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Blades of Winter: A Novel of the Shadowstorm…
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Blades of Winter: A Novel of the Shadowstorm (edition 2012)

by G. T. Almasi

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456256,992 (3.75)None
Member:les121
Title:Blades of Winter: A Novel of the Shadowstorm
Authors:G. T. Almasi
Info:Del Rey (2012), Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:adult fiction, scifi, series, thriller, spy

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Blades of Winter: A Novel of the Shadowstorm by G. T. Almasi

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Blades of Winter - T. G. Almasi
5 Stars
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-dollar murder machine,” is a rising star in ExOps, a covert-action agency that aggressively shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany, and the Nationalist Republic of China. Rather than risk another all-out war, the four superpowers have poured their resources into creating superspies known as Levels.

Alix is one of the hottest young American Levels. That’s no surprise: Her dad was America’s top Level before he was captured and killed eight years ago. But when an impulsive decision explodes—literally—in her face, Alix uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to her limits and could upset the global balance of power forever.


Typically this is not a book I would grab and read as a first choice, or so I thought when I began reading it. However that changed as I got to know the characters and experience the re-envisioned world history that Almasi created for this story. Plus, the futuristic aspects, including body enhancements and modifications (not as we know them today, unless you are thinking of the Six-Million Dollar Man TV show) make for some great scenes and pose some very interesting ideas that are touched upon to a degree, but mostly just brought up and exposed for the reader to ponder at their leisure.

Alix, code name Scarlet, is the star of the show, but has some great supporting characters, including her Information Operator (IO) and lover, Patrick, aka Trick, code name Solomon. Raj is a great foil to Scarlet's wisecracking teenage antics, as is Cyrus, their Front Desk.

The meat of the story is Alix and Trick being tasked with tracked down her father's last job before he was killed eight years earlier. But recent discoveries by the duo uncover the fact that he is still alive, radically changing Alix's world. She had grown up worshipping her Dad, who was the top Level Extreme Operative (ExOp) in the program, to the point where they had to create new levels for him. Clearly combining that kind of star power with a child's parental worship is going to have some serious impacts on the child. At the age of twelve Alix is taken into the Training Program, right after her father is captured. She skyrockets through the training system, skipping entire sections, all thanks to the stories she grew up hearing from her beloved father.

This book is a fantastic blend of psychological thriller and emotional drama, replete with spies that have flipped, terrorists looking to end the world, human cloning, and so much more. It sounds like too much for one book, but everything flows so seamlessly that it works.

Although Alix is more of a shoot first & ask questions later hothead, she learns to control that much more thoroughly by the end of the book. She definitely matures, but she also pays a terribly high price for all of the stress she puts her body through, not too mention the psychological stress. Suffering a devastating loss at the end of the book, Scarlet is completely stunned when she returns to be confronted with a ghost from her past. ( )
  Isisunit | Feb 18, 2014 |
The question isn't what type of book BLADES OF WINTER is (obviously your basic pulp action fiction with teenage cyborg assassin involved in ubiquitous mayhem genre) but whether the author, G.T. Almasi, is good at pulling it off. Yes. Yes he is. It's not great literature, it's not meant to be great literature, but it is a well written piece of sci-fi action candy.

This is a tightly written, tightly edited, fast-paced, piece of popcorn eating (while you're reading it) action fare. The protagonist, Alixandra "Alix" Nico could have been a contender for Olympic gymnastics, but chose to follow in the footsteps of her late father, one of the greatest "Levels" (super spies with mechanical, biological, and chemical enhancements) ever seen in this book's alternate reality. Alix reminds me quite a bit of the irreverent skateboarding Kourier, Y.T. (Yours Truly) of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. Alix's warrior enhancements are similar in spirit to those we see in John Ringo's Cally O'Neil from his "Legacy of the Aldenata" series (Posleen Wars).

The design and pacing of the plot reminded me of action role-playing video games, such as Mass Effect 3. Brief, but intriguing exposition, followed by relocation to a battle site, followed by high-tech mayhem, followed by relocation to a safe place where new knowledge and weapons are acquired, followed by intriguing exposition, followed by relocation to a battle site . . .

Character development is minimal, though Alix is generally likeable. Since Alix isn't expected to be killed (what, no sequels?) reading enjoyment comes from seeing how well she destroys, kills, and maims the bad guys. People who enjoy reading works such as Don Pendleton's "Executioner" series (e.g., Oblivion Pact (Mack Bolan)) will feel right at home.

An easy 5 stars for an author that pulls off what is expected in the pulp-action, sci-fi, young girl gymnast turned cyborg killer genre. Lots of stuff blows up, and it blows up real good.

NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via the Amazon Vine reviewing program. ( )
  fugitive | Jun 19, 2013 |
Blades of Winter is an interesting blend of science fiction, alternate history, and action thriller. It’s jam packed with fight scenes, car chases, blood, guts, and gratuitous violence, and the main character’s abrupt, dispassionate narration only makes the gory parts more disturbing. Overall, this book isn’t great literature, but it’s certainly an intriguing series opener. ( )
  les121 | Jan 9, 2013 |
The writing style is like comic book heroes and the story provides an alternative view of history.

Alix Nico is age nineteen. She''s a rising star with ExOps, a covert organization to keep U.S. safe from its enemies.

She's given an assignment to try to find her father who was a top asset of ExOps. He was captured and thought killed. Now Alix must find if he's alive and what our enemies might be planning.

Advertised as a cat and mouse adventure, Alix is sent to various places in the world, meets the opposition and engages in furious battles.

This is a well written, intricately plotted story. Alix is a modern bionic woman who likes to kick butt. Science has enabled her to be able to dodge bullets and knock holes in cars.

The action comes together nicely at the conclusion. ( )
  mikedraper | Oct 31, 2012 |
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

More like 3.5 stars, but I'll round up to 4.

Look at that cover! It's so cool. The story was very amazing as well. Full of action and adventure with a little romance and a great mystery.

The beginning of the story was sort of hard to get into because of all the information being given and the world building that was going on. And because this was historical fiction there were so many countries and names to remember. My pace slowed down whenever I had to flip back to double check names.

If you can get past the beginning which is chock full of information the story becomes very captivating. It has this really awesome mystery and a romance that didn't make me want to roll my eyes. The mystery was a good one because even though I had my guesses I was never 100% sure. Plus I kept changing my mind whenever another piece of the puzzle was revealed.

There was no insta-love which makes me glad. This was practically the opposite. Alix and Patrick have known each other for a long time now so the reader doesn't have to go through half the book reading about their relationship and them falling in love. Their relationship is already developed so we're reading about a more stable part of their romance. That might sound boring to you, but for me it's actually quite refreshing. I'm tired of reading about teens falling in love at first sight then always being insecure and jealous. Those are the characters that wouldn't know what love is if it slapped them upside the head.

So if you like action packed adventures then this is the book for you. If you don't mind going through a complex introduction then read this book because the story is very much worth the information overload. ( )
  MichelleL_15 | Sep 20, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440423546, Mass Market Paperback)

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-dollar murder machine,” is a rising star in ExOps, a covert-action agency that aggressively shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany, and the Nationalist Republic of China. Rather than risk another all-out war, the four superpowers have poured their resources into creating superspies known as Levels.
 
Alix is one of the hottest young American Levels. That’s no surprise: Her dad was America’s top Level before he was captured and killed eight years ago. But when an impulsive decision explodes—literally—in her face, Alix uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to her limits and could upset the global balance of power forever.

“Smart, sassy, and seriously appealing: a stunning debut.”—Jeff Long, New York Times bestselling author of The Descent

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:47 -0400)

Alix Nico, a 19-year-old superspy for ExOps, a covert-action agency that shields the U.S. from its three greatest enemies--the Soviet Union, Greater Germany and the Nationalist Republic of China--uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to the breaking point.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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