Sunday, February 17, 2013

Gabriel's Inferno/Gabriel's Rapture Quick Review

Here's my latest mini book review on Sylvain Reynard's Gabriel's Inferno and Gabriel's Rapture:

"How to Stretch a Short Story Into Two Novels"

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you? 
It's obvious Reynard tried way too hard to recapture the lightening in a bottle that is "50 Shades of Grey":

Like Christian, Gabriel is extraordinarily rich and a troubled soul. Orphaned as a child and raised by the perfect adoptive parents. Including a sister who is the only one not intimidated by him. He even has an unstable ex-girlfriend wanting him back.

Like Anna, Julia is a 23 year-old, innocent student, studying literature. And just as stupidly clueless. She even has a very similar relationship with her father.

It's a drawn out romance with minimal plot, centered around dialog & sex between the two protagonists; but believe it or not, the dialog is not as good as 50 Shades, which was not exactly pros. And the sex doesn't even come close!

What was most disappointing about Sylvain Reynard’s story?
The one thing the story had going for it was the many references to the middle ages poet Dante Alighieri and his muse Beatrice. The climax of the book would be the perfect opportunity to bring their "alter egos" full circle. Instead Gabriel leaves clues for Julia to let her know why he's disappeared, by quoting another middle ages couple. This wouldn't be so bad except Julia doesn't pick up on any of the literary references, even though she's supposed to be getting a Harvard Doctorate on this stuff!

Then once all is revealed she doesn't even feel stupid or apologize for being so obtuse.

What didn’t you like about John Morgan’s performance?
Narrator John Morgan had the perfect voice for Gabriel, but because there is so much dialog, it would have been better if Julia had been read by a woman. Morgan sounded like a strange drag queen and never seemed to have the right inflection for Julia's emotions.

Any additional comments?
These characters were not delightful or interesting enough for two books. If she had combined "Gabriel's Inferno" and" Gabrriel's Rapture" into one book, it would have been passable in terms of plot and romance.

But trying to stretch such a simple story into two books, made each novel feel weighted, full of exposition and never ending.

I know you're probably wondering why I read the second book if I was so dissatisfied with the first one. I was curious to see if things would pick up. More importantly, Gabriel and Julia's physical relationship, was supposed to heat up in "Gabriel's Rature", which it did, but again, not worth a second book. 

PS - Why was Gabriel's ex-lover named Paulina and Julia's other suitor "the Angel F'er" named Paul?

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