The Virgin by Wol-Vriey

As I was reading The Virgin by Wol-vriey, I struggled decide whether I liked it or not. Now I’ve finished the book, I’m still caught up in indecision. Part of my problem is the novel has what I can only call a patchwork feel; it’s inconsistent. At times it drifts towards base-level comedy, but at other times the tone turns more serious. Some chapters read well while others are clunky and could do with a few more revisions to strip out some of the errors. There are serious passages alongside moments of absurdity, but it’s difficult to tell whether the latter are tongue-in-cheek or a genuine attempt to add some splatteriness.

The core story is relatively straightforward: five virgins and ten suitors are thrust into an artificial setting for three hours as part of a dark web game show. The objective is simple: the virgins must remain virgins and the suitors have to attempt to deflower them. Oh, I nearly forgot; the virgins also have carte blanche to kill each other, or the suitors, if they so desire. The top prize of $10 million is shared between the girls with intact hymens at the end of the show.

The game isn’t actually that straightforward. It has various elements which crop up, seemingly to get the characters out of (and sometimes into) perilous situations, but it does keep the pace up and the action flowing.

Between the sexual jiggery-pokery and the violence there are moments of cartoon-like comedy: think people running into rooms, legs whirling as they hit a patch of oil before careering out of control into a wall. There are also moments of bizarre comedy: think a woman who has had her vagina surgically removed with hymen intact, which she keeps in a jar to celebrate her virginity.

At other times, the humour drains away, and when it does the errors become more obvious and the many bracketed comments explaining why things are the way they are become intrusive to the story.

As The Virgin heads for its climax (no pun intended), it suddenly takes a strange turn with a scenario coming out of left-field. The whole thing is so at odds with the rest of the story it’s more of a distraction than anything else. I found myself on the verge of giving up reading, because it very much felt like an after-thought. Then, just as the confusion hits the high-tide mark, we’re back in the main story. I appreciate you should always expect the unexpected, but in this case it jarred, and the story never got back on track for me.

It’s not all bad, which is why The Virgin is a bit of a frustrating book. Some of the humorous moments add to the enjoyment of the read, and a few of the gore-filled incidents are well crafted. There’s no indication of the ending until you get there, as the story is written from multiple POVs.

However, for me, the thing The Virgin left me with was indecision as to how I felt about it. The reason I can’t be sure is because the story twists from slapstick to horror to splatterotica and back again without any element remaining throughout. It has a little bit of everything thrown in, but I thought it would be stronger with more of a focus. That said, for those that want a cocktail of gore, aggressive sex and bizarre episodes, it will be a fun read.

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