Rarely has a set of books (both this one and Gabriel’s Inferno) grabbed my gut, my heart, and my brain. Having both been a grad student and an instructor at the university level, let me assure you that everything about this book happens to real people. Intellectuals are incredibly turned on by the life of the mind and it stokes passions that frequently become both physical and emotional between grad student and professor – they are, after all mature adults. And yes, the university does struggle to balance the power by inflicting all kinds of hypocritical regulations regarding fraternization between the two. While I loved my time in the academy, I was not immune to its hypocrisy and power struggles. We see that hypocrisy so clearly in so many scenes with the Dean and the investigations. Gabriel’s Rapture was real to me. I’m starting to wonder if the author uses a pseudonym because he is also a professor in addition to his writing. His language, his knowledge of Dante and the Renaissance arts, his ability to provide the intellectual truths (in this case literature) as he lectures both in and out of the academy is a little too on point for a novelist who hasn't been there and lived it himself. So, maybe it’s the realism and the familiar sadness is what I loved the best. Gabriel’s seething sensuality is not born just of the physical and carnal. Living the life of the mind is indeed sensual for those that take that journey, and his pain of an anguished past is not unique to a fictional character. I saw myself and many I know in his character and in Julia. This book was perfection in every way. Each sentence, each description, each scene – is well thought out and amazingly heart-rending. The author has made us believe these characters and his art is a gift he gives freely to his readers. I am grateful he has decided to write a third book to this series because I'm not ready to let go -- not yet.
Everything is memorable about this book, but what stands out for me, aside from the steamy sensuality between Gabriel and Julia are the scenes following the Dean’s “inquisition,” when we as reader know that Gabriel and Julia will be (for a time) painfully separated. When he whispers to Julia to “read Abelard’s 6th letter” I cried like a baby. Julia’s heartbreak is palpable, and Gabriel’s sacrifice is agonizing.Again, this book is full of metaphors of the sacred. Starting with the name of his mother, look for them. They are there everywhere and made me catch my breath more than a few times.
I have not because he tends to narrate non-fiction, but his performance is award-worthy, He caught every nuance, every smile, every gasp, every humorous reference. A deep baritone of a voice that became Gabriel in my imagination, perfectly acted/spoken. He most definitely added to the sensual experience.
This is a book that is not to be missed. Be ready to let wash over you and change you forever.
This book is an intensely emotionally and intellectual experience. I am typically more of a non-fiction reader, but SR has converted me to fiction-- his fiction. He has weaved a story of passion and intellectual gratification that is breathtaking. He proves that true sensuality is in the character development and not in graphic sex scenes (which are noticeably absent until the very end and even that scene is more sensual than sexual.) He takes his time, not rushing scenes, developing every sentence into poetry (no pun intended), every discussion of Dante a university-level lecture, just perfection. If you ever sat in a grad seminar and found the intellectual stimulation a turn-on (especially if the professor is hot) you will love this book. SR speaks with a "male voice" which makes the story even more tantalizing -- a man wrote this amazing book, apparently. His humor made me laugh out loud -- as much as the pain in these characters made me cry my eyes out.
Well, we all love the Professor. He's stunning to look at, but also stunningly broken. He's brilliant, he's sexy, he's insecure, he's articulate, and he's struggling to get what he wants regardless of the cost (to him or to Julia). He's dark for sure, but not so dark that you can't feel a connection with him. He's the perfect fantasy man. This guy knows how to adore a woman!
I fell in love with John Morgan's voice. He is a gem-- and has made the listening experience intimate from the first sentence to the last. Who is this man??? What a perfect complement t SR's writing.
No, because I listened to Inferno and Rapture all in one weekend. I needed a few hours to sleep and eat, but I couldn't wait to get back to it. And I've listened to both books several times since.
I have recommended this book to many friends and co-workers and they all loved it. It has generated some very interesting lunch conversations. I patiently wait for the third book -- I know that SR will not disappoint me.
I have enjoyed the series and I can see how this book will be the conduit between the first and third book. However, this one was a little tough to get through. Lots of pain and angst throughout with very little relief from it. As the reader, I started to get uncomfortable, because the pain experienced by G an E was relentless, and even the sex seemed painfully desperate. They are just so chronically unhappy. I would have liked to see a longer book with a few chapters of lighter connection between Gideon and Eva -- there are one or two but even they are fraught with tension and tears. Even Cary gets seriously hurt. Way too much worry, and becomes too much for the reader when there is no relief.Corinne shows her true bitchy self, which is not exactly how we are introduced to her in the first book. More angst!!That being said, I love the way Sylvia Day has crafted the story, and I can't help but love the characters, so I'm giving it four stars. It grabbed me enough to keep me up until 3AM on a work-night, but I thought 7 hours was way too short for the second book.
Hands down, the last few pages when Gideon can finally tell Eva he loves her. We knew it, she knew it, and he knew it -- but it is quite emotional to hear him become stronger and trusting enough to tell her. Secondly, it was important to hear what happened to Gideon with the PhD student-- from his voice.
Any scene Gideon is in is powerful. He is kind of nuts, but you have to love his kindnesses and adoration of Eva. He is a bit of a sex-god and fun! Too bad he's fiction (he would have to be, with that kind of sexual ability!) Some of the "Dom" is there in a few scenes, but he's really more (non-intentially) cruel in Reflected to You.
I did listen all in one sitting. Not that happy about it, because it did take me two listens to finish Bared to You. I thought this one was a little too short,
Looking forward to the final book to see how the whole story concludes -- altho-- I would love to see a 4th book. I kinda like following these two intense characters, and coming from Philadelphia, I enjoy the New York backdrop which I am familiar with.I like the new characters, but I missed Magdalena and wondered why she suddenly disappeared.Again, Jill Redfield was very good as the narrator. There were a few mispronunciations and voice issues, but she has become the voice of these books for me.If you are addicted to the series, you will want to listen. So, I would recommend it if you are ready for a bumpy ride.
Everything about this book is totally fabulous. The story grabs you from the first minute or two, and the narration is absolutely top shelf; 6 stars. This book is far more literary than the Fifty Shades trilogy-- and the dialogue sounds real. The character development is excellent. Can't wait until Part Two comes out in October!
Would have loved it to be, but alas, had to interrupt it for work and sleep!
I have found a new favorite author, and a new favorite reader.
Fifty Shades is a lovely little vacation into wish fulfillment and romantic fantasy for the adult woman. It’s not a work of art, not structurally sophisticated or necessarily well written. Enigmatically, for all its B- writing and construction, it still has delicious and detailed character development, occasional gems that sparkle, and a romantic essence that lingers with the reader long after you sadly reach the end of the story. You may or may not like the two main characters, but regardless, they become like two old friends that invite you to become a fly-on-the-wall to their unusually complex and sometimes unhealthy relationship. It’s deliciously sweet, sad, real, unreal, and painful. From the second I started the first book, I was on the merry-go round and didn’t want to get off.
By this time, everyone knows that the textually the writing is often annoyingly repetitive, the voice sometimes childish and forced, lacking many of the American idioms that would strengthen the story line and the character development. The editing is non-existent. Who cares? If a sweet, sometimes dark romance is what you want, this is where you’ll find it. I say let go and enjoy the ride.
This little series is hardly S&M porn along the lines of the legitimately dark 9 ½ Weeks, which when I read it years ago left me distinctly uncomfortable and slightly nauseated and disturbed. Fifty Shades is a quite the opposite—more of a love story that the reader wants to happen, to work, and to succeed. Thus the fantasy. The sex scenes are graphic, sure, but sex becomes the third main character in the story, not an opportunity for reader gratification. “Sex” is simply how Christian communicates. He doesn’t know any other way. (I do have to admit that I did start to wonder how he never needed a refractory period, and she wasn’t writhing with constant vaginal infections…but I digress.)They are both virgins when it comes to “lovemaking” and once you understand Christian and Ana in this context, it can and does become more real and bittersweet.
Sure, Christian is simply too good to be true, but he is the better developed and--- for all his whips and chains-- the more likable character. Too rich, too good looking, too lusciously sexy, too witty, too over-protective -- our perfect fantasy man. It’s his darkness and sad vulnerability that make his obsession with inflicting sexual pain so interesting. This guy has put up emotional walls made of cement, and that just makes him more interesting and real. I loved him and found myself far more interested in him that I was in Ana, the sweet innocent that becomes his emotional salvation. She just advances too quickly for me to feel any really empathy for her. In a period of five or six months, she goes from shy to sophisticated, naïve to worldly -- and that alone damaged her character development. It’s a little tough for a virgin to go from unkissed to multi-orgasmic- on- demand in a short five month period (if ever!!), and for all her own issues of self-doubt and inferiority, it makes her the less sympathetic character. She is witty, smart, and outwardly independent; inwardly she is full of self-doubt, self-dislike, and has the same fear of abandonment that her lover has. That we understand.
As I said earlier, it’s a fantasy. Is Ana codependent? Is she an enabler? Is Christian a sick bastard that revels in orgasm denial (Red! Red!) and a selfish control –freak of pathological proportions? In real life, probably. But this isn’t real life. It’s a delicious and tantalizing escape, and one that women today desperately need. I laughed, I cried, I loved it.
There are rumors that E.L James is considering writing the same book from Christian’s perspective. I hope she does. That would be one hell of a psychological ride.
I haven't read the print version, but I can say I was totally engrossed in the audio version. Something tells me that had the performance been done after the hype (rather than before), the production, voices, etc would have been more carefully done and better produced.
While she's not the best reader, she's not the worst either. After re-listening to the trilogy a few times, I decided that she's good enough to generate the necessary imaginative imagery, and by the 2nd book, she does the Christian voice well enough.
I admit it, I did have an extreme reaction: addiction. I laughed at the witty banter (i.e. the email exchanges) and I cried at his emotional pain.
For all its faults (and there is a long list of them) the audio version grabs your imagination and doesn't let go. I loved it.
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