REVIEW: Scream in Blue by Jeremy Szal

From the author of Stormblood, Blindspace, and the soon to be released Wolfskin, the novella Scream in Blue takes us away from the far-flung asteroid city of Compass and into more familiar territory: 25th century London. Full of action, bad decisions made for the right reasons, alien biotech, and sticking one’s finger up at something you can’t hope to defeat, Scream in Blue gives us more of what I really enjoyed about Stormblood.

Cover for Scream in Blue by Jeremy SzalSola And her crew of fellow roof-jumper Tann and their hacker Quinn are Crawlers, moving through the centuries-old spiderweb of the London Underground and across the rooftops to steal things under contract from Syndicate entities. They’ve never stolen stormtech—the alien drug that binds to a persons system and turns them into to an adrenaline addict until they die in a fight or burn out as a junkie and die–until now.

The far future version of London is beautiful and very cyberpunk gothic, with plenty of high-tech gadgets and weapons amongst the crumbling of society. The stormtech drug of course lends its awesomeness to the story, with cartel members flush with it on destructive rampages, and addicts (“skinnies”) on show in all their horror. As a current reader, I did kind of hope to see mention of the Reapers, but that is for another book (Stormblood. Read it. It’s awesome), but I think the story worked really well without them.

What I really enjoyed about this tie-in story is Szal’s pre-novel-debut short story chops being on show. The author has a very tall stack of short story publications in the global market, and his ability to avoid the novel author’s mistake of writing a tie in story nobody but the current fandom can appreciate is very appreciated from this reviewer. Here, we have a stand-alone story with enough link to the trilogy to garner interest from a new reader, and to enjoy when you’re an established reader.

Scream in Blue is a fun, short read, with plenty of action, intrigue, and camaraderie.

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Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins

Adrian Collins runs Grimdark Magazine and loves anything to do with telling darker stories. Doesn't matter the format, or when it was published or produced--just give him a grim story told in a dark world by a morally grey protagonist and this bloke's in his happy place. Add in a barrel aged stout to sip on after a cheeky body surf under the Australian sun, and that's his heaven.