Gabriel's Redemption is by far my book of 2013. I could quite easily wax lyrical about it all day. I don't intend to because I wouldn't want to ruin the reading experience for anyone. If you are a lover of these books, it is one not to be missed and I am green with envy that you get to read it for the first time. It was with a heavy but happy heart that I turned the final page as I simply wanted Gabriel and Julianne's journey to last forever.
Once again Sylvain Reynard has brought the characters and the setting to life. Descriptively beautiful, we visit all our favourite places as well as new (being British, I particularly loved that Oxford plays its part and the little mention of things English made it that little more special). Gabriel and Julia's continuing story as man and wife is one of compromise, acceptance and discovery and is poignant, touching, emotional and with the humour and little bracketed notes that I love. I felt their joy and sadness, frustration and happiness and with the secondary characters we love and not love so much ever present, the final leg of their journey isn't an easy one. And I loved how these characters also got their closure.
There are some books that are just 'the ones'. From the characters to the storyline to the setting, these are the ones that you will treasure always. For me, this series are these books. Exemplary written, 5 stars are simply not enough. Literary loves come and go. Mine will forever be Professor Gabriel O. Emerson. He is my sticky little leaf.
To say I am disappointed in Redemption would be an understatement, and the kicker is, I knew I would be, which is why its taken a year to get up the chutzpa to tackle it. I'm devastated at how mediocre this book is compared to the wonder that was Inferno....In fact if I remember rightly I only joined Goodreads because I wanted to join the Gabriel's Inferno reading group. Redemption feels like a book that was written for the sake of it, the characters have gone from complex to cartoon and the dialogue from scintillating to infantile. The pat way that plot was thrown around and then blithely resolved left me thinking 'what was the point?' Christa, Paul and Paulina (with her mysteriously ominous letter that on reveal was not ominous AT ALL, we obtained resolution with all of these characters in Rapture. And then there were characters that were introduced and left hanging (as far as this book is concerned)case in point? Who was the grey-eyed stranger at the Uffizi? Now, he may well be someone Reynard plans to develop in Raven but to just throw him into Redemption with no name or reason was clumsy and amateurish. I just don't, for the life of me, understand why Reynard felt he needed to write this book, if not for the singular motivation of financial gain.
In all Redemption felt like a contractual filler. I felt the same about Rapture to some extend but this final novel just bashed that nail on the head. And again I am left with the personal dissatisfaction of not being able to flounce a series once started, without this defect I would have stopped reading after Rapture and my fond memories of Inferno would have remained fairly intact, now after Redemption, the only way to recall them will be to go back and re-read the book, and with my TBR list so out of control I just don't have the spare time to do so...