Review: Crimson Shadow: Noir – Nathan Squiers
For years, Xander Stryker has yearned for a death that has always escaped him. The abuse his stepfather inflicted on him has followed him wherever he goes and the memories full of pain and heartache refuse to leave him. Every moment of every day, he’s forced to remember things he’s tried so very hard forget. Things his shattered mind knows he never had a chance in preventing. His only solace is that his step-father is dead and he needn’t put up with the abuse any longer. Or so he thinks.
With his eighteen birthday just around the corner, Xander struggles to control the never-ending rage he feels inside while lamenting the loss of the one person who has ever shown him a bit of kindness. Estella means everything to him, even if he’ll never really admit it. She’s better off not knowing about the extent of his pain and the odd occurrences that take place when his anger unexpectedly rises. She’s safer this way and he’ll do everything in power to make sure she stays that way.
When unexpected visitors show up and throw him for a loop, Xander begins to wonder what it is that he does not know. A multitude of people know of his existence, yet he’s never heard or seen them until now. Transported to safety after a vicious attack, he has no other choice but to place his trust into the hands of the people he’d once thought would hurt him.
As the secrets surrounding his past surface, Xander is introduced into a supernatural world he never knew existed. In order to come into his own, he’ll need to become one with what he truly is. While the thought of doing so is daunting, he knows its a step he must take if he’s to come to terms with who and what he truly is.
When a part of his past unexpectedly surfaces, he’s forced to make decisions that will change his live forever. Those very changes may spell disaster for all those involved if he doesn’t learn to channel his own powers, and fast. It’s his only chance to save those he’s come to care about in so short a time.
I found this story quite intriguing. It’s full of deep pain and heartache as a boy accepts the consequences of an abuse that’s been dealt to him his entire life. Suffering abuse is painful. It sears the soul, preventing a person from truly believing in and loving those who try to give them a helping hand.
Xander’s step-father made sure that the pain and suffering he delivered upon him day in and day out had lasting repercussions. The rage Xander feels inside is his way of dealing with that pain. The fact that his suicidal attempts never work out in his favor are also a testament to that fact.
I think Nathan captured the aspects of the boys pain, his heartache, and his uncertainties quite beautifully. It’s something any of us can relate to. The supernatural world he created around this character is quite different from the ones I’ve usually encountered when reading stories involving vampires. It’s a very unique world, that’s for sure.
I do think that a couple places in the story could have been tightened up a little further, though. It sometimes felt as if there were some small loose ends. Not really sure if they were intentional, but it did detract from the train of thought a little bit. There were also a couple characters that felt as if they were just there as some sort of filler. Aside from also finding a couple punctuation and grammar errors, here and there, I do think the story is a good read, as it is very entertaining to find out what happens next to Xander.
Xander Stryker wants to die.
Ever since witnessing his mother’s murder at the hands of his abusive stepfather when he was a boy, he has spent every day trying to reach that goal. But every night he’s denied the death he craves.
When his eighteenth birthday approaches, an unforeseen chance for change is offered when his life is plunged into chaos and he’s dragged into a supernatural world of vampires and other creatures of darkness. Caught in the depths of this new reality, mysteries of his supernatural lineage begin to unravel and Xander is given the ultimate choice:
Continue on with his wretched life or begin a new one as the vampire he was always meant to be.
Unfortunately, the supernatural world can be just as unforgiving and brutal as any other and Xander’s choice is met with disastrous consequences. Now, with the chaos of the new world pressing down on him, his past reemerges and once again threatens to crush him. Will Xander be able to use his new strength to conquer his fears, or will he succumb to his own bloody darkness…
… and allow it to finally destroy him.
About The Author:
Nathan Squiers (The Literary Dark Prince) is a resident of upstate New York where he lives with his loving fiancé and two demonic beings that have, for the time being, chosen to disguise themselves as cats (incredibly demanding and out-of-control cats).
Living day-by-day on a steady diet of body modification and potentially lethal doses of caffeine, he often escapes reality through novels, comics & manga, movies, and (of course) his own writing. When he’s not immersed in the realm of fiction (be it his own or someone else’s), he can be found in the chair of a piercing studio/tattoo parlor or reacquainting himself with the real world.
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