Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review: Gabriel's Inferno

Title: Gabriel's Inferno
Author: Sylvain Reynard
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Release Date: Out Now!
ISBN: 1936305623

This book took me an awfully long time to finish, part of it because the heroine and her love interest weren't really the most likable of people. Julianne starts this book as a spineless fish that sort of just goes along with everything and Gabriel, well... he's a jerk. Plain and simple. Now in Julianne's defense, this is somewhat explained later on as to why she's so willing to be led by the hand everywhere.

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.

As far as Gabriel goes, he's not really truly redeemed as far as his character goes. He's a jerk up until a certain point in the book, where his character seems to go through an instant transformation into everyone's dream lover: sweet, sensitive, and oh-so-willing to please. It's like someone flipped a switch and is pretty much the epitome of wish fulfillment literature that you have this guy that is almost completely changed by having his dream woman's attentions. This might be a little bit of a spoiler, mentioning this part, but this happens relatively early on in the book and it's pretty much a given that at some point he and Julianne get together.

I was fully prepared to dislike this book. I was expecting it to be something along the lines of Fifty Shades of Grey, a book that relied far too heavily on the reader bringing along the personalities (or the lack thereof) from the Twilight books and that love for the series. What surprised me is that Reynard actually does try to make the characters in Gabriel's Inferno their own people. Oh sure, there are definite points to where you can see this book's origins as original fanfiction, but this really is fanfiction in the loosest sense of the term. I'd go so far as to say that if I wasn't already aware of its origins, I probably never would have guessed this was originally fanfiction. This isn't the best book out there, but I think that people dismissing it offhand as "another Fifty Shades" are really doing it a disservice. I can't guarantee they'd like it, but this book is far, far, FAR better than Fifty Shades. Fifty Shades was sort of written as a way to see the two main characters of Twilight getting it on in naughty-ish positions. (Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that.) Gabriel's Inferno actually tries to tell a story.

As long as you can look past some of the lightening quick and at times rather unbelievable character personality switches, as well as the fact that this is almost a perfect textbook example of Mary Sue wish-fulfillment, this actually isn't a bad book to pass the time with. Again, it's not perfect and it won't ever be on the top of Oprah's "required reading" list, but it's fun and I didn't always feel like taking my shoe off and beating the bejeebers out of the main characters. I just wish that this had gotten the same amount of publicity that Fifty Shades did. It's better written and would be much more interesting film than FSOG would be. Yes this is sort of along the lines of "bodice rippers" at times, but it tries to be more than that and I couldn't help but find it quickly becoming a guilty pleasure as the later parts of the book took hold of me.

Oh and FYI, this actually doesn't have any sex in it. The sole sex scene in the book actually happens in the last part of the book. Sex is frequently referenced and sexual situations do happen, but there's no bump and grind until later on in the book. And yes, it does continue to play on the wish fulfillment ideas of what people wish their first times would have or would be like. If you're not OK with the book being blatant wish fulfillment and somehow made it that far, this scene would be the point where you hurl the book against the wall and start bringing out the matches. I kind of hope that people do give it a chance since this was fun as far as wish fulfillment fantasies go.

(4 out of 5 stars)

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