Darkness Under Siege by Reaper VX
Reaper’s Instagram link: @reapervx
The Amazon link
I read this book in paperback. This is an unsolicited review.
What I Loved:
I have followed Reaper VX on Instagram, oh about a year, I couldn’t say exactly when I found him over there but I was immediately drawn to his longer (for Instagram) pieces which trended towards the darker side of humanity, but full of layers, rhythm, and intelligence.
This, his debut book, is a collection of those works, all within a thought-provoking layout. His sections include “The Pendulum of Synchronicity” a collection of death (quite dark), “Frostbitten Warmth” a collection of love, “Kerosene Chains” a collection of dark/nightmares (very dark), “The Eternal Staircase” a collection of grief, and “Remnants of the River” a collection of self.
Reaper is clearly intelligent, gifted, artistic, and relevant, while still somehow including heart and oh so many layers of emotion into every single piece. I’ve never read a writer quite like this before, so it came as no surprise to me to see how well thought out his self-published book was.
Most of the pages are on a black background with either white or other colored font. There are a lot of artistic photos and digital art included, which appears to be the combined work of eight artists (he includes each of their Instagram handles). All the art is well done and adds fuel to the flames of his words. Some surreal, some thoughtful, some quite disturbing. Which really encapsulates his poetry as well.
The book is a great size, feels good in the hand, and the cover is intriguing. Since this is a higher quality “art-style” book, the pages are thick and glossy and feel nice on the fingers. The fonts are readable and the use of color here and there, I found, amplified the writing, rather than distracted.
What I Didn’t:
My only two gripes (and minor complaints they are) are one, I really wish there was an “about the author” or bio included and two, as par for course from the Amazon printers (which is well-known for its lower quality products), almost all the pages were poorly trimmed, showing a thin white band where it isn’t printed at the bottom of the pages. This is clearly not the author’s fault, and was somewhat distracting only because the pages were very dark to begin with. You can see it in the photo I included.
My Favorite Bits:
Hard to pick favorites really, because with this sort of caliber, for me it really depends on my mood as to what is going to catch my fancy more or less. I really like his “love” section, and his “grief” section was hard-hitting. I felt every word in both collections. Some of the poems trend towards very dark inner struggle and turmoil which nearly take your breath away, such as many of the pieces in “self”.
My Overall Score:
(it really doesn’t get much better than this and I can see I will keep coming back to this amazing collection of art again.)
I am hoping that Reaper VX will continue this publishing journey because this guy has got some stories to tell. Having followed along on his social media, I know he is a lyricist as well as a storyteller, prose-style. I look forward with my fingers crossed to a day when he releases more books with those included as well.
It is quite evident that he is a gifted artist and so in light of that, I expect more, much more, from him.
Highly recommended to those like intelligent free-verse poetry which leans toward the darker parts of humanity and lovers of twisted art.
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**If this review was helpful or you’ve read it and want to add to the discussion, please let me know in the comments!
I will also, as a side-note, say, it may seem that I am harsh on many writers for their editing, formatting, grammar, punctuation, etc. I do so unapologetically. One, because this is a review, not a popularity contest. Two, because honest criticism should help us grow as artists.
The fact of the matter is, these things MATTER. A mathematician must use his tools and use them correctly to be an effective mathematician. A surgeon cannot simply say, “I know I can’t sew the wound closed but at least I could remove the appendix or whatever it’s called.” Same with writers. We can’t claim to be writers but refuse to use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. We can’t claim to be a photographer just because we know how to push the button on the camera (or phone). There’s an art to it.
So while I may appreciate the artist as a person and their words, I believe that it does us all a disservice to say lower quality editing is okay. Believe in yourself! Believe in the power of your words! Put the effort into being the very best you can be. Ask for help. Grow and learn.