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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 4 star ratings
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    Chilling descent into evil😟!

    To live life without a moral compass or conscience: chilling!😈 What a horror story for our times when the search for physical perfection dominates the culture! The author really gave me chills as he described one man's descent into ever more depravity and a friend who seems intent on egging him on. Young Gary Adrion somehow bargains his way to maintain his peak 20 year old physical perfection but the deal leaves him free to live a life without consequence. His 17 year descent into a murky world of excess where he indulges himself constantly and hurts others indiscriminately was compelling, but I did find the end result depressing. Still, I love the wide variety of Rick R. Reed's work, particularly his romances and his novels with an element of magic or fantasy. This is not my favorite of the dozen or so of his books I've read but I did find it a pageturner. A gritty drug and party culture features prominently and Reed includes some pretty violent scenes that showcase the lengths to which this remorseless anti-hero will go. I've never read the horror classic upon which Reed's story is based, maybe to the good so I could evaluate it on its own merits and not as a comparison to the original. I've read several of the author's works that describe the seedier side of 🌃Chicago's nightlife and, like those, this is a cautionary tale. Beware the consequences of getting what you impulsively wish for!😲, Thanks to publisher NineStar Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review and the opinions expressed are my own.
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    A modernized classic

    For those of you who saw the movie "Beastly" and liked it, this is the book for you. It's a modernized version of the Picture of Dorian Gray with a drag queen named Henrietta whose humor makes up for the lack of Wilde himself writing this book. Yes, I'm aware. The main character, the handsome Dorian of this story, is oddly named Gary. Maybe because of how close it is to Gray? Gary doesn't scream hunky guy. He's perfection personified. Despite the brief backstory we get in one of the earlier chapters, I still don't understand how someone described such as he doesn't have any friends he hangs out with or people he socializes with. He meets Liam and suddenly Liam is his best friend. Then Henrietta. You don't see the relationships develop because the time jumps around to get to that point. I thought there'd be something more about Liam going on with the holographic painting deal. When we get to the wish which sets the downfall in motion, Gary comments on how it seemed Liam was engulfed in shadows. I was expecting him to somehow know about the curse and how everything was going to go horrible for Gary. It didn't work out that way. Gary, once he became the prime jerk of the universe, was very intolerable. As I pointed out, this is on the Beastly level of adaptations. It's not bad but did we really need it? I'm curious to see, because I did like the different characters, other stuff the author has done.
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    great author - tough story to retell

    Rick R. Reed has undertaken a big task in re-telling “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and I have a mixed response to it. It’s pretty clear in “A Face Without a Name” who the characters are. Gary Adrion is an anagram for Dorian Gray, Henrietta is Henry but as a drag queen… etc. Reed’s version of this story is in a contemporary setting. In some ways that makes the story more gritty and visceral. It’s much less subtle than the original story was and I think that both ways work when it comes down to it. Liam is an artist who creates holograms of people. When he sees Gary he knows that he wants to relate a hologram of him in spite of the fact that he immediately feels as though Gary is a threat. The hologram is created… and Gary says that he would “sell his soul to the devil” to stay as beautiful as the way Liam has depicted him. Thus begins the supernatural connection between Gary and the portrait. Reed’s story focuses on the downward spiral of Gary Adrion’s life. Once he learns that the hologram takes on the aging that his physical being would normally do, Gary hides it away. At the same time as he is bothered by the connection, he is aware enough that he doesn’t want anyone to know about it. The main theme of the story is that a focus on pleasure and hedonistic behavior as the dark side of human nature. The more that Gary does that is cruel, dark, evil, the older, and more disgusting the hologram becomes. As a fan of the original story, I found Reed’s to be much more literal. There’s a finesse in Oscar Wilde’s version that makes Dorian still likable in a way… even as he spirals out of control. I found Gary to be unliveable. He was at best, naïve and at worst he was a complete monster. It was a bit too black and white for me. I would say that none of Reed’s characters in this story are likable.. that makes this a hard read if you like to connect with characters. If you haven’t read the original and like very dark literature, this may be the book for you. If you’re interested in comparing them, Reed is certainly a great writer. I’ve been a fan of quite a few of his books. I wouldn’t say this book was a “favorite” but I can see the great writing and appreciate the attempt to retell and modernize a great story.
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    A modern twist

    Potential Triggers: suicide, sex, cheating and rape, drug use, suicidal thoughts and murder. Oscar Wilde's the Picture of Dorian Gray has always been one of my favorite books. When I stumbled across this novel I knew I had to read it. A Face without a Heart is a retelling of Oscar Wilde's 1890 classic philosophical novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. In A face without a heart we meet Gary Adrion (an anagram of Dorian Gray) and Liam ( The artist), as well as an entire slew of characters. The story is told from multiple points of view and bounces between narrators to give a broader view of the events. While I dont think its comparable to the original at all, I found myself enjoying this modern take. The characters were developed well and while I cared for some more than others , I enjoyed having the perspectives of the multiple narrators. Overall, I think this book was beautifully written and worth reading. I recieved a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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