a deal. I agree to give you all my money and in return you have to write at least six books a year because this here is everything I love about reading. It's dark science fiction, like dark dark, it's got drug shit in it, not done in an exploitative manner but a large part of the plot, it has religious zealotry and fanaticism, violence, its a long book at over 500 pages, and it just dripped coolness from page one.

In between all the shooting and f
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I wanted to read this book because of the themes it tackles.

Firstly, Stormblood talks about drug addiction in an incredibly clever and futuristic way. Stormtech is DNA harvested from an extinct alien race that allows its user to become the perfect soldier, but they pay a price: addiction to aggression and adrenaline.

Secondly, I am a sucker for loyalty, chosen (found) families, and brotherhood. (I also love me some extinct ancient alien race.)

I'm not the biggest fan of military science fiction an
Jeremy Szal
Feb 08, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
STORMBLOOD is my first book, and I'm probably a little biased, but I think it's pretty good. STORMBLOOD is a space opera noir adventure that combines the rain-soaked cynicism of Blade Runner, the galaxy-spanning exuberance and aliens of Mass Effect 2, the character-driven pacing of Pierce Brown's Red Rising series, the furious combat of Joe Abercrombie, and the space-gothic weirdness of Alastair Reynolds.

Again, I'm probably biased.

But hey, don't take my word for it. The book gets released on J
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's not about winning. It's about how you win.

Stormblood, the impressive debut novel by Jeremy Szal, is a military science fiction about super soldiers infused with alien DNA that gives them preternatural strength, agility and healing. It also causes the soldiers to crave adrenaline like an addict, constantly looking for the next hit to the point of putting themselves in terrible danger to do so. This continues years after the war is over, causing mental and physcial breaks in what was once the
Nicholas Eames
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
STORMBLOOD is an excellent debut, and the audiobook is very well narrated by Colin Mace. I'd heard this book described as a mash-up of Altered Carbon and Mass Effect, and I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a better tagline than that.

What not every review mentions, however, is that this book is infused with a ton of heart. The main characters deeply care for one another, which makes the stakes so much higher when their lives are on the line (or lost entirely). Aside from being an action-packed r
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 S
Nick Martell
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dammit Jeremy. It's good. Real good.

Ok! So let me explain why I love this book now. STORMBLOOD is absolutely bonkers and weird in the most wonderful way. In it, certain soldiers have been infected with alien DNA that grants them above average strength, faster healing, and the ability to neutralize toxins in their body. At the cost of them becoming addicted to adrenaline. Which on it's own should sell this book to anyone. But the true beauty of STORMBLOOD is that it's a wonderfully spun tale of t
Rob Boffard
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stormblood is epic. It's a ridiculously cool scifi tale, written impeccably, with a story that is like an icepick to the face. In a really good way. ...more
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.5 Stars
This was an entertaining techno noir science fiction thriller. The story jumped into the action from the first chapter and never stopped. Despite the length, this novel read incredibly quickly because the plot was constantly moving forward.

The Stormblood technology introduced in this book was really cool. This was definitely one of the most compelling aspects of the story. I loved learning how the technology affected the main character and the other bioengineered ex-soldiers. I just wis
Adrian Collins
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review originally posted on Grimdark Magazine.

In Jeremy Szal’s barnstorming debut Stormblood, Harmony won the war against Harvest, but to do so it had to use super soldiers created through alien organisms injected irreversibly into human bodies. Those men and women are capable of the best and the worst, depending on if they can control the alien stormtech in their systems as it bays for blood and action. These men and women are the ultimate flesh-and-bone weapons, built for winning wars through
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the early chapters of Stormblood, one of the characters delivers my favorite Ambrose Bierce quote: "The covers of this book are too far apart."

I've always taken this to have two meanings. First, and probably the intended interpretation, that this book is too long and that much space between its covers is a reading crime. But I prefer the second, and the one that applies to Jeremy Szal's Stormblood: I've started this book, and I'm mad at the last page from being so far from the first, because
Manuel Antão
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Hieronymus-Bosch-Like-SF: "Stormblood" by Jeremy Szal

This is not Fantasy, despite occasional scientific speculation. The blurring of lines between the two (antithetical) genres really does a disservice to kids coming up reading this stuff who can't distinguish for themselves. Another way of putting this is that there used to be a material and meaningful distinction between kids who read Szal, Asimov and Heinlein (science nerds, who wou
Unseen Library
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of Stormblood from Hachette Australia to review.

Rating of 4.5.

In the mood for an epic and elaborate science fiction debut? Then you will definitely want to check out Stormblood by Australian author Jeremey Szal, a compelling and ingenious novel that was a heck of a lot of fun to read.

In humanity’s far future, our species has just emerged from a brutal and destructive civil war between the seemingly benevolent Harmony empire and the ruthless Harvester empire. Harmony were able t
Justin Call
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Jake is Reading
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredibly well thought out, multi-faceted sci-fi story written with an emotional intelligence that can be lacking in the genre. Since I started reviewing ARCs a few months ago, it’s the first book I’ve come across that I can’t wait to re-read.

Stormblood is set two years after the brutal war between Harmony and Harvest came to a violent end. Harmony, the galaxy’s military organisation, gained the upper hand when they created Reapers, stormtech super soldiers developed with hasty bioen
Mário Coelho
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kickstarting this review with a weird compliment: Stormblood is what would happen if a blockbuster screenwriter tried his hand at writing a novel, and discovered he's also great at the whole prose aspect of it. This is an intensely visual book, with some of the most vivid, sensorial descriptions I've read in a long while. It's all the more impressive because we're stuck in Vakov's deliciously tormented first-person POV the whole time, jumping from his mangled introspections to well-crafted scene ...more
Mike Shackle
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow. How do you sum this beast up? A cyberpunk, sci-fi noir, ultraviolent thrill ride down to the depths of human emotion and endurance. It's a $100 billion film crammed into 500 pages. It's a head trip to another planet and just pure escapism. However you describe it, it's soooo damn good. Perfect for people who like their Pierce Brown put through the blender with Richard Morgan. Go buy it now. ...more
Rob Hayes
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
What happens when you put Halo, Mass Effect, and the Expanse in a blender? Everything turns blue. This is kinda how Stormblood felt. Like the Master Chief from Halo wondering around a space station like the Citadel from Mass Effect, with the looming threat of the proto-molecule from Expanse. Oh, and the Master Chief has PTSD and crippling drug addiction. It's a mash up, but one that works surprisingly well.

We follow Vakov. He's a Reaper, which means he's an elite super soldier who was pumped fu
Joe Lindley
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Fomley
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kickass Grimdark sci-fi book. Absolutely loved it!
S A M | The Book in Hand
This can be found on my blog among other reviews :)

The Book in Hand Blog

I wrote down so many little jottings while reading this book, and all were good things. So, here it goes, time to cobble them all together into a semi-cohesive review.

This is my first review of a science fiction book, while I read two books prior to this they were of the same series and where young adult books. While I don't have an issue with young adult, and enjoy reading them, they are light in nature but often more surf
Susan Omand
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well, this book was not at all what I expected! I came to the book without knowing anything about it and, from the title (I hadn't at that point seen the cover art), I was expecting what a friend of mine calls “dragons n shit” – a high fantasy, swords and sorcery malarkey – probably due to it sharing a name with a Final Fantasy computer game expansion pack. Instead, what I got was a brilliant military sci-fi space-opera thriller involving alien biotech, war veterans, hackers, AI and authority fi ...more
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stormblood is a book that I’ve been yearning to read for months. In that time it has received a slew of fantastic reviews from an array of bloggers whose opinions I much respect, as such I’ve literally been chomping at the bit to hitch a ride to Compass.

Was it worth the wait?
Did it warrant the hype?

Hells yeah!!

Stormblood is set almost entirely inside the planet-like asteroid of Compass, in which a multitude of different species exist side-by-side. It’s not a harmonious society which is a tad ir
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a military SF /space opera debut novel by Jeremy Szal. I read is as a part of monthly reading for September 2020 at SFF Hot from Printers: New Releases group.

The story is about Vakov Fukasawa, a human, who lived in a colony planet called New Vladivostok. As a young boy he was recruited by an alien intergalactic governing body of Harmony against a brutal invading empire of Harvest. “Reapers to clear the Harvest away.” – was a chart of Harmony’s bio-modified soldiers and he was one of the
Gary O'Brien
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mass Effect meets Cyberpunk in this thrilling debut from a powerful new voice in the Sci-Fi genre.

Stormblood tells the story of Vakov Fukasawa, an ex-Reaper (bio-enhanced soldiers imbued with addictive alien-tech and not to be mistaken with the giant squid robots from ME), who has survived one brutal war only to be dragged into another. Vakov makes a living by working small-time jobs with his hacker friend, Grim, on the space station, Compass. At the beginning of the novel he finds himself corne
Michael Mammay
This is dark, gritty military SF with excellent world-building and a side helping of really cool and imaginative sci-fi technology. Told from a first person point of view, it's got a bit of a noir feel to it (though darker). The main character is a war-vet and he carries realistic baggage from that, and the two major side characters are really well done. The villains (there are lots of them) are varied an interesting/terrifying in their own way. The Big Bad is one of those awesome villains who i ...more
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Jeremy Szal was born in 1995 in the outback of Australia, where he was raised by wild dingos and nurtured a taste for weird ales. He writes about galactic nightmares, little traumas and broken people looking for hope in dark worlds. His science-fiction has appeared in Nature, Abyss & Apex, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons,, the Drabblecast, and multiple anthologies.

His debut novel, STORMBLOOD,

Other books in the series

The Common (2 books)
  • Blindspace (The Common, #2)

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