Friday, November 2, 2012

Double Feature: Gabriel's Inferno and Gabriel's Rapture by Sylvain Reynard

Double Feature is going to be a new type of review on my blog!
What can you expect? Short and quick book summaries (usually books in a series) and reviews... With as little spoilers as possible... as well as quotes that made me fall absolutely in love.

Double Featured Books: Gabriel's Inferno and Gabriel's Rapture by Sylvain Reynard

Synopsis of Gabriel's Inferno from Good Reads:

Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption. When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide. An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love and redemption, "Gabriel's Inferno" is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man's escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible...forgiveness and love.

Continue after the break for the Double Feature review!

Please note - Gabriel's Inferno and Gabriel's Rapture are adult romances. While certain scenes are not as graphic as Fifty Shades of Grey, I would still proceed with caution. There are adult scenes, offensive language, drinking and allusions to drug use. This is definitely not a Young Adult novel! 

When Julia Mitchell begins her Master's degree at the University of Toronto, the last person she thought she'd enter into a relationship with was Professor Gabriel O. Emerson - the sexy yet haunted Dante specialist who seems to hate her for no apparent reason. After the two discover the significant past that they share with each other, they begin a forbidden affair that could mean the end of Gabriel's bright career with the University and bring Julia's studies to a screeching halt. With Julia's help, Gabriel discovers that he does not have to be defined by his dark past and that even he deserves a chance at a happy and fulfilled future.

4/5 stars - If you're a fan of Sylvia Day's Crossfire series and are looking for something to read while we wait for Entwined In You, please, please, PLEASE give Gabriel's Inferno a shot. I loved almost everything about this book - the sexy guy with the dark past who has convinced himself that he is not worth redemption or love, the young heroine who believes that love can save anyone, and the forbidden aspect of their romance. The reason why I docked it one star was because of Reynard's writing style - it felt pretentious. Reynard clearly knows his Dante... but some of the literary references felt forced. Despite any hang ups that I had about this book, I still purchased the sequel immediately after I finished Gabriel's Inferno. (Kindles are awesome, yeah?)

* * * There may be spoilers about the series in the Gabriel's Rapture review!

In the sequel to Gabriel's Inferno, we meet Julia and Gabriel in Italy on a romantic vacation to celebrate the end of the semester and the beginning of their relationship as an official couple. Together the two work through their pasts, facing their problems head on as united front. It seems like happily ever after for Julia and Gabriel until a vindictive person threatens everything they have built together by exposing their relationship to the University administration. With the threat of expulsion for Julia and serious legal action against Gabriel, the couple is forced to endure the worst of their relationship yet.

5/5 stars - Seriously, guys. I fell in love with this book... and I don't often find the sequel to be more compelling than the first in a series. In Gabriel's Rapture, we are given incredible character growth. Due to circumstances that Julia and Gabriel could not have seen coming (but perhaps, should have), the two are forced to face their demons and grown on their own. Julia learns independence and Gabriel learns about redemption and grace. Sylvain Reynard (thankfully) turned the pretentious writing style down a bit and wrote such wonderfully insightful passages about finding hope, faith and redemption through another person. And I feel that I need to mention that this book was classy. Gabriel's Rapture is about the relationship between Gabriel and Julia... but it is also about both character's individual growth in terms of how they view the world, grace and hope. In a world filled with Fifty Shades of Grey, Sylvain Reynard was able to write about a couple finding love and defining themselves together without the X-rated scenes. Yes, there are definitely a few adult scenes... but they existed for a reason - a means of growth for a young couple rather than providing a nearly pornographic element.

Some quotes that I adore from Gabriel's Rapture... 

"I'll love you forever, Julianne, whether you love me or not. That's my Heaven. And my Hell." 
"'Grace isn't something we deserve, Gabriel,' Julia said softly. 'It comes from love. And God wraps the world in second chances and sticky little leaves and mercy, even though some people don't want them.'"

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