Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness…
He was 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…
Well, colour me surprised. For all the outraged Fifty Shades of Grey fans who think this book is a copy of that one (and oh, the irony of being upset a Twilight rewrite might have copycats!), I did not expect to like Bared to You one bit.
But I did.
This is guilty pleasure reading at its best. An addiction to get stuck with even while you know you’ve a whole lot of other books with more ‘substance’. I don’t mind an occasional series like this, I’ve discovered.
I had no plans to ever read the Crossfire series. I wasn’t a fan of Sylvia Day’s writing in the past, but I think she found her niche with these books. The reason I caved was because she was at the romance convention in Canberra and she impressed me so much I decided to give her another chance.
This series sells you a fantasy. I usually read more realistic, believable stories, but this was a fun change.
Now, look. I know plenty of Fifty Shades fans are newcomers to the romance genre (and books in general!) so they think anything remotely similar to ‘their’ book has to be a copy of it. However, Harlequin Presents has been around for a gazillion and twenty-two years, and the billionaire trope is nothing new.
This is not my favourite type of book, but damned if Bared to You wasn’t entertaining.
I know most reviews do the comparison thing, but I’m going also do it.
Why Bared to You is a superior book to Fifty Shades of Grey:
- The author can write. Nobody has an inner goddess that does the samba.
- This is an erotic romance (and yet nowhere near as racy as I expected – again, I think many reviews are by people new to romance), but it is not some piece of garbage trying to appropriate the BDSM culture – and failing.
- The author seamlessly weaved diversity in there. The bisexual friend whose sexuality isn’t a big deal. The male secretary. The heroine with mixed ethnicity. The Asian assistant. The gay boss. It didn’t feel preachy.
- The heroine is not a mousy brunette who has never been noticed by a man before, who suddenly finds herself in a love triangle. She is an attractive blonde and totally confident about who she is.
- She also knows what sex is – and has it. She’s sexually confident and doesn’t need to be taught the location of ‘her sex’ and what its functions are!
- Much has been made about how Eva falls when she meets Gideon Cross, just as Ana falls when she meets Christian Grey. Not so. She is not a klutz ala Twilight’s Bella or Fifty’s Ana. This particular scene plays out nothing like I expected.
- She eats, but she also exercises. And has hobbies other than mooning over a billionaire.
- As for the billionaire? What a novel concept, but he actually works. He’s rich because he does his job. The roles allocated to the characters aren’t placeholders; these are people who actually live the lives they’re supposed to live.
- After a mere kiss, we get this: He caught my chin, forcing me to look at him. “Hey,” he said softly. “You okay?” which is a hell of a lot more than Christian Grey manages after beating the shit out of his semi-willing girlfriend.
- There’s no one ‘broken’ character the other one ‘fixes’. There’s drama aplenty, but it’s evenly distributed.
- The wealth is also fairly well distributed, as Eva comes from a very rich background. The power balance is so much better than in the other book.
Is it all perfect? Absolutely not:
- The twenty-something billionaire trope is fairly ridiculous, and I don’t see why both characters couldn’t have been aged a few years.
- The book moves crazy fast. How would the story have been damaged with a longer timeline?
- I don’t like stalking stories. It was creepy as hell in Fifty Shades, and it’s not okay here. However, at least THIS heroine calls him out on it, and he has the grace to be a bit ashamed about it.
- The term ‘dumb blond’ usually renders a book an immediate DNF for me. However, I forgave it this ONE time, because it was the intelligent blond heroine who said it. But still – totally unnecessary misogyny!
- We really, REALLY, REALLY could have done with some more positive female characters. Eva is totally surrounded by men.
- Why do these people shower so much??!! I thought Maya Banks was the only author who had her characters shower twelve times a day, but Sylvia Day does too! Any time they do something as energetic as get off the couch or eat a sandwich, it’s time or another shower!
- Also, there is SO much attention given to descriptions of clothes and brands. So Much. It’s on par with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series in that respect, but here I sort of forgave it because it’s all part of the glamorous fantasy idea.
I do think that this book was well and truly worth my time. I’m glad I picked up something I wasn’t intending to read or enjoy, and as soon as I could, I started on the next in the series.