Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
In these rooms you will find the Special Exhibits, those paintings which remain at the Gallery only temporarily. Their time here can range from weeks to decades—even centuries. But they do eventually leave, so admire while you can. The subjects of these paintings come from all walks of life, from lonely individuals seeking respite while they await their true love, all the way to dangerous beings captured by the Curator or given to him for safekeeping until such time as they can be trusted out in the world again.
Today’s featured Special Exhibits include: The Assassin, about a killer on the run and a painting of a man who once chose surrender over murder; The Lion and the Mouse, where a grouchy accountant escapes the snow only to find himself on a beach with an ancient gladiator; The Gargoyle is a beautiful, erotic statue not for the faint of heart; Shapeless brings a new and rather unique guest to the gallery when he is bequeathed to Silenus by a dead alchemist; and finally, in Fallen Soldier, a man escaping his kidnappers hides behind a statue of an unusual being who once betrayed a dying kingdom…
I absolutely loved the first book in this series,The Gallery: The Permanent Collection. Derr gave us a wonderful concept, than an complicated buildup introduction to the owner of the Gallery, the Lord of Satyrs, and a terrific foundation of world building. Just magical. So I was really looking forward to the sequel. We had a brief peek at this “area” of the Gallery and small explanation but no more.
Now the The Special Exhibits are on display. And depending upon the “art work” the very nature of this portion of The Gallery made it less….magical or something. You see all the inhabitants here are only temporary. The amount of time they have spent living inside their “art” can be a thousand years to decades. It depends upon the person they are waiting to find them. And what happens after that. Which is that they leave the paintings/sculptures etc. (actually small bubble universes) to join that one they’ve been waiting all this time for.
Now in the Permanent Gallery, that person joins their fated one within the art work. Makes sense because again. That art work is really a contained universe.
But here the inhabitants, such as the Lion, a Gladiator who had never lost a battle, steps out of his painting into our century to become a…bouncer at a leather club with his sex club accountant boyfriend leading him? For me that was just nonsensical. Talk about culture shock. A fracas at the door of a local club is put down by a man using a net and trident? That would bring in the media.Yes, yes, I know that wouldn’t happen but that is the picture that sprung to mind. How do all these beings face life and relationships in our world and with our technology? Hard to answer in 66 pages to my satisfaction. As each long-term being left it’s temporary holding place in The Gallery, I just couldn’t help but think…what happens next to them? What about the culture adjustment? Where do the couples go? None of these questions really arise in The Permanent Collection for obvious reasons. That book just had more depth to it imo.
The only ones I wasn’t worried about particularly, was the Mist. Very imaginative. And playful. Plus the Merperson/Octopii being and the human mate. Yes, there is tentacle sex. Just a fyi. Their ending seemed rather wonderful although I still wanted to know what happened next to them as well. Especially as they were the end story to The Special Exhibits, with the notation that another would soon replace them. Yes, this gallery is one constant turnover.
Plus there is only a brief mention of the demon problems here that were such a major element in the first story. All in all, this is a lighter short story collection without the depth of the first. I would have loved to have known more about what happens next for many of the couples, a question that arises out of the nature of their temporary status in the The Gallery.
We have two books. I wonder where Megan Derr is going next. Will we find out more about the demons and the humans who have brought this problem into the world? What will happen to the Gallery and it’s owner next?
I can hardly wait.
Love this series. So will you.
Cover art by Aisha Akeju is beautiful, compelling and perfect for the story and cover.
Author’s Note: Two of these stories were freebies on my website. They have been edited for re-release, and received minor changes, but nothing major.
ebook, 66 pages
Published July 18th 2018 by Less Than Three Press
Series The Gallery #2