by Sylvain Reynard, contemporary (2012)
Berkley, $15.00, ISBN 978-0-425-26595-6
Gabriel's Rapture isn't as horrid as the previous book in Sylvain Reynard's "I'm passing off my Twilight fanfiction as deep literature by pegging Dante and stuff while going around acting like I'm the new authority on love and zen" series, but then again, losing one arm in an accident is better than losing both arms. Saying this book is better than the previous one is just like saying that this turd smells less worse than that turd. It's all relative.
This one can stand alone because, let's face it, plot isn't a strong or selling point in this series. It's all about relating to the empty vessel heroine Julia Mitchell and imagining that one's self is being diddled into rapture by the biggest asshole, sorry, romantic hero ever, Gabriel Emerson.
This is a better book because, now that Gabriel is porking Julia and they are about to live happily ever after, he doesn't need to let his Madonna/Whore complex loose as much as before, or treat the heroine like the dirt.
Instead, he now treats her as if she's a brain-damaged dog. She cannot go anywhere without him or, failing that, in the company of someone approved by him. Seriously, while attending an event early in this story, he has to leave her side for a while, and she just stands there, unable and unwilling to go to her own seat until he selects someone he approves to escort her there! If she dares talk to another person, especially another man, without his permission, he gets violent and behaves like a thug.
That's why I say it's all relative: here, things are not exactly high romance in motion, but at least Gabriel treats Julia like a fragile china doll unable to think or act on her own instead of browbeating and berating her for sins both imagined and real. And since Julia actually likes being treated this way - being Gabriel's wife is the pinnacle of her dreams and desires - and especially since I know from the last book that Julia is unable to do anything right on her own, I can't argue that she isn't right for him. She's the perfect braindead doormat and empty vessel for an emotionally abusive and insane control freak like him, and the only way they can be totally perfect is if they moved to some Taliban settlement where she happily spends the rest of her life living in a kennel in Gabriel's backyard.
Oh yes, I guess there's a plot in here somewhere. Jealous whores, trying to tear them apart because Gabriel is such a prize, and there's also a stand-in for Jacob Black, whom we all know must be demonized and humiliated because he dared stand in the true love of Bella and Edward. Gabriel finally declaring that he's now improved thanks to Julia's love, although he's still a deranged bully to me. Of course, Julia gets praised for being Gabriel's true love, which basically means that she has achieved a better state of being just by parting her legs to Gabriel and letting him control every aspect of her life. This is love, folks, this is love.
At any rate, this series is done, so let's just not waste any more time on such unpleasant and disturbing turd wrapped in purple pretentious prose and passed off as "romantic". Let's see what else is out there.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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