Reviewed by Robin Goodfellow for Readers' Favorite
Xenon Phobia by Sterling Emmal is a dark, twisted horror story about clinging to the deepest depths of your hatred, even if it means giving in to the demons surrounding you. Xenon is a doctor who managed to become the executioner for California after finding out her sister had been assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend. When Xenon is murdered by a mysterious man named Damien, she is bound by her need for vengeance. From killing the people who once loved her, to confronting a past she is just beginning to understand, she starts to slip further and further into madness, until finally only darkness remains.
I’m a future medical student, so when I read this book, I was chilled to the core. Xenon had an irrefutable sense of morality that can only be described as eerie. She carries this role on in the afterlife, all the while becoming the monster to whom she swore she’d bring justice. One of the things Emmal did incredibly well was show just how far Xenon would go to obtain her revenge. From contemplating killing her sister, to carving up her own corpse, from the moment she was revived, she had the potential to become a dark, horrific entity that solely existed to bring pain to others. Her character only served to make the end more satisfying. The fact that she took Damien’s place in the shadows, hungering for someone else to spill her hatred onto, only to fall prey to and be consumed by the same revenge was haunting. She even wrote a little message to the reader at the end, lulling her future students to her like moths to a flame.