Review: The Prince by Sylvain Reynard + Excerpt & Previews for "The Raven"

The Prince (The Florentine, #0.5) Publication Date: January 20, 2015
Book 0.5 of The Florentine Series


The unveiling of a set of priceless illustrations of Dante's Divine Comedy at the Uffizi Gallery exposes the unsuspecting Professor Gabriel Emerson and his beloved wife, Julianne, to a mysterious and dangerous enemy.

Unbeknownst to the Professor, the illustrations he secretly acquired years ago were stolen a century earlier from the ruler of Florence's underworld. Now one of the most dangerous beings in Italy is determined to reclaim his prized artwork and exact revenge on the Emersons, but not before he uncovers something disturbing about Julianne …

Set in the city of Florence, “The Prince” is a prequel novella to “The Raven,” which is the first book in the new Florentine Series Trilogy by Sylvain Reynard.

“The Prince” can be read as a standalone but readers of The Gabriel Series may be curious about the connection between The Professor's world and the dark, secret underworld of "The Prince."

My Review: ★★★★★ 5 stars

I normally don't rate novellas because the plots are usually too simple and too short for me to really sink into the story and come out satisfied emotionally and critically. I'm giving THE PRINCE an exception though.

As prequel novellas go, this one's very effective at drawing readers in--especially the fans of Gabriel's Inferno series. If the memo was out that these two series are connected, I definitely missed it (read the ARC before reading the synopsis..! I know, I know...). I was very surprised by the turn of events and the connection between the old and new characters.
A crowd of the city's human elite swirled around him... as the arrogant, insufferable Professor Gabriel Emerson filled the Renaissance structure with his insipidity.

The biggest question in my mind is, where on earth is Sylvain Reynard's headed with this??? I'm sure all other Emerson & Julianne fans will think the same thing. From the Prince's point of view, things are not looking so well for these two. Note the "mysterious and dangerous enemy" line from the synopsis. There's nothing else we can do though but wait impatiently for THE RAVEN!

Writing-wise, I thought everything flowed smoothly. The author was descriptive without being too verbose. I loved the bits with Emerson and Julia, though it's still a bit awkward for me when these two get very poetic (borderline cheesy) towards each other.

Sylvain Reynard's style of inserting names of famous Italian artists, locations and poets as casually as though all readers know who or what they are remains. It didn't bother me that much, but I guess this will either annoy or impress most readers. After all we all like to imagine the setting, and when you don't have a clear picture in your head, it's like the imagining characters acting against a green screen.

Like most books in the paranormal genre, he introduced many characters almost at once. Honestly, I glazed over them at first. I only remember new characters (those introduced in groups) once they've already done something significant, anyway. It's okay though because it becomes apparent pretty soon which characters to watch out for in the next books.

For those who don't like cliffhangers, I suggest you wait for THE RAVEN. For those who are already satisfied with Professor Emerson and Julia's story (I know some fans preferred that series ended in book 2), you might want to tread lightly with this. Readers who like to be teased and left hanging on a high note will be happy because THE PRINCE is brief but definitely an exciting read. It's not that there's a lot of action, but the premise it opens to will really leave you wanting to have book 1 in your hands, pronto!

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Excerpt from The Prince

In the distance, the Prince could hear voices and muffled sounds.
He approached silently, almost floating across the floor.
Desperate groans and the rustling of fabric filled his ears, along with the twin sounds of rapidly beating hearts. He could smell their scents, the aromas heightened due to their sexual arousal.
He growled in reaction.
The corridor was shrouded in darkness but the Prince could see that the professor had his wife up against a window between two statues, her legs wrapped around his waist.
Her voice was breathy as she spoke, but the Prince tuned out her words, moving closer so he could catch a glimpse of her lovely face.
At the sight of it, flushed with passion, his old heart quickened and he felt the stirrings of arousal.
It was not his custom to observe rather than participate. But on this occasion, he decided to make an exception. Careful to remain in the darkness, he moved to the wall opposite the couple.
The woman squirmed in her lover's arms, her high heels catching on his tuxedo jacket. Her fingers flew to his neck, undoing his bow tie and tossing it carelessly to the floor.
She unbuttoned his shirt, and her mouth moved to his chest, as murmurs of pleasure escaped his lips.
The Prince felt more than desire as he watched the woman's eager movements. He caught a glimpse of her exquisite mouth and the toss of her long hair that would no doubt feel like silk between his fingers.
She lifted her head to smile at the man who held her close and he could see love in her eyes.

Pre-Order Link:

Book 1: The Raven

About the Author

"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."

**My thanks to the publisher for granting me an ARC via NetGalley.



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