Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book review - The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray

Title: The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray
Author: E. Latimer
Genre: Horror
Similar books: Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky
                      Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Summary (provided by publisher): Bryony Gray is becoming famous as a painter in London art circles. But life isn't so grand. Her uncle keeps her locked in the attic, forcing her to paint for his rich clients . . . and now her paintings are taking on a life of their own, and customers are going missing under mysterious circumstances.
When her newest painting escapes the canvas and rampages through the streets of London, Bryony digs into her family history, discovering some rather scandalous secrets her uncle has been keeping, including a deadly curse she's inherited from her missing father. Bryony has accidentally unleashed the Gray family curse, and it's spreading fast.
With a little help from the strange-but-beautiful girl next door and her paranoid brother, Bryony sets out to break the curse, dodging bloodthirsty paintings, angry mobs and her wicked uncle along the way.

My opinion: In and of itself, this is a decent read. While the historical setting (not to mention the need for familiarity with A Picture of Dorian Gray) may be a bit of a barrier for some readers and character development isn't particularly complex, the plot is largely cohesive and follows an internal logic. It's interesting to compare it to the original novel. This novel is intended to be read like a sequel. It's events hinge on events in the original novel. Yet it achieves different ends. Dorian Gray is a morality tale, destruction by vanity and cruelty. Bryony's story, on the other hand, is more traditional horror. Yes, one can glean from it messages about agency and suffering from the sins of those who came before us, but at heart it's a story about out-smarting a curse.

More information: The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray releases February 13
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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