Review: The Raven (#1, The Florentine) by Sylvain Reynard - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: The Raven (#1, The Florentine) by Sylvain Reynard

My Thoughts

Sensual, seductive and smart
The Raven is elegantly written and vividly imagined
in Sylvain Reynard’s trademark storytelling style.

4halfstars

Synopsis

Feb-03

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…

Cassita vulneratus.

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…

My Review

“Centuries had passed before his eyes, yet he remained constant. Time was a luxury he owned in abundance, and he was never hasty in his pursuit of revenge.”

In his first foray into paranormal romance, Sylvain Reynard shines with an eloquently penned story, rich and vibrant, about two unlikely people coming together as danger lurks in the shadows of Florentine streets. It’s been some time since I’ve closed the pages of the Gabriel books and it was so enjoyable to immerse myself again in SR’s style of storytelling—a lush journey with notes of redemption, love, sacrifice and religion, enlivened by the beauty of art and history. The writing style is both sharp and lyrical, as the story’s pace gains gradual momentum. Our hero, or rather anti-hero, is a centuries-old vampire who rules Florence’s underworld. The Prince, as he is addressed, is a man who values discipline, detests indulgent carousal and buries secrets as a means to strengthen the power he wields over those of his kind. He is both feared and desired…

“He was magnificent. He was powerful. He was dangerous.”

Raven Wood is a women who is smart and kind-hearted. Her love of art has taken her to Florence, to work in a restoration lab at the Uffizi Gallery. One night, during her walk home, she beckons the worst kind of danger when she defends a homeless man, finding herself bloodied and beaten at the merciless hands of her attackers. Before she descends into blackness, at the edge of death, Raven is conscious enough to realize the worst is to come, but then suddenly, someone or something disrupts everything. Her attackers scream.

“I am the monster, hiding in the darkness.”

Raven awakens without memory of the prior week. Not only that, but she looks and feels different. So much so, that coming back to work, no one recognizes her. Worse yet, her disappearance coincides with a theft at the Uffizi, making her a prime suspect in the case.

What ensues is a suspenseful story of two worlds colliding, two very different people coming together. The Prince reluctantly helps Raven, but every time he sweeps in to rescue her, he pulls her deeper into a world she shouldn’t know about.

“William had brought color to her world, even if the colors were black and red.”

For a man whose power and longevity rely on secrets, Raven quickly becomes a vulnerability he cannot stand to have, especially as others vie to take him down.

Themes of revenge, redemption, romance and revolution rage together, as the reclusive and insensate Prince finds himself feeling something for the first time in centuries. The Prince must come to terms with the turmoil within himself and Raven must choose whether to make herself vulnerable for a man who may be incapable of loving. Also worth mentioning, I must say that I loved that Raven was relatable, and not this perfect, incredibly gorgeous skinny girl, but rather a girl who was striking, not only because of her external features, but also because of the beauty she carried inside. Well done, SR! We also see the Emersons again, as the mystery of the theft unfurls, and it was great to see two story lines merge with a unique twist. I would have loved to see some climactic action towards the end to buttress the emotional crest we see between our two protagonists. I think it would have been a nice punch of action to fuel the suspenseful part of the plot, but nonetheless, I look forward to seeing what happens next as Raven and the Prince face the consequences of their decisions.

“You are my greatest virtue and my deepest vice.”

addseriestogoodreads

Reading Order

the prince cover 

It is not necessary to read The Prince prior to reading The Raven,
although best enjoyed if read together.

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