Reflected in You

Indonesian edition’s cover

I was so caught in Sylvia Day’s Bared to You that it would be impossible not to read the next number in her Crossfire series, Reflected in You. To say that it’s better than the previous one wouldn’t feel right, but, on the other hand, I have to admit that it has qualities I deem magnificent: unpredictability and meanderings of a storyline. Horrendous, upsetting sex scenes are strewn all over it, a bit too much to my taste, but it has already been the characteristic any erotic romance has. As always before, its atmosphere emanates emotions and jealousy, and smells heavily of lust.

Reflected in You continues the story of Eva and Gideon where it leaves off. It opens with they arguing about their time together, ending with Gideon keeping an eye on her through a female bodyguard. Upset and irritated, Eva avenges it by putting a male bodyguard beside him. It may end their arguments over spying on each other, debatably out of concern for respective safety, but it doesn’t end the tension between them, with their never-ending fights and their sexual solutions. The real problem starts when Eva meets her ex-boyfriend, Brett Kline, a rising-star rock band lead singer, and stupidly returns his kisses in front of Gideon. The blazing rich man then punishes her with sex, the scenes being narrated making her seem like, if you’ll excuse my French, a slut rather than his significant other. The overuse of sex to express something unsaid also appears when Gideon has to avoid Eva for seemingly no reason and makes her think that they’ve already broken up and he comes back to Corrine. Up to this point, the narrative seems to me merely showcase two childish people with fervent desire for sex, not that I’ll blame it, looking at the genre. However, the conflict starts belatedly to feel interesting when Nathan Barker, Eva’s half brother, is found dead and Gideon comes under suspicion. The atmosphere suddenly turns from lustful to a little bit thrilling, and the author cleverly denies the reader the clear answer.

As the story gets more twisted, Sylvia Day describes the characters of Eva and Gideon in an even more twisted way. Eva seems more jealous, maniacal if I may say so. She has every reason to be jealous, but her overreaction and manner make her look shamefully ridiculous. I personally don’t have any respect for her, and her willingness to stoop so low as to give in to Gideon’s rough sexual lust robs her of the strong, determined character she should have. As for Gideon, I can thankfully say that his character develops better. He may seem so quiet in some ways, unwilling to express what’s inside his mind except through his sexual prowess, but his change in action and behavior is very much intriguing. His mood swing is also attention-gripping, though not in a pleasant way. I cannot say I adore his character, but at the very least he’s not annoying. Day describes him greater than she does in Bared to You, I think, daring to make him look mean, antagonist, and truly dangerous.

Though basically it is still an average erotic romance book, Reflected in You brings up something fresh with it. I never though it could be twisted in a tangle of murder and jealousy. Despite its sex-strewn narrative, it has a storyline no reader wants to leave off, so compelling and nicely flowing. It has more twists and turns, more intricacy, more intrigue. It is something more than what we read. The emotions show more clearly and feel stronger, in spite of the fact that Gideon is portrayed more silent. The core idea of the story is still characteristically romance, but its side elements are more interesting. The second half of the book serves the reader with a bit of “suspense”, which somehow reminds us of a crime novel. The murder of Nathan Barker really makes Reflected in You richer and more colorful, although in the end it seems a little bit detective-wanna-be. The thrilling atmosphere is so dense and, oddly enough, it can somehow fit the entire second half narrative where the case starts. However, I still have an objection to using sex as a problem solution, a means to measure one’s love and seriousness. I think it’s just normal for an erotic romance to have vulgar sex scenes strewn all over it, but that doesn’t mean that it has to deliver such ideas above. Sometimes a book is an entertainment, and sometimes it’s an inspiration. And when it inspires the reader to even think the wrong way, then it can be dangerous.

All in all, Reflected in You is pretty much like what I think Bared to You is, a mere romance book, nothing more. I wanted to look at it differently, what with its fresh intricacy and character development, but the ordinary basic idea and Eva’s hatred-triggering portrayal got in my way. I can only say that I don’t really like it, nor hate it.

Rating: 3/5

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