Susi Reviews The Raven (The Florentine #1)
by Sylvain Reynard
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel Series comes a dark, sensual tale of romance in a city shrouded in mystery…
Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery restoring fine works of Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semi-conscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attacker’s screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her…
When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. She returns to the Uffizi, but no one recognizes her and more disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of the events leading up to her disappearance, Raven also learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history – the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the baffled police force identifies her as its prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth about her disappearance. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets…
The Raven is the first book in the Florentine Series by Sylvain Reynard. Just like his previous series, this book takes readers to Florence, Italy. This is a spectacular setting! Art plays a major role in this book. The Prince, AKA William is an underground vampire in Florence. In this paranormal romance, the mysterious underground world of Florence comes to life. The Prince meets Raven, who I absolutely love for many reasons and is immediately drawn to her. I love that he is drawn to her because she is not your typical heroine in the story. Raven is simple, compassionate, kind, and has a disability. The Prince sees her for who she is. Both The Prince and Raven have pasts filled with heartache of some kind. They both also share a love of art. Raven’s job at the Uffizi Museum in Florence further adds to this new connection between them.
To fully understand this story, The Prince, a prequel novel by SR should be read. Additionally, having read The Gabriel’s Inferno Series is a plus. You see, there are crossover characters from that series. Professor Emerson and his wife Julia appear in both The Prince and The Raven. Art work The Emersons were sharing with the museum has been stolen.
I have to admit, I love how SR included my favorite couple in this new series. Honestly, I don’t think that I was ready to let them go. Thanks for keeping them around a little longer. Still, I have concerns over them and their future.
Sylvain has a magical way of incorporating beauty, love, art, religion, kindness and virtues in this paranormal story along with an exciting plot to keep you on edge. Written in his exquisite style, SR’s words and elaborate details and descriptions take the reader on an amazing reading adventure.
There is humor and it serves as a fantastic way to contrast the Prince, an aged vampire and Raven, a modern day woman.
“Is it like a Jedi mind trick?” She waved her hand in the air. “Pay no attention to these familiar looking droids.”
The Prince wants to protect and care for Raven, his cassita. He wants to keep her safe and for her own safety, he wants her to leave Italy. Italy is Raven’s home, the place where she feels the happiest.
“I am the darkness made invisible.”
Raven is truly a character I admire. She is an incredibly smart and independent woman. Her goodness was another quality that made her shine throughout this story. Her sense of hope and compassion add to her qualities as a heroine.
Have I mentioned how much I love The Prince, William? He is handsome, sexy, protective, romantic and passionate. His words to Raven made me swoon. I wasn’t sure I would grow to love him, but as this story developed, so did my affection for this dynamic character.
“You don’t know the pleasure I’m capable of giving you. There are those who would beg to become my lover, just for one night.”
“You are my greatest virtue and my deepest vice.”
I thoroughly enjoyed watching him transform from a harsh dark character to a softer more human like being. Clearly, his time with Raven and her goodness assisted in his transformation.
“You are the only ray of hope I’ve seen since 1274. You’re the only one who has caused my heart to beat again.”
The secondary characters in this story come from all parts of Florence. There are more vampires from the underground as well as friends and colleagues of Raven who all play important parts in the development of this story. These secondary characters bring conflict into the picture. The Prince has his own underground issues to content with and keeping his position is one of them.
Thank you Sylvain for the message on beauty. William is a very wise vampire as well.
“Beauty is vain. It appears and, like the wind, it’s gone. Remember that.”
“You’ve ensnared me, Cassita,” he whispered. “I’ve never been less eager to escape.”
After reading this ARC, I treated myself to a virtual visit of The Uffizi gallery. www.uffizi.org. Your writing has inspired me to plan my next big vacation. Florence is definitely on my mind.
Sylvain Reynard mesmerizes readers with his exquisite writing. This book earns 5 stars from me and the highest recommendations. I am hoping the next book will be available soon so I can continue on this supernatural journey I have enjoyed so much. I am also looking forward to the release of The Raven in Spanish. My mother and I enjoy reading Sylvain’s books together.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
You can read my review of The Prince here. It is the prequel to The Raven.
About the Author
My newest book is “The Raven,” which released February 3rd. Its prequel, “The Prince,” was released January 20th.
I am honoured to have had my novels appear on the New York Times and USAToday Bestseller lists.
I was a Semifinalist for Best Author in the 2011 and 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards. “Gabriel’s Inferno” was a Semifinalist for Best Romance in 2011 and “Gabriel’s Rapture” was a Finalist for Best Romance in 2012, in the Goodreads Choice Awards, as well. The final novel in The Gabriel Series, “Gabriel’s Redemption,” debuted at #6 on the New York Times Bestseller list. It was a Finalist for a 2014 Goodreads Choice Award as Best Romance.
I’m interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition – particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. My favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey, either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself.
I’m also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, food, drink, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness.
I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House.
For more information, see my Twitter account or my website.
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