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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

Gabriel's Inferno
(Gabriel's Inferno, Bk#1)
By Sylvain Reynard

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. 

Available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Viviana's Review:
I've heard all of the raves and love for this book. I've also heard, (okay, read) all of the not so good reviews. It’s been compared to, no, not compared per say but advertised as “If you like ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ then you’ll like ‘Gabriel’s Inferno’.” I didn't like "FSoG". My issue with "FSoG" was the writing. I believe the concept of "FSoG" to be an interesting one, just poorly executed. However, I loved “Bared to You” by Sylvia Day and “Gabriel’s Inferno” is also compared to it.
“Gabriel’s Inferno” sat on my iPad for months. Other books from authors I knew and loved continued to put it lower on the list. Then a FB Friend and fellow book blogger reviewer began to rave about it and she caught my attention with her review. In conversation with two other FB Friends – they had me convinced I had to read this book asap. Then serendipity stepped in and Barnes & Noble had both books in the series on sale (paperback) and I had a gift card. Worst case scenario, it would end up as a giveaway or donated to my local library and of course the best case scenario – sitting on my book shelf. Result – it’s sitting on my shelf.

Since I began with mentioning the comparison between “Gabriel’s Inferno” to “FSoG” and “Bared to You”, let’s discuss. There is only ONE similarity between all three books – the Concept. Heroine is young (age between 21 – 24), naive to the ways of the world as a whole or more along the lines of love/sexual relations to some degree. She is timid and circumstances from her past (at least in 2 of the 3 books) guide her reactions in the present. She falls for the Hero who is older (age between 8 to 10 yrs), successful, are all professional and have large sums of money. In all three, the hero has a difficult past which creates who they are today. The Hero is also in a position of power over the heroine (professor, owner of the company she works for, or is the direct boss).

That is where the similarities and comparisons should stop. The circumstances, each of the characters’ past, how they handle their past, the story between the Hero & heroine, the way the books were written are all different. So if you liked or enjoyed one of the three books based on what I've written above, then you may like the other if you haven’t read them. However, remember, what I just said, they differ in many ways as well.

So onto “Gabriel’s Inferno”…………

It was extremely well written. You can see the author’s love/admiration for literature. Extremely eloquent but not snotty. The characters were all very different and had their own unique behaviors and tone. The environment or location(s) also had me enthralled with the story. The university, the lecture halls, the library, study rooms and area, it brought back memories of attending the university or what I thought it would be like. Also, admit it, we at one time or another, thought/fantasized about a professor/teacher, right?

The characters were written beautifully. They held true to themselves based on their past and developed or grew based on the present. I truly enjoyed reading and getting to know them better. I was able connect with Julia, Gabriel (on several different levels), Paul (yes, I was “the friend” when I was in my late teens/early 20s) and related to the tight knit family that Rachel was a part of. Each of the characters added to the story creating a smooth flow. There were definitely no fillers.

The story was unique with the details; Dante Specialist, the Hero and heroine meeting before, Hero’s back story (his past), and even the relationship between Professor/Student was new (in other words, he wasn't her employer/boss). Sylvain Reynard did a marvelous job describing their world. It was just enough to help you visualize it but never made you feel like you were drowning in it.

On my FB Page for Enchantress of Books, a discussion began regarding this book. Someone said that they didn't like it for a few reasons but what stood out to me was that they said it was extremely judgmental. For the life of me I was trying to figure out what they were referring to but couldn't  So I asked. Ahhhhhhh the “BDSM Professor” or rather, Paul’s and Julia’s reaction to the BDSM Professor. No worries, no spoilers here. I agreed with my FB Friend. It was extremely judgmental (please note we're not discussing the author's views but that of the characters' as we do not know the author or his views), but it didn't bother me that they were being that judgmental without truly knowing what that world is like because, well, people are judgmental in general and who knows what they have heard regarding the BDSM Professor. Extremely naive  but remember that BDSM is still a very TABOO subject and this book was set in 2009 and may have been written around that time frame as well, though it was published in 2011. In both cases (set in and published) it was before the whole "FSoG" trend. Nowadays, people are curious about BDSM, enough to learn about it and even try it.

I know you are all waiting for my thoughts on the steam level. There’s a lot of tension between Gabriel and Julia and it’s built throughout the entire book. Remember, this is a contemporary novel not an erotica. What can I say without it spoiling anything…… it was romantic and sweet. It fit the circumstances and the characters.

I’m really looking forward to reading “Gabriel’s Rapture” and see how Gabriel’s and Julia’s relationship develops.

Rating: 4 Stars - Loved It


  1. I'm glad you liked it! I totally loved the books. And while I read FSOG first, I really don't like when people say, "If you like Fifty Shades, then try..." I think it cheats the book and the author. I wouldn't even put these books in the same category as FSOG.

    I picked up Gabriel's Inferno/Rapture because the Bookish Temptations blog was always talking about how great the books were. I couldn't put either of them down. And while I found myself comparing it to FSOG, there are only a few similarities. I loved the raw emotion of the characters and it was beautifully written. Sylvain Reynard is currently writing the final book of Professor Gabriel Emerson and I can't wait to find out what's in store for the newly-wedded couple.

    Thanks for sharing the review!!

    1. The comparison really bothers me because for 1 with regards to this particular situation/book - they are NOTHING alike! I agree with you that it cheats the book and the author.

      Love that we can relay on our bookaholic friends and fellow bloggers to find us new reads!! That's why its important to do honest and fair reviews!!

      Thank you for stopping by and visiting w/ me!! Can't wait to discuss "Gabriel's Rapture". I haven't read it yet, but I'm itching to!! I'm being a good girl and catching up on reviews I need to do!! :) Soon though!!!

  2. What a wonderful review! I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy the book and look past the FSoG comparisons. I agree with Elizabeth H - it does kinda cheat the book and author when it's marketed in that way. I, too, loved these books!! I thought both books were beautifully written and I thought the tie with Dante's Divine Comedy was incredible. I can't wait for the "final" chapter. :)

    1. Hi Brandee!

      THANK YOU! Glad you enjoyed it! I truly loved this book and look forward to reading and reviewing "Gabriel's Rapture".