The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzi Szereto – Pleasure Panel Book Review

7 out of 10
Cleis Press

The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzi Szereto

Pleasure Panel review by Miss Emma MM

Thank you to Miss Emma MM (follow here on Twitter) for this guest review of The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzi Szereto and published by Cleis Press.

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The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzi Szereto Cara Sutra Pleasure Panel Review

When I was in high school I became acquainted with the writer Oscar Wilde via the film Velvet Goldmine. I became obsessed. Oscar Wilde was primarily a poet who wrote one novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Though I haven’t read it in years at this point, I still consider it to be my favorite book. It was a no brainer that I became excited about this psuedo sequel to the book.

The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzi Szereto opens on Dorian Gray in a hedonistic scene after the events of the original story. If you are familiar with the original then you will not find it surprising that the author of this tale has to alter previous events to explain how Dorian Gray is even around.

This was a difficult read for me. Since I have always been so enamored with the original I was tempted to constantly compare the two. This is not fair, at all. I do realize that but it’s still something that would come up. You do not have to have read the original book to understand this one, although it will make this tale richer. Dorian often thinks of his friend Lord Henry and I think you would lose some of his longing for him if you don’t know the original story.

An incredibly quick rundown of The Picture of Dorian Gray is that it centers on a naive, beautiful young man named Dorian. He becomes fast friends with what were basically two closeted queens in that time period. Lord Henry in particular sets out to corrupt Dorian. Meanwhile Basil paints Dorian, over and over, until his portrait is perfect. He gifts the painting to Dorian who finds out something quite peculiar. It turns out that any “sin” he commits doesn’t mar his actual appearance but only that of the painting. He goes through society for many years without aging or showing any wear even though he makes progressively more startling choices.

As I mentioned, it’s been a while since I read the original but Szereto’s take on Dorian definitely paints him in a more evil light than the original. This makes complete sense within his world though. If you could do whatever you wanted with seemingly no consequences, how far would you go? Yes, Dorian still struggles with this in the new book.

However that doesn’t stop him from sexing up and murdering many, many folks throughout The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray. When it comes to the murders and the violent sex it can sometimes make tough to read. They do make it compelling though. I much preferred that to the times that the story got bogged down and somewhat boring. At those points I simply sat the book aside for days or even a week. It’s not a long book and my having to do that certainly says something.

I don’t like giving away too much in particular but Dorian flits from what at first just seem sexual relationships but at times become challenges or even romantic. Dorian’s conquests range from the virginal to those who may be darker than he. Does Dorian get topped? You bet his sweet ass he does! These are mostly male/male encounters so if you are not into hot gay sex then this book most definitely is not for you. I love BDSM but some of the sex scenes definitely push what many may be into.

In The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzi Szereto, the tale spans many years and during that time Dorian travels many places including France and Morocco and culminating in New Orleans. Morocco and New Orleans are painted pretty vividly. I’m not really into details about places but you can easily imagine yourself there when they are described.

A good deal of the book deals with Dorian in his final destination, present day New Orleans. There are some other parts of the book that I found much more fascinating, including Dorian basically living as a monk for a while. In New Orleans, Gray becomes enamored with the goth subculture. He does go to great pains to mention that the group that he follows around and eventually joins is much darker and more interesting than run of the mill goths, but this still didn’t grab me. He wonders if The Night People are actually vampires. Then I got mad, because yes, I like vampires, but hello over saturation!

Believe it or not, this group of are they or aren’t they vampires are sometimes a bit compelling but often come off as stereotypes: the very effeminate gay, the slutty teen, you get the idea. The leader of the group that Dorian is head over heels for is just plain mean and has a huge messiah complex. I don’t get the fascination with him in particular. The always headstrong Dorian, even when seeking out incredibly rough tops, is now meek and submissive to this dude. No, no, no. That behavior can not last forever so eventually we do get a big, odd finale that is somewhat satisfying.

Even though you don’t have to have read the original, I think that’s who this The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray by Mitzi Szereto works for, big fans of Dorian. Even as a huge fan, it was a trying but sometimes exciting read. The author has published many other erotic novels so I will most likely check out one of those in the future as the sex scenes did get very hot at times. All in all, it’s okay if you love Dorian. If not, you’d probably want to pass.

I’m not sure if anyone should try to continue his adventures in any form in the future as it’s quite difficult for anything to live up to the original.

Miss Emma MM

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