Blog Tours Reviews

Pictures of Dorianna by Catherine Stine (Blog Tour Review!)

Pictures of Dorianna

Catherine Stine

Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA paranormal romance

Publisher: Konjur Road Press

Date of Publication: October 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-7333901-0-1
eBook: 978-1-7333901-1-8

Number of pages: 327
Word Count: 90k

Cover Artist: Najla Qamber

Tagline: Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good. Until it transformed into a terrifying reality Dorianna couldn’t stop. New twist on Dorian Gray with the first-ever female lead!

Book Description:

Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good.

Until it transformed into a terrifying reality she couldn’t stop.

When her father is jailed, her mother ships lonely, plain Dorianna to her aunt’s in Brooklyn, NY. There, Dorianna yearns to build a new identity, but the popular Lacey bullies her—mostly for getting attention from her ex, Ander.

Ander takes Dorianna to Coney Island where Wilson, a videographer, creates a stunning compilation of her. She dreams of being an online sensation, as she’s never even had a birthday party, and vows she’d give anything to go viral. Wilson claims he’s the Prince of Darkness and offers her the beauty and fame, even love she’s dreamed of—warning her that a pledge has its downsides. Dorianna has no idea of how dire those consequences might be.

She’s thrust into the spotlight, and an incomprehensible nightmare. Not only is she prettier, she’s gaining harmful powers of manipulation. When her dark forces grow beyond anything she can control, she’s desperate but clueless as to how to stop them.

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Wilson taps impatiently on the keypad. “You want beauty and youth forever, Dorianna? I can give you that. Power over those mean girls; over a lot of people? It’s yours for a price. Just say it.” His eyes are golden and black and red all at once, like unearthly spears, piercing through me. I’m dizzy. I need fresh air now. But I want this promise more than anything. Ever.
            “What’s the price?” I rasp.
            Wilson’s stare burns into me. “Can’t say exactly. But there always is.” His words are ice and fire. Flutters of snowflakes pattering silently under my skin that melt into scorching sparks.
            I follow an irrepressible urge to stand up, and look down on Wilson with his narrow, feral face and piercings. I need Ander to look at me with that passion. I need those hater girls put in their place. I need a friend, and for people to want to be with me all of the time, to never be bored. Only to love me.
            It’s worth any price.
            A powerful force in me breaks loose, as if a flu bug is racing rampant down my spine.
            “Would you… give your soul?” Wilson’s whisper invades my gut, my brain.
            Ander’s aching gaze from our time at the beach shimmers in front of me. Enticing. I can almost feel his kiss. Like water. Drink it in. I’ve never wanted anything as much as I want this. “I’d give anything for power, easy youth and beauty.” My voice comes from all around me, spreading, gluey on my skin. “Yes, I’d even give my… soul.”
            The air spirals into a funnel, draining all oxygen from the room with a hiss.
            So, so, soul.
            In an instant, new air swoops in, suffused with rich, delicious minerals. I gulp it in, openmouthed, so very thirsty. “To be seen and accepted,” I murmur.
            Wilson goes head to head with me. “Forget about just being accepted. How about having a following of millions, going viral?”
            “Really?” I’m whirling. “Going viral.” Wilson’s promises are golden brands, anointing me, conferring an otherworldly legitimacy I’ve never, ever felt. How does he manage to do this?
            Ander returns with the brownies. I luxuriate in the sexy new glint he’s giving me. “Something feels different in here,” he notes. “It’s colder.” He puts the brownies down. Who needs sweets when he’s looking at me like this? Is this vow a real thing? Is it already working?
            An unfamiliar power in me swells with precarious danger and weight as I study Ander and Wilson. Abruptly, I’m flung out of my body, inexplicably looking down on them as pitiful peons who will someday worship at my feet.
            As two of the very, very many.
            Then, I’m back inside myself stunned by how I was seeing them. The room seems to rush with the force of souls washing through, and I flinch when I hear them moaning. I tell myself it’s only the whir, whir of the hard drives.

About the Author:

Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author of historical fantasy, sci-fi thrillers, paranormal romance and young adult fiction. Her novels have earned Indie Notable awards and New York Public Library Best Books for Teens. She lives in Manhattan and loves spending time with her beagle, writing about witches and other fabulous creatures, gardening on her deck, and meeting readers at book fests.

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Most of my usual review format is actually addressed in the provided synopsis! So, I’ll only be breaking down what I like and didn’t like about this book.

I’ll start by saying that The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is my all time favorite book, so I was incredibly excited to hear of a YA adaptation and one with a female main character to boot!

Ultimately, this ended up a solid three out of five star read for me. There was a lot to enjoy in this book! But I think you have to toe the line between being a fan of The Picture of Dorian Gray and not knowing the story too well. This isn’t a complete retelling, but definitely a re imagining.

The Good

I enjoyed the fact that the story didn’t feel the need to hold itself completely to the plot of the original novel. Dorianna was not Dorian in any way, really. She was her own character with motivations that developed with the story.

The Okay

The characters had understandable motivations, outside of the antagonist. I could see where the high schoolers were coming from and why they would make the decision they did throughout the novel. This didn’t meant that they weren’t capable of making better decisions, and honestly I think they would have made different decisions if they weren’t doing things for the story’s purposes.

The Not-Good

I never understood the magic, the powers, the vow, or any of that in the story. Dorianna doesn’t either, which is really the only reason the lack of explanation is okay in this novel. But there’s so much explanation of everything lacking throughout. Dorianna being cagey about her family history, the way the magic powers are treated, the fact that the resolution doesn’t make a lot of sense… I think that this story mostly works in a world where common sense, logic, and systems don’t actually work.

Final Thoughts

I think that ultimately, though the basic idea of The Picture of Dorian Gray is there, most of this novel is original. It focuses on an It-Girl and the repercussions fame can have on a teenager, which is a good topic. However, the novel also blames the worst of that world on supernatural powers which doesn’t actually address the negatives of teenage fame. The novel opens up a lot of great questions and critical thoughts on teenage fame and influencers, but never goes anywhere with it due to the supernatural element. Still, a solid three star read!

By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

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