Title: The Wolf of Dorian Gray: A Werewolf Spawned by the Evil of Man
Author: Brian S. Ference
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Paranormal
Summary: Dorian Gray is a young man with a bright future and a taste for fine arts. When his life – his soul – becomes unknowingly linked with a wolf pup via a magical painting, he loses himself down a wayward path. Under the advisement of his friend and mentor, Dorian begins exploring perverse debauchery and immoral propensity in an attempt to retain his youth. But there is a price. Who will pay it?
Released: December 2016 / Read: January 2017
About the Author: Brian S. Ference lives in Cave Creek, Arizona with his wife Rachel and two children Nathan and Lena. He has always had a passion for reading and writing from a young age. Brian loves new experiences, which has included operating his own company, traveling the world, working as a project manager, diving with sharks, and anything creative or fun. He is always up for a new adventure such as writing or other artistic pursuits. (verbatim from his website here)
First Impression: The overall concept of this novel seems interesting! It should be noted I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
By now we should all be familiar with the classic cautionary tale of Dorian Gray, a 19th-century character study in the moral ramifications of shallow vanity and selfish hedonism. If not, a quick internet search should solve that dilemma. This retelling provides an interesting twist: instead of the consequences of his sins being wrought upon his visage, an orphaned wolf pup rescued by Dorian and his companion – portrayed alongside him in the portrait – bears the brunt of his Master’s growing depravity.
I admit I find the perceived interpretation of the classic intriguing. Instead of cursing the painting – and by extension, himself – with his comprehensive exploration of life’s shameless pleasures, his deviance shapes the life of a wolf. It’s ingenious! I had high hopes for the story line based on plot presumptions.
Unfortunately this reproduction fell flat for me. While I applaud the author on his attempt to maintain the integrity of the original while purling new life into its vintage structure, I am not convinced he succeeded.
The setting is 19th-century England – exactly like the original. While this point in itself isn’t a detriment, it is in my opinion when revamping a masterwork like The Picture of Dorian Gray, it is far too easy to fall prey to near-plagiaristic statements when the characterization and plotting is too on the nose. Even the characters names are unchanged, with few exceptions. It dampens the brilliance of an otherwise delightful restructuring. I stated the same issue in my Goodreads review of Everland by Wendy Spinale
Another problem I had with this book is the dialogue. Obviously I did not grow up in the 1800s, but I have serious doubt social interactions were so … verbose. I mean, they had the five senses back then, right? Dialogue should be colloquial between friends, formal when necessary, but always to the point. There is no excuse for long-winded descriptions better suited for narration. It is why there is narrative! As a result, the pace of the story was affected negatively.
Final Thoughts: After finishing the book, I was curious to see what others had to say about it and found my opinion to be almost singular. While I did not find it reading enjoyable, there are a large portion of those who did. My only suggestion would be to judge for yourself.
I have realized the difference between the calculations of star ratings on Goodreads and Amazon and will adjust my ratings going forward to reflect a middle ground. In this case, two and a half stars means “it was okay”.
Disclaimer: I have not been monetarily compensated for this review and all opinions contained herein are my own and in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of people or sites I may reference. This is intended for entertainment purposes only.