This past week I finished a debut novel that my friend Mikael wrote. It's called Crimson Oppression and it's about vampires. But, I don't believe it's a "typical" vampire story. Then again, I really can't say if it is or not. I've read so few.
The novel is told through two perspectives, Cisandra and Owen. Cisandra is a nineteen-year old from the East Coast who moves to Utah. She's fleeing her past and the awful memories that's driving her to leave the only life she's ever known behind. Owen is an accident-prone high school senior trying to deal with his parent's separation. When the two meet, Cisandra knows instantly something about Owen, something deadly.
There's a lot of things I liked about this book, but I should say, this is not a fast-paced, burn-through-it-in-one-sitting story. Mikael has created a world where the characters have time to develop, to percolate. I'm not saying there's no action in the story--there is, it's just we really get to know the characters as they begin this journey. Casandra is dealing with her disease, what's known as "The Virus." As one infected with the virus, she can detect it in other people. She moves to Utah thinking/hoping no one else has it. She's wrong.
The author has successfully combined the science fiction, horror and high school genres into one story. She successfully explains the disease in a way that's not only understandable but authentic, allowing the reader to learn with the characters. We get to know about the characters and why the do what they do. I've been reading a lot of books lately that rely heavily on quick plot lines, fast resolutions followed by just as fast perilous situations. This story slows down the process--think of it as a book you'll read by a fire with a warm beverage at your side.
As the book reached its end, I found myself nervous because I thought I knew what was coming. The final showdown involved a near-death experience and I found myself wondering if I really had to read it. But, of course, I did have to and I did read it.
If you like vampire stories, I suggest you give this one a shot, even though it's not as heavy on the things that are found in classic vampire lore. It's a wonderful example of what everyone of us can do with a never-say-quit attitude. Great job, Mikael!
* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26206831-crimson-oppression