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.
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 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.
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.
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!