Thursday, March 15, 2018

Gabriel's Rapture by Sylvain Reynard

I debated a long time before reading this one. The first book in this series ended beautifully and several of the reviews had mentioned that this book was disappointing in comparison. Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me and I picked up the book.

I liked that the book picked up where the first one left off although it had some very surreal sections like Gabriel's expression of jealousy and how Julia deals with it. There are several points were the author seems to be trying too hard to hold onto Julia's innocence. At times we are beaten over the head with this information and at other times we are left with no details or simply confusion over the events that are happening. (ie "You don't have to do that" "but I want to" (insert more quiet arguing about how she's fine and she doesn't want him to do that) "But there is something you could do for me" (left to assume that he knows what she wants him to do what she said she didn't before))

I also like that the secondary characters are more developed but they seem artificial like the author has been told that he needs to write a third book so as an afterthought he threw more info about them so they can feature in the next book. The development is very lopsided as we get several pages of Christa reviewing things that happened in Gabriel's Inferno from her point of view and her early love life, although not in as much detail as Julia's, Paul is limited to meeting his family and ex-girlfriend. I'm not sure if this was an attempt to explain Christa's actions or a foreshadowing that she will be heavily featured in the third book.

The book gives the impression that there are only 3 maybe 4 Dante specialists in the world which makes some of the plot completely unbelievable. Would the academic world really turn their back on something so rare simply because he slept with a student, who wasn't complaining about it? Is the world of academia so petty that they would actively seek to fire a rare specialized professor because a girl with known predatory tendencies made an accusation? If any of this is to be believable then the worst job in the world is that of a college professor, where at any moment you could be fired because a student is upset with you.

The worst of that whole plot line is that it doesn't finish out. Gabriel is punished, Julia is hurt, but all other parties involved simply vanish from the book. The foreshadowing and tension are built up but then everything is just turned off while Gabriel deals with his punishment and "finds himself". Not that that's what he truly set out to do. To be honest I had to read the book twice because I completely skipped this section the first time waiting for Julia, who wasn't getting the obvious hints, to catch on. Even after going back and making myself read that section again I was still left with a question. "What was the point of that?" Intellectually I know that the point was to explain Gabriel's actions in the rest of the book but the explanation falls short and the self-discovery section doesn't reveal too much so there are a lot of "When did that start?" at the end of the book.

One of my big issues with the book is that reformed Gabriel is almost more controlling and manipulative than the original one. He plays on her guilt, refuses her things that she begs for, and does it all while saying that she needs to prove that she trusts him.

To be honest none of the intimate scenes are anywhere near as intense or enjoyable to read as the one at the end of book 1. In some way, the author knows this because the details are glossed over if they are mentioned at all (one scene is simply "they are in bed and Julia says thanks for compromising") leaving you wondering why he had the characters have sex at all.

All in all, it was an OK drama, not really a romance although it had romantic moments. It would almost make more sense to read it if you haven't read book 1 so that all the reminiscing makes more sense.