Sunday, August 12, 2012

[review] Sylvia Day - Bared to You (Crossfire, #1)

Title: Bared to You
Author: Sylvia Day
Series: Crossfire, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Paperback
Source: Giveaway win
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
Our journey began in fire... Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness-beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily... Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private wounds... and desires. The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...
Random paragraph: "I recognized myself in the description Cary had just given. I ran when the going got tough, because I was so sure it was all going to end badly. The only control I had was to be the one who left, instead of the one who was left behind." (p. 211, paperback edition)

I started writing this up a while ago, but I spent the week thinking of what exactly to write. This gave me a lot to think about.

Originally self-published by Day in April, this was picked up by Berkley, given a new cover, and released to a wider audience in June. It's being heavily marketed as "for fans of Fifty Shades" as a sort of withdrawal treatment. And on the surface, I can see why. This follows the story of college graduate Eva Trammell trying to carve her own way through New York City. While exploring her workplace the day before her official start, she literally bumps into Gideon Cross while helping somebody pick up her change. She feels an immediate attraction to him. Later, she finds out that he's a young billionaire and CEO of Crossfire, which owns several properties scattered throughout the city. She also has to deal with Cary, her troublesome roommate, and her overprotective parents (her mother has a tendency to track her cell phone).

I'll be honest: I didn't like FSoG at all. But I did like this.

Sylvia Day is a seasoned writer. "Slick" and "polished" are two adjectives I keep seeing to describe her prose, and I agree -- it glides. And after the initial clumsiness, I didn't find Eva anything like Ana. For one thing, Eva's not horribly sexually inexperienced; while fending off one of Gideon's advances, she even jokes about preferring her B.O.B. Eva's able to stand up for herself, and while Gideon seems predatory at the beginning, he definitely calms down and listens to Eva.

These are two characters with a lot of problems, who acknowledge that they're flawed. Eva has jealousy issues and runs away from conflict. Gideon's dominating and possessive. Both are abuse survivors. But when they realize after an erotic encounter that they feel something for each other, they strive to make their relationship work. At one point, Gideon said that he scheduled couples' therapy for them, and I wanted to stand up and applaud.

In many ways, this is a pretty standard romance novel -- there are sex scenes everywhere, Gideon has some unrealistic features, everyone's beautiful and wealthy, etc. But I found the characters engrossing. I wanted to see where they were headed, and how they'd make things work. I will definitely read Reflected in You when it comes out in October.

Overall: Good, if you want a contemporary read with characters who'll break your heart and put it back together.

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