Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Gabriel's Rapture by Sylvain Reynard

Gabriel's Rapture
Sylvain Reynard
May 22, 2012
Penguin Berkley
412 pages

Professor Gabriel Emerson has embarked on a passionate, yet clandestine affair with his former student, Julia Mitchell. Sequestered on a romantic holiday in Italy, he tutors her in the sensual delights of the body and the raptures of sex. But when they return, their happiness is threatened by conspiring students, academic politics, and a jealous ex-lover. When Gabriel is confronted by the university administration, will he succumb to Dante's fate? Or will he fight to keep Julia, his Beatrice, forever?


I'm going to preface this review by saying if you are among the hoards of people who loved Gabriel's Inferno, you'll probably love this book too. I was not one of them, and am even less of a fan now.

While I thought book 1 was okay, I didn't love it the way that most people seemed to. And the things I didn't like there were only amplified in this book, all while telling one of the most boring and predictable stories I've read in a long time. I felt like I was rolling my eyes every other page at the author's condescending tone and overly verbose writing style. The frequent references and quotes of literature were unrealistic and pretentious.  I challenge you to find someone (even an English major) who only read Shakespeare as required reading in high school, but was able to recite full stanzas. So many of the scenes were too long, repetitive, and didn't add anything to the story. I'm not going to spoil anything here, but I'd be surprised if anyone didn't predict the "complications" that arise in this story based on what happens in book 1. I put this book down two different times before reluctantly forcing myself to return to it. I was so happy for it to be over.

I do have to say that there are some things that redeemed this book. The writing is technically excellent. I'm not sure if that's the writer or a really great editor, but aside from the very odd narration style (again, why does the narrator care what Gabriel's feet look like?), there are very few mistakes made. The second half picked up the pace and was much easier to get through than the first. Once all that predictable self-imposed drama was complete, it was a much more interesting story.

Obviously, I'm in the minority here in my opinion on the book, so I'd caution anyone reading this to ignore my review and give this book a try if you enjoyed Gabriel's Inferno. But, if you had reservations as I did about the first book, take my advice and skip this one altogether.

Gabriel's Rapture: 2/5 stars
Cover: 3.5/5 stars
Audience Rating: PG-13 (maybe R? - how bad is it that I've already forgotten all the juicy bits and cannot remember how detailed they are?)

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