Review: The Raven by Sylvain Reynard

Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Book 1 of the Florentine Serie


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: ★★★★☆ 4.5 stars

I am usually not easily talked into reading paranormals in the last couple of years. I am an avid fan of JR Ward, and the Black Dagger Brotherhood is more than enough to satisfy me. In fact, with the bar set so high by that series, I am not so easily satisfied by paranormal romances anymore.

What made me like THE RAVEN though is it is not exclusively entrenched in the paranormal world. There are humans who are aware of vampires, and vampires interact with the humans with and without their knowledge. Having this kind of setting added a casual tone to a story that could have easily ventured into exclusively dark and serious territory. Not that the latter is a bad thing, but it could easily be boring after a while.

William, whom we got to know as the enigmatic, dangerous and powerful Prince in the prequel novella, is the leader of the Florentine underworld. He is ruthless, doles out death sentences in a blink, and is rather obsessed with meting out his personal brand of justice. I love most of all that he did not make a complete 180 and turned all soft when Raven entered the picture.

Raven is a described as a plump young woman with a disability. An accident when she was still a kid left her foot badly injured. Since then she has walked with a cane, and certainly could not run to save her life. She is very compassionate and kind though, and these are the very traits that endangered her life---in more ways than one.

William and Raven have different morals and views about people. William is without conscience and Raven is an extremely compassionate young woman. In spite of this, their hearts and minds meet and somehow, they make sense. For all their differences, they are also compatible because they understand each other almost more than they understand themselves. In true Reynard fashion, there is passion but the intimate scenes themselves are not overtly explicit (please note that my "not overtly explicit" may be explicit for other readers whose regular reading material are not the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey).

This is a really exciting, new paranormal romance. There’s no shortage of interesting second characters who are simply begging for their own books (Aoibhe! I would have said Ibarra as well, tsk..). Really subplots are left unanswered. It also ends in an exciting cliffhanger, but one that doesn’t make you tear out your hair in give-me-the-next-book type of frustration. I was just left thinking, what the hell was William thinking… what will Raven choose to do…? One thing’s for sure though: William definitely has a long way to go when it comes to understanding Raven and her inherent compassion. Lots of things to watch out for in book 2!

Buy Links

Book 0.5: The Prince
Buy Links ➜ Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
Read my Review ➜



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