Noir: Like Groundhog Day but with Vampires

This is post number 6.

Background: This e-book is written by Nathan Squiers, who is apparently award winning according to the cover. Noir is the first book in a series and has the subtitle A Legacy Born of a Tragedy’s Death, which is one of the oddest combinations of words I have read. The cover art depicts the main character in his final form/outfit of the novel.

Plot: The story opens up with the main character Xander playing Russian Roulette with his grandfather’s guns. He is suicidal because his father died before he was born, his mother then married an abusive man, and both his mother and step-father died, leaving Xander to live with his Grandmother. The teenager also has a voice in his head that also has some power. Somehow he discovers that he has telekinetic powers, and is contacted by a group of vampires who want to turn Xander over to their side.

Spoilers: Once he is turned into a vampire, Xander’s new coven is slaughtered, and he is told that his step-father is still alive and abusive because his step-father gains power from people’s fear and anguish. Also, the voice in his head is the soul of Xander’s late father that is trapped within Xander. After a few chapters of training and one skirmish brought on by his trainer’s actions, Xander goes out to kill his step-father. Along the way he has to kill the new family the step-father married into, and eventually he kills the step-father using his powers and new emotional will power.

Passage:

Inside, Xander’s waking mind tried to grasp the strange dreams he’d had the night before; dreams of losing control and tearing his room apart with his magic. He nervously scanned his bedroom for any signs of the destructive forces he’d unleashed, only to find everything exactly as it should have been. Then, after a long moment, she sensed his acceptance that it had all been a dream.

Opinion: In terms of having a likeable main character, the whole story would have greatly improved if not told by Xander. He does have a terrible past, and I totally understand that having such a poor upbringing could send anyone spiraling into depression; however, every chapter seemed to bring up the fact that Xander wanted to kill himself with his weird roulette ritual. This book would have been half its length if the boy would have shut up about the fact that the gun decided not to fire the one stupid bullet in the chamber. Also his eyes get messed up during the coven slaughter, so he starts calling himself the crimson shadow, which I find both cringe worthy and hilarious.

His powers though, are worth noting. Both before and after the change into a vampire, Xander has telekinesis which is useful to the novel’s actual plot. His vampire self has traditional strengths such as fast healing and running. He also has weaknesses like not being able to stay out in the sun, and both the strengths and weaknesses are explained in a straightforward manner.

The writing is very repetitive. With Xander’s ritual and the step-father’s abuse being mentioned at least once a chapter, the action and actual plot of the story are bogged down.

Ratings: This is a fantasy/sci-fi novel so the ratings are:

Powers: 9/10

Explanation of Powers: 9/10

Creativity: 5/10

Plot: 7/10

Characters: 2/10

Overall I give this free read a 6/10. I think the next installments would probably be an improvement now that the repetitive parts have been resolved, but that does not redeem the first book. At least his powers are cool.

Citation: Squiers, Nathan (2013-12-14). Crimson Shadow: Noir (pp. 45-46). Tiger Dynasty Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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