Published on November 27th, 2012 | by BookCrack2
Updated Review: Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard
UPDATED REVIEW: Let us start by restating how much we love, love, LOVE this author and the Gabriel series. Our more in-depth review comes as we are celebrating news that SR (as the elusive author is known) is as we type penning a third Gabriel novel. This news has us nearly foaming at the mouth, but seeing as we are ladies of
discriminating taste, we will try to contain ourselves and represent SR well.
First, we want to say congrats to longtime BC fave, Sylvain Reynard as book 2 GABRIEL’S RAPTURE has officially made it to the Goodreads final round for Best Romance of 2012!
Back in July the author landed what Publisher’s Weekly called a “substantial seven figure deal” with Berkley/Penguin for the wildly popular Twilight flashback inducing (if you reallllly wanted there to be a similarity-I didn’t-see it beyond Julia physically) books GABRIEL’S INFERNO and GABRIEL’S RAPTURE. Those of you on Goodreads might recognize GABRIEL #1 as a 2011 semi-finalist for Best Romance. Several of the BookJunkies at BC (myself among them) have been raving about the Gabriel books since they were published by Omnific publishing a.k.a. f-o-r-e-v-e-r ago.
Another reason I’m thinking a lot about this series is the fact that another major bestselling series has officially come to an end.What’s the connection? Well, besides the fact that this was once fan fiction (reserve your judgement!) I’ve still got a few folks on my Christmas list that had some reservations about the series, so I’ve bought them as gifts. Shhh! I know they will love them. GABRIEL’s INFERNO will be just like the first Twilight for them. I know it. Many moons ago (Christmas 2006) I brought a few of my fellow BookJunkies a copy of that bestseller when it first came out in paperback and they swore they couldn’t…they wouldn’t read it. It was YA! GASP. Fast forward a year or so and they were the ones organizing the car pool for girls movie night for 10-20 of us to be at each of the Twilight premieres since 2008. This year was no exception.
I think the GABRIEL series has begun to garner that kind of devotion with it’s readers. Or dislike. And we like-y. A LOT.
It depends on your take on the classic, brooding, tortured, I’m-Sexy-and-I-Know-It-and I’ve-Used-it-as-a Weapon hero and the virtuous virginal heroine. Typically, I steer clear from virgins in waiting unless it’s YA.
I had reservations going in. In fact, some of my favorite reviewers DNF at around 30% into the first book because they wanted more action both in the bedroom and out. But it comes (no pun intended) and the romance in between had me both sighing and nearly tearing up at the surprising humor (Angelf*cker!) and heartwrenching moments. It’s an investment of a romance and those of us who enjoyed the forbidden student/teacher and rouge/virgin elements loved this book. I even found myself particularly enjoying a few of the more light-hearted exchanges like this one:
“I like your…outfit.” His eyes took in the naked flesh that was visible below the edge of the shirttail.
“I like your outfit, too. You’re looking awfully casual this morning, Professor.”
He leaned forward and gave her a heated look. “Miss Mitchell, you’re lucky I decided to put on any clothes at all.” He chuckled at her fierce blush and disappeared into the kitchen.
Oh, gods of all virgins who are planning to have sex with their sex-god (no blasphemy intended) boyfriends, please don’t let me spontaneously combust when he finally takes me to bed. I really need a Gabriel-induced orgasm, especially after last night. Please. Please. Pretty please…”
GABRIEL’s INFERNO is the opposite of a quick, smexy read. It’s a curl up in your favorite chair with your beverage of choice with a blanket over the weekend or read it between stolen moments all night book. I adored it for that reason among all the others.
They are long books, but this series is almost a modern study in a classic romance trope (Mean, Moody and Must be Make Good) and the fact that the author is reportedly a MAN totally hooked me for the long haul.
If you love all things dark, gothic and smexy the Professor is a hero for you.
And just look at what readers are posting as their, um,
Still, make no mistake, he is an ass. It says so right on like page 5, “Emerson is an ass.” Seriously. He’s supposed to be! This book is the beginning of Gabriel’s journey from beautiful, cultured, intelligent and self tormented hero who believes he is beyond redemption to a man worthy of Julia’s love. And that takes a while, but if you can stomach Julia’s church-mouse like behavior in the beginning, she grows a backbone I promise, you will be richly rewarded.
“I’ve always had a terrible weakness for beautiful but sad things.”
“Sin isn’t something that is attracted to a human being, Professor. It’s the other way around.”
-Sylvain Reynard, Gabriel’s Inferno
Finally, I kinda secretly loved that the heroine was not a hip young woman about town, all self assured and established. She’s a lonely 23 year old graduate student who lived a tough mostly solitary life. Due to financial difficulties she cannot attend Harvard and finds herself in a foreign land at the University of Toronto. Gabriel is a 33 year old successful Dante specialist who’s traveled the world for his education. And he’s her professor. Our heroine is supposed to be struggling to find her way in the world and to her credit she is too kind (not that I believe that is a bad thing, but it does make her life challenging) and I like that she never succumbs to self pity. In this way, SR created a classic Thomas Hardy Tess of the d’Urbervilles heroine.
I believe another very popular heroine, Fifty Shades’ Ana, who is also bashed for her passivity, even referenced this familiar classic, as well.
SR’s work of choice; however, is Dante’s The Divine Comedy and in crafting the Gabriel books similarly he has written Professor Gabriel Emerson to embody the Mean, Moody and Magnificent anti-hero/hero to cultured perfection: a darkly gorgeous, brooding, solitary professor by day and in the recent past as a man who has spent his nights devoted to trying to repress the darkness through sating his forbidden lusty desires. Seven sins, he’s endulged them all. But now he’s working hard to redeem himself, if only by not indulging in them further with the one young woman who, unbeknownst to him, knows him better than Gabriel knows himself.
And even after all these months I can still say…these books have left me…verklempt. And I can’t wait for #3!
Here’s the offical blurb:
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.
Fast forward to nearly the close of 2012 and SR is teasing us with glimpses of Gabriel #3 via Twitter. Hopefully, this bring the very philanthropic, generous author legions of new fans.
And, welcome to the #professerpossie, ladies.