Author: Sylvain Reynard

Book: The Raven (Florentine Series)

Other books in series:

The Prince (A Gabriel’s Inferno/Florentine Series Novella)
The Shadow (Florentine Series)

tl;dr recommendation: The Raven soars with passion and promise. 4.25 stars!

Book Summary:

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…

Longer Review:

This book is beautifully written. In true Reynard style this book edges on the realm of literary romance just as it pushes you into the realm of paranormal romance. The prose swept me off my feet and captivated me.

If you’re seeking something light and airy and lots of crotch pounding, then you’re going to be disappointed. This book is heavy on plot and the banging doesn’t commence until the end. Basically, it’s a similar set up as Gabriel’s Inferno: a gorgeous love story built on a foundation of trust and hope.

William is a complex character who struggles with the emotions he isn’t sure he’s supposed to be feeling while Raven’s own stubbornness often can’t save her from herself. They each frustrated me in their own way, but I completely loved them together.

For some reason William is pulled to Raven – he can’t understand it and while he tries to deny it, he has never felt for another the way that he does toward Raven (at least not in his vampyric existence). Raven has her own personal hang ups about her physical appearance and she suffered a traumatic event as a child that has internally scarred her as well. My favorites parts of this story were when each of them accepted the other – not as broken people, but as perfectly formed just for the other.

I may have pictured William as Carlisle from Twilight. I KNOW. I KNOW. This isn’t that – just because there’s blood sucking. I get that. I do. But his physical description just had me picturing Carlisle. I wasn’t complaining – he was hot.

Of course, Raven’s being with William is dangerous for a variety of reasons, the least of which being that William is a vampyre. There are power games at play and human hunters to escape. The push – the pull – the danger and the delight all had me grasping for every morsel of detail I could.

And this book is complex and robust with detail. I was floored with each page and internally fist pumped as the book ended. There’s definitely more to the story, but we’re not left on a cliffhanger – thank fuck for that.

The Raven soars with passion and promise. I’m ready to let The Shadow fall over me! 4.25 stars!

[I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review]