Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Immortal Symphony: Overture by SL Armstrong and K Piet

Title: Immortal Symphony: Season One: Overture
Authors: S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet
Cover Artist: Nathie Block
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Genre: Paranormal, Serial
Length: 39 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


You think you know the story of Dorian Gray, but you're wrong. The real story didn't end the way Oscar Wilde penned; in fact, it hasn't ended at all. The ageless beauty of Dorian Gray walks now in our world of cellphones and lattes and internet porn. His latest conquest is Gabriel Lawrence, a paranormal investigator with a secret or two of his own. But the trouble with a life as long as Dorian's is that the skeletons are threatening to overrun the closet... and not all of them want to stay dead.

Season 1: Overture introduces Gabriel to the truth of a world he had only suspected, where ghost hunting is the least of his worries. And at the heart of it all is the mysterious and fascinating Dorian Gray, as though he'd stepped out of the pages of the book bearing his name. But if he has, he hasn't come through alone. And this figure from a past Dorian had though long behind him bears a grudge nurtured for a hundred years and intends to tear down everything Dorian has built, a piece at a time.

Episode 1: A Meeting of Fate
Gabriel Lawrence, a paranormal investigator from America, finds himself in London chasing down a supposedly haunted artifact. While there, he meets a man who calls himself Dorian Gray, who may not match the description from that famous story, but certainly has the attitude. And the seduction. And because ghost hunting isn't exactly a lucrative venture, Dorian's invitation into his world of opulence, decadence, and wealth may just prove too tempting for Gabriel to resist!

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Serials are a sore point with me: they can be done right, or they can be done wrong. Generally the difference is presentation and disclosure. Storm Moon Press understands that, and they are labeling their new serials so that there is no question in anyone’s mind. Each installment can be purchased separately and clearly identified, or one can purchase the bundle and collect each section as it appears, plus additional materials that can’t be obtained any other way. They are up front about it, and for that I applaud them. It isn’t clear from the site how many sections to expect, but judging from this first, it would take at least 5 to make a novel length piece. Per private communication with the publisher, this one is the 'Radio Drama' format, where each episode (aka short story) must be read in sequence for the plot to make sense, and each episode ends on a little bit of a cliffhanger or substantial shift in the plot. They have other formats explained in that link.

And I’m fine with that. I’ve been warned, and I’ve also been given a nice hefty chunk of story, priced sensibly by the chunk. The bundle price suggests there are substantial goodies included. So bring it on!

For the no-lady-bits purists, back away now: we start out in a girl’s head, and she’s enjoying her debauching at the hands of Dorian Gray, he of classic, out of copyright memory. He’s still at his hedonism, and after close to a hundred years, he might be a bit jaded and having to reach for his pleasures. I don’t mind the use of such a character since the story he’s embroiled in is completely new and original, not another author’s text with sex shoehorned in. **applauds some more**

His opposing number, a young gay man with paranormal sensitivity and an unique relationship with his twin brother, is absolutely not living the high life—he takes menial jobs to feed himself in between his investigations. Dorian is a huge temptation physically and for comfort: who wouldn’t want a plush bed and lavish meals with a hot man for company, when the alternative is a hostel, a sandwich, and his right hand.

This first installment is more a set up, and as has been disclosed, ends on the brink of a major change. Gabe’s initial investigation may not be as complete as he’d like, and his twin doesn’t trust Dorian in the least. It’s going to make reviewing a real challenge for future segments, because not spoiling what comes before is going to be nearly impossible. However, I like the set up, I like the characters. Dorian is edgy and arrogant, Gabe is both cocky and ready for a bit of adventure, and there should be all sorts of sparks as they interact. This wasn’t a complete story arc, but I wasn’t expecting that, and I will be sniffing around for the next section. 4 marbles.


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