I was contacted by Brian Ference to review his book with my honest opinion and in return I received a free ebook copy of his book. I was in no way influenced by this arrangement.
The Wolf of Dorian Gray is Mr. Ference’s parody of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. While I have not yet read the classic work, I don’t feel like you necessarily need to read it in order to enjoy this book. I felt I knew enough about the classic tale that I could enjoy the similarities between the two books.
This book takes place in the late 1800s in England. Throughout the majority of the book you follow the life of Dorian Gray. Dorian is friends with a prominent artist named Sage, who is in love with our protagonist. She loves painting portraits and decides to paint one of Dorian and a tiny wolf cub Sage names after Dorian. The wolf cub is the last wolf of England and, in hopes of releasing the cub back into the wild one day, the two decide to raise the wolf cub (well, mostly Sage. Dorian is more of that one uncle who comes to play with your kid for an hour and then leave). One day Dorian comes over to visit with Sage and the wolf cub and meets with Lady Helena, with who he begins a love affair with despite her being married. Through different points of view, we follow Dorian Gray’s life. He falls in love for the first time and is seemingly love-struck, but then starts spiraling downhill. It’s only when Dorian starts exhibiting his own bloodlust that he realizes something is off with himself. Perhaps it is connected to the portrait Sage paints for Dorian, perhaps it is his deep connection with the wolf cub, who grows up to roam the countryside as an unusually strong and intelligent animal with a thirst for blood.
I will say that after I became accustomed to the writing style I found the story to be interesting and unique in the field of “werewolf” themed stories. I thought this would be a typical werewolf story, but it was intriguing how the author incorporated the portrait and the downward spiral of Dorian in connection with the once playful wolf. However, I did feel the story was rushed. I think the author could have easily slowed the story down, expanded on Dorian’s relationship with Sage before she used the wolf’s blood on the portrait, and expanded on the incidents listed towards the end of the book. I won’t go into details because I don’t want to spoil the story completely, but I was literally thinking “Wait what?! I want to know more about these incidents!” I felt if the story was expanded that Dorian wouldn’t have come to the conclusion about the portrait being the source of evil so easily. I also generally didn’t like Dorian and Lady Helena. I felt if the author had expanded on pre-portrait Dorian that maybe I would have liked the character better because I didn’t sympathize with him at all. Dorian seemed to be selfish, vain, and shallow, which are not very redeeming qualities for me, but if I had a back-story on Dorian where I could feel sympathy for him or if I could more easily discern his behavior in the book is due to the portrait, I feel like I would have cared about the character. I’m not sure what could have been done about Lady Helena because I feel like she was supposed to be the bad influence. Another criticism of the story I have is part of Sage’s back-story when her parents and her are talking to each other. I know the author was trying to do a Mark Twain style of writing dialect, but I couldn’t understand the characters at all. That’s mostly a critique in general for me because I also had issues with Mark Twain when he would write in that fashion. The last criticisms I have are that the back-stories of the characters seemed to be placed in the story awkwardly. I felt if part of Sage’s story came in the beginning of the book in her chapter and Lady Helena’s was introduced with Sage’s, then the individual chapters revolving around the characters wouldn’t have been so awkward, but I did enjoy all the chapters surrounding the wolf and I wanted more chapters like that. The epilogue of the book and the last 50ish pages were wonderful and thrilling. These are all just my own personal opinions. I would love to read the next book.
Overall I felt the book was enjoyable and thought provoking. It is also an interesting take on classic werewolf tales. I would also like to say that this book did contain explicit sex scenes and the POV of the wolf was very brutal to read. It was very “nature of the beast” and if you don’t enjoy that then I would not suggest this book to you. To those of you who are not turned off by that, I would suggest this book to you.
I give this book a 3/5.