I’m very torn about this serial. On the one hand I think it’s very well written with some clever twists and a touch for drama. There are so many intriguing and absorbing aspects about this story that I get sucked in just when I think I’m done. This installment created more questions and I’m too intrigued and caught to give up now. At the same time, however, I actively dislike both Gabriel and Dorian as characters and find them insufferable. Thankfully this part focuses more on the secondary characters and flashes into Dorian’s past so I could enjoy it more, but I still can’t stand either protagonist and actively wish bad things happen to them.
This time Gabriel has a flashback into Dorian’s past and his lover Joshua. This scene is really well written and kind of trippy. It’s meant to confuse and portray that sense of disembodiment that Gabriel is clearly feeling throughout the scene. Additionally it makes me really anxious and eager to see if Gabriel will go through the same fate, and considering my dislike of him I kind of hope he does. He deserves it. But moving on the writing in this scene and the later scene with Dorian and Simone is simply wonderful. The deft use of language and the ease with which complex emotion is conveyed is surprising. The glimpses into Dorian’s maze-like past and a hint of the powers he possesses are intriguing and leave me wanting more.
I especially liked Michael’s more upfront involvement. He stands out as a character I can understand and appreciate while Gabriel continues to be perhaps the very definition of too-stupid-to-live. Dorian’s smugness is expected and I find it somewhat boring. He’s insufferable, which is how I found the original Dorian as well. I don’t really see Gabriel as being anything special; he doesn’t seem that bright or intuitive. Even his re-telling of his, or more accurately Michael’s, past doesn’t quite yield any real depth to the character from my perspective. I still think Gabriel should be smarter and more in control than he currently is.
Overall I have to say this was a successful addition to the series. It’s well written, concise, informative, and sets up numerous future scenarios. There is any number of directions this serial could go and I have to say, despite myself, I’m curious to see what the authors choose. I’ll probably always hate Gabriel and Dorian but the story itself is enough to keep me going for now. I also found this one easily enough to pick up on its own without needing to remember too much from the previous edition.
Oh and for those that have the season’s pass – which I recommend – the free story is very sweet. It’s a bit of Dorian’s past with Basil and how they first came to start their affair. It shows a much less jaded side of Dorian but also shows how he’s basically the same man, then and now. It’s a sweet glimpse and just long enough.