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Dreams of Gray by Maurice Lawless

Dreams of Gray

by Maurice Lawless

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285389,858 (3.1)None



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Dreams of Gray isn't exactly a horror tale, though it incorporates elements of Celtic folklore and brings them forward into modern times and is graphic in some of the descriptions of transformations, it lacks the feeling of suspense or dread that a horror novel imparts. The novel is told in the first person, from the point of view of Dreama "Dree", who wakes up naked in the woods, with a Celtic tattoo on her back and no memory of the night before. The tattoo seems to have effected some changes in her - she's warmer all the time, and the tattoo feels like it burns during times of stress. A visit to her friend's uncle, a tattooist specialising in Celtic artwork, rapidly brings her to the conclusion that there is something deeply wrong with the tattoo. Meanwhile, her body undergoes additional changes, making life ever more embarrassing and complicated.

While the story begins with an interesting use of Celtic folklore, this isn't really developed in a meaningful way. Secondary characters feel ...flat, and not fully fleshed out enough to be believable (both PJ and the boyfriend are involved in Dree's life, but you could remove them from the story and not feel much an absence.) In a lot of ways this felt like an excuse to animalise a woman, write sex scenes, and then have the main character be dominated. In most of the scenes where Dree showed strength, there would be a sense of shame/guilt or she wouldn't have any clear memory of it, as if the only time she has strength is when she is out of control. So I was sort of weirded out by the author's treatment of his main character. Some of the explanations offered are flawed - the forgetting and the remembering in particular felt shaky, as well as some of the animalistic thinking. The story also felt pulled in five directions, leaving a number of things unresolved. Put together with a sequel or conclusion, I'd rate this higher - despite the flaws the story is good, and keeps you reading - but I'd be a happier reader with some fine tuning.

3.5 stars
Review copy received from the author a part of Librarything's Member Giveaway Program. ( )
  DoskoiPanda | Jan 8, 2012 |
This is a paranormal novella written in the first person with protagonist a young woman turned into a werewolf. The voice of the narrator grabbed me from the start because it rang real and funny, and let’s face it, the voice is the first thing that captures a reader’s attention.

The language is plain and clear, the descriptions bare-bones but enough to visualize everything and true to the point of view and the heroine’s personality.

The main characters of the story were well developed and distinct. Dreama – Dree – the protagonist is a very dynamic young woman, likable and easy to relate to. I liked her both for her realistic but courageous reactions to the strange events around her, her way of taking things into her own hands and making decisions. This is no whiney, screaming female lead; she is a strong person, with opinions (such as on discrimination against women), self confidence but also consideration for the others.

PJ, her best friend, is a funny and strong character, there when Dree needs her but also of the more frivolous and partying type. She jumps off the page and adds a humorous note to the narrative. The alpha wolf who takes Dree under her wing is mysterious and quiet and also very real. I felt that I got to know these characters as people in real life.

Apart from the good voice and characterization, I really enjoyed the gritty portrayal of Dree’s reality as painted by the author. He doesn’t mince his words when it comes to the transformation of Dree into a werewolf – the blood, the pain, the fear, the loss of control, the regret. He is exceptionally good, in my opinion, in describing how her body changes each time she loses control of her feelings due to anger or excitement and the way he has the heroine deal with this problem ranges from funny to heart-breaking. I have rarely if ever seen such an honest portrayal of this transformation which is normally glossed over and made into something magical and beautiful. I really liked this aspect of the novella.

The book also contains several explicit sex scenes which play an important role in the story as they both help develop the relationship between Dree and a man she goes out with, and provide the ground for her transformations.

The character arc is good, with Dree's perception of the world shifting as her body changes, and as she begins to accept she cannot go back to what and who she was. The plot should have been predictable but it had me on the edge of my seat because I was so involved in the characters.

However, I admit that I found the last scene too open-ended, the ending too abrupt, so much so that at first I thought this had to be book one of a series. When I checked, though, I saw no reference to a series, therefore I must say this was an issue for me. Too much happens in the last chapters and very little is resolved to call the story finished.

I think this book fits well in the tradition of the Anita Blake series (in the sense of mystery, and shifters, humor, and female first person narrator).

In all, this was a fast and enjoyable read, gritty and funny, and I recommend it to fans of the paranormal. ( )
  Chrystalla_Thoma | Dec 17, 2011 |
I really like this book , it was kind of hard to understand, but everytime I felt like I knew where it was going or what was going to happen in the end, I was wrong and I could not figure out why she was picked and how it happened. I love the art work on her back and I liked how the book was very decriptive with the scenes. I thought it was a great short story and I would reccommend it.
  bishyball | Dec 12, 2011 |
This book had a very interesting storyline, but I just couldn't get a visual of what I was reading. It has the potential to be so much more. Still, there is more to be said in honor of the author's work. The issues I have with the story simply pertains to me. I will leave any further review up to the avid paranormal readers. ( )
  Tracy_James_Jones | Dec 10, 2011 |
I was anticipating reading Dreams of Gray because I like anything paranormal. I was disappointed because there was not enough character detail let alone detail in general. She spends a lot of time at home or work but I cannot picture either place in my mind. This is a short one-day read, my e-book copy 111 pages. I love endings that leave you eager to read the next series and this was not one of them. There are some sex scenes as well as bloody scenes. ( )
  Scimone | Dec 8, 2011 |
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