Blindspace by Jeremy Szal: Review

It’s here! I have literally just finished this book, knocking out 70% over two days, and if you want a brutal sci-fi adrenaline filled story, this is for YOU.

Some information about this book:

  • Genre: Sci-Fi
  • Release date: November 25th 2021
  • Page count: 544
  • Series: The Common (#2)

The Blurb:

Vakov Fukasawa is a Reaper. An elite soldier injected with a dangerous drug called stormtech: the DNA of a genocidal alien race, the Shenoi. It makes him stronger, faster, more aggressive. At a price.

A price that, if the House of Suns cult isn’t stopped, all of humanity will have to pay.

Vakov saved his estranged brother from the cult and killed their leader. Now they want his head on a spike, and they’re hunting him and his friends down to get it, while continuing their mission to awaken the Shenoi and plunge the galaxy into mindless violence and chaos. There’s a dangerous journey ahead, but Vakov and his misfit crew of eccentric aliens, troubled bounty hunters and rogue hackers will take any risk to stop the alien awakening. Only there’s one risk Vakov hasn’t shared: the one he himself poses. He got a terrifying glimpse of the Shenoi in the depths of interstellar space, and the violent nightmares he’s suffered since suggest their DNA isn’t just inside his body – he might already be fighting them for his mind . . .

Book Cover

Firstly I would like to thank Will at Gollancz for providing me with a very early ARC. This is a sequel that I have been waiting to read for a while, ever since I finished Jeremy’s debut novel, Stormblood (review here).

Blindspace kicks us off where we left Vakov Fukasawa and it doesn’t take long for us to be thrown into more space-faring action that Jeremy specialises in.

‘That devil’s streak of yours worries me, sometimes.’ ‘Oh, but you wouldn’t have me any other way.’

At the end of Stormblood we were introduced to a very powerful alien race called the Kaiji and in this story we get to see where they came from, what their fears are and what they can do. In fact this whole book is an elaboration of the adrenaline-infused groundwork Jeremy has laid in book one. Of course Vakov is back but he is a much more deeper character. There are times when I felt that Vakov had an emotional side to him, one that I thought was missing in book one so it is refreshing, and character building, to hear his personal thoughts about love, family and even fear. Grim returns for the ride along with some familiar faces and some completely new ones.

‘Is this safe?’ Quilan asked. ‘Of course!’ I rasped, panting. ‘It’s a battlefield, Quil. Safest place there.’

The characters in this book are the main meat on the bone. They really make the story and it’s their fears and wants that drive their actions. Being that this story (and Stormblood) are told in a first-person perspective, you can get the sense that you are getting really close to these characters. I liked the new characters but also found that old characters (and their relationship with Vakov) felt new and fresh as if Jeremy had almost re-designed them (he rewrote this book twice).

‘Son of a bitch! You said you’d let me go!’ The cultist shrieked as I disabled his helmet. ‘And you were stupid enough to believe me,’ I said.

The action, and if you’ve read Stormblood this should go without saying, is awesome. The (gun)fights (should be called funfights!) are well written and give you a cool idea of how it is going down in a distant planet, spaceship or dirty hell hole. There is a huge payoff at the end of the book which has a Star Wars size battle and it was amazing! So many things going on but so well thought out and written, I literally couldn’t stop reading.

‘I’ll kill you!’ I heard myself roar. ‘Let me out of this or I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you all!’

Jeremy makes the reader grimace (again) as he treats poor Vakov like a piece of shit at times (purely for our enjoyment is what he’ll base his defence on), putting him through terrible situations that quite frankly made me wince or pull that tense emoji people like to use. #awkward. The problem is that Jeremy does it so well, he knows that he is making you squirm, so he puts it into the book. I’ve come to expect (and dare I say love) this in his stories now, almost subconsciously challenging him to make me weep.

‘thanks for the heads-up, love,’ said Jasken. ‘Did you want to show me what end the bullets come out of on the guns, in case I’ve forgotten that, too?’

Jeremy has a really tender way of explaining things with his choice of words. His description of things going on in the world, from the point of Vakov, sometimes made me stop and think about it. I have a visceral example which I won’t reveal because it is a minor spoiler but I think these descriptions, metaphors and similes grab your attention, which adds to the impact the setting/or action, in the book has at that moment.

‘No leader ever promises his team they’ll survive a battle,’ I said, looking around at the others, speaking just loud enough to be heard above the roar. ‘That’s the rule. But screw the rules. We’re going to go out, fight like hell and then we’re coming back home, all of us.’

The arc I received wasn’t without a problem though. Aside from the various edits (it’s an arc so to be expected), there were times where continuity seemed to be lost. This could be (for example) that a character is captured and then in the next chapter they have somehow escaped and are now causing problems again. Maybe this was me and I didn’t remember it correctly or maybe it is something that has been changed from the arc copy I received. It wasn’t enough to stop my enjoyment of this book though and shouldn’t stop your enjoyment either.

Rating 4.5/5 – Vakov is like The Punisher but in space with aliens, psychopaths, stormtech addicts and rail guns. This was one hell of a ride showing that Jeremy’s writing skills have evolved from Stormblood into something even more serious. Blindspace is the kind of book you want to read when you want brutal, space-faring action with aliens, devious enemies, found family and high stakes. Be prepared to wince, grimace and turn the pages quickly when you pick this up. It’s one hell of a ride.

If you want to add this book to your Goodreads TBR then you can do so by clicking here.

If you want to get a copy of either Blindspace or the first book, Stormblood, consider buying from The Broken Binding here – use the code BLURB5 for a discount on all purchases.


One thought on “Blindspace by Jeremy Szal: Review

  1. Pingback: MY TOP TEN SFF READS OF 2021! | The Oasis

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