Title: The Virgin
Publisher: Burning Bulb Publishing
Publication Date: April 18 2020
Although it’s not as brutal or extreme as some of Wol-vriey’s work, perhaps the most terrifying thing about The Virgin is just how plausible it is. In a world of reality TV, ever-more-absurd game shows, the dark corners of the internet, and sheer human greed, it’s all too easy to believe such an event could happen. That’s assuming, of course, it’s not already happening, making this a documentary . . . which, aside from a few final twists, is not that hard to believe.
The concept of The Virgin gameshow is simple – 5 virgin women are dropped into an abandoned neighborhood where they must survive 3 hours with their hymens intact to win 10 million dollars. As it turns out, however, their darkest threat doesn’t come from the 10 virile men who are chasing a bonus for every deflowering, but from each other. Picked as much for their pride, lust, envy, and wrath as for their greed, these women aren’t interested in alliances, and have no intention of splitting the prize money. It’s a no-holds-barred, anything-goes contest, one with zero real-world consequences, and each and every one of them will kill to win.
My first impression of this was that Wol-vriey did a fantastic job of establishing the characters, giving each woman personality and purpose, but the overall story was feeling strangely toned down and reserved for what I’m used to from him. Sure, there were impalements, stabbings, and beatings, but even the first fatality felt kind of, well, standard. I was enjoying it, but had kind of expected more.
And then we discovered the boobytraps.
You see, to ensure the contestants are always on the move, maximizing the potential for sex and violence, many of the buildings are boobytrapped, ensuring nobody feels safe or stays idle for long. The first time one of those boobytraps comes into play is when two women are locked in battle, attempting to deflower the other with whatever’s on hand. A horde of massive, poisonous spiders come pouring down from above and, within seconds, the unfortunate woman directly beneath then is a swollen, bloody, paralyzed mess, hardly ripe for the taking, but easy prey for any man who stumbles upon her.
That upped the ante, pushed the story into darker territory, but it was the surprise beneath another boobytrap that plunged this into patented Wol-vriey splatterpunk bizarre. I hesitate to say too much about that surprise, but it comes as two women are trying to manipulate one of the men into deflowering the other, only for all three to fall through the floor into what seems an inescapable basement. There’s an odd hallway leading off the room, however, that seems like it shouldn’t be there . . . with doors marked by an odd red octopus image . . . and horrors unimaginable behind the only door that opens.
And then there’s the wanton woman, the wedding dress, and the water bed, but that you need to experience for yourself!
What may surprise readers who are unfamiliar with Wol-vriey is that The Virgin is actually very feminist, more about feminine empowerment than misogynistic exploitation. There’s a woman with her own (ahem) unique virginity behind the show, and it’s a game where the women hold all the power. They’re contestants, not victims, fully aware of what’s at stake, and not only armed, but equipped with smartwatches to map their progress. If they had chosen to team-up, they could have quickly taken out the men and then waited out the 3 hours to earn 2 million dollars each – they make their own choices, leading themselves to deflowerment (or death), with the men little more than tools. It’s a fantastic story, fast-paced, violent, and full of fantastic twists, and well worth the read.
Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀
My sincere thanks to the author for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.