If you’re fond of the Christian Grey-Anastasia Steele formula—that is to say, a man tormented by inner demons “saved” by a woman who shows him that he not only knows how to love, but is worthy of receiving love—you’re sure to love Sylvia Day’s Crossfire novels. And that goes double for you if you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey but just wish there wasn’t so much BDSM. Read on to learn more about the latest installment in this erotic romance series.

TITLE: Reflected in You
AUTHOR: Sylvia Day
SERIES: Crossfire Novels
GENRE: Erotic Romance
PUBLISHER: Berkley Trade
ISBN: 0425263916
eISBN: 9780425263914
PRICE: P485 (paperback) from Fully Booked and $11.69 for Kindle edition on Amazon.com.

SYNOPSIS:

If you haven’t come across the Crossfire series yet, here’s a rehash: In Bared to You, we meet blonde and beautiful Eva Tramell, who has just moved to New York from San Diego. Her mother is a socialite married to a wealthy man, her father is a cop, and while her stepfather would more than happily bankroll her in a life of idle luxury, she opts to take a junior position in an advertising agency instead. This agency happens to have its offices in the Crossfire building, which is the headquarters for billionaire Gideon Cross’s company.

Eva and Gideon meet, seemingly by accident, the day before Eva is to start her new job. They’re instantly attracted to each other. Eva thinks this attraction is dangerous and decides to steer clear of Gideon, but he steamrolls over her protests, and they end up exploring a very tumultuous relationship. And while maintaining most relationships are difficult, finding their way together is even harder when it is revealed that each of them has survived a devastating childhood trauma.

Reflected in You is the second book in the series. In it, we get to learn more about what makes Gideon and Eva tick. As the series is told through Eva’s eyes, Gideon’s personal issues are revealed through her experiences—his nightmares and the confessions he makes so reluctantly. We also learn about Eva’s life in San Diego and one of her pre-Gideon relationships. She and Gideon also struggle with their jealousy of each other’s ex-lovers, something they deal with as yet another threat to their relationship is revealed.

(Image taken from Berkley Trade)


REVIEW:

If comparisons between Christian Grey and Edward Cullen are inevitable, the same can be said of Gideon Cross and Christian Grey. Both are extremely wealthy men entirely too used to getting their own way in just about everything. Both endured childhood traumas, although it would seem that Gideon’s was more extreme than Christian’s.

The main difference between the two series, we believe, is in the heroines. While they are still somewhat more submissive when compared to their uber-dominant lovers, we found that the dynamics between the couples were different because of Sylvia Day’s treatment of Eva Tramell. While Ana was initially virginal and oftentimes had a hard time understanding where Christiam was coming from, Eva was hardly innocent coming into her relationship with Gideon—in fact, during their first sexual encounter, she was the instigator. Her own childhood trauma allows her to identify with his, but we are given the impression that she is able to help him because of the insights she’s gained from years of therapy and family support. Also, her own personal wealth puts her at a level closer to Gideon’s, making this less of a Cinderella story.

Overall, as a series, we would rate the Crossfire novels higher than the Fifty Shades trilogy, which we would in turn rate higher than the Twilight Saga, as far as character development goes.

As a novel, Reflected in You runs along some pretty convoluted plotlines. There’s a bit of a mystery story woven into the plot, which we found intriguing, but this was often overshadowed by the emotional twists and turns suffered by the characters. If you were to read this without first reading Bared to You, we believe some of the characters’ decisions would be a bit confusing—if you went on to read Bared to You, you would probably end up feeling the need to reread Reflected in You just to make sense of what you missed by starting out with the second book.

Although we didn’t count the number of sex scenes in each book, we got the impression that Reflected in You was somewhat less highly sexed than Bared to You, but don’t worry—Gideon and Eva still have enough sex to have this novel qualify as a “one-handed read.” What’s more, Gideon is dominant enough a character (we’re talking ultra alpha male here) and Eva is submissive enough in her own way that the interplay between them has shadows of a D/S relationship. However, if you’re looking to have your romantic hero and heroine engage in the BDSM lifestyle, you should find a different book. Gideon and Eva have very hot sex that doesn’t always take place in the bedroom (in fact, it’s a running joke between them that Eva is fond of making love in modes of transport), but they don’t actively engage in any BDSM. We felt that the reduced emphasis on sex helped round out the plot somewhat more than we saw in the first novel.

When all things are said and done, we weren’t overwhelmed by this book (or the series), but because we picked it up expecting a Fifty Shades clone, we were nevertheless pleasantly surprised—enough that we can say pretty reliably that we’ll be picking up a copy of the third book in the series, Entwined with You, when it comes out on June 4. If you’ve been reading the likes of Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series, you will probably be disappointed by this series, but if you loved E. L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, you end up giving the Crossfire novels five stars.

(Image taken from Berkley Trade)

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