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The Raven (Florentine series Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 434 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Book 1 of 3 in Florentine|
|Grade Level: 12 and up|
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Praise for the Gabriel Trilogy
“I found myself enraptured by Sylvain Reynard’s flawless writing.”—The Autumn Review
“Emotionally intense and lyrical.”—Totally Booked Blog
From the Author
- File size : 2050 KB
- Publication date : February 3, 2015
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 434 pages
- Publisher : Berkley (February 3, 2015)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00KWG9JL8
- Lending : Not Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #150,290 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This story is both a departure and a link to Reynard's first series which follows the romance of Gabriel and Julianna. That series was a straight up romance. This is part supernatural, part investigative/mystery, part action/drama with some romance thrown in. The Raven is the first book in the Florentine series. The beginning of The Raven starts 2 years after the end of the Gabriel Series. This creates a plot hole that I find problematic but it's not obvious if you have not read The Prince, novella which acts as a bridge between the two series.
The story is very slow in the beginning. At one point I became so bored I put the book away and considered not finishing it. Even Reynard's exceptional writing couldn't hold my attention. The book focuses mainly on a character referred to only as The Prince, the leader of a group of vampires in Florence. The beginning of the book is mostly devoted to explaining the governmental structure of the vampire world and several story arcs. The two main characters don't really meet each other until about the halfway point, which sets off an awkward love/hate relationship between them. They meet prior to that but the POV shift between the chapters results in time gaps for the reader which makes it harder to follow some of the storylines.
I love the way the vampires are done in this book. Reynard retains much of the traditional lore with a few twists which can be explained as the vampires encouraging an over exaggeration of their abilities in order to scare the humans into not seeking them out. Considering that this came out around the same time or shortly after a series well known for it's "sparkling vampires" I was glad to see that Reynard did not follow that path. The Prince's age grants him more abilities than some of the others as he has had more exposure to the items and has built up a resistance which keeps the vampire race from being one dimensional. The Prince's character ranges from focused violence to awkwardly blunt due to inexperience, or maybe his lack of a need to be gentle, to tender and touching. Despite the extensive range, each element reads as believable.
If you are wondering where the detailed description of the Raven is in this review, then please note that she is mentioned about as much in this review as she is in the book. The main story arc of this book is not the romance between The Prince and Raven. That doesn't start until the second half of the book as a secondary story arc. There are some very touching and well written sexual encounters between the two, but as a character, she's only there to help the main plot which involves several groups trying to unseat the Prince from his throne while he seeks vengeance for a crime that happened centuries earlier. We only see things from her POV when there isn't anything of interest going on in the Prince's main story arc, or if it's needed for the advancement of the main story arc.
What I didn't care for was the extensive governmental system which took half of the book to explain. I know that part of this is because I thought I was reading a romance, not a government based thriller. There is also an unrealistic back and forth as the Prince both saves Raven and condemns her. For someone who has survived thousands of years and keeps his secrets close he really screws up over and over with Raven by continually putting her, and himself, in danger from not only other vampires but also from the human police and a potentially giving her a mental disorder.
The tediously slow start and the fact that the story, despite being titled Raven, is actually about the Prince I might have been able to forgive except for one major issue. The story doesn't end. It literally stops in the middle and requires the purchase of the second book to not only finish the main story arc but the secondary storylines as well. Having read the blurbs for the second and third books in this series, it's quite likely that the second book also does not resolve the story and instead requires the purchase of the third book as well.
I won't be purchasing the next two books in the series because I have major issues with series that forces readers to buy multiple books in order to finish one story arc let alone 2 or 3.
Reynard’s centuries-old Machiavellian Prince of Florence finds himself drawn to an innocent, raven-haired beauty whose life he saves when she’s viciously assaulted for intervening in the senseless beating of a homeless man. He craves her intelligence, her protectiveness, and he wants her as a companion, a lover. Someone he can talk about art and beauty with. But can he risk leading her into his dark underworld where vampires have thrived for centuries and whose inhabitants will kill to keep their secrets?
Once again, Reynard uses his knowledge of Renaissance art, history and architecture, as well as his love of Italy, to create a well-written, passionate story full of supernatural beings in THE RAVEN . He has said he was inspired by the poet Apuleius’s account of the love affair between Cupid and Psyche while writing the series—a poem that is not very well known, but that he makes several references to throughout the book.
The Prince—aka William York…aka William Malet—was the eldest son of a noble Norman family during the thirteenth century and a novice in the Dominican order when he was transformed into a vampire. And he’s been in possession of the principality of Florence since the fourteenth century. Part of the story focuses on William’s stolen Botticelli illustrations and his desire to exact revenge upon Professor Gabriel Emerson who purchased the illustrations from a prominent Swiss family in a private sale, while the majority revolves around his desire for Raven Wood—a disabled American art restorer working at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. But the story isn’t completely about renaissance art, revenge and an unconventional love affair. Human hunters are stalking and killing older vampires in Florence and draining them of their valuable blood, while war brews within the principality to unseat William from his throne.
Top reviews from other countries
I love the sense of place and the sense of history in Sylvain Reynard’s writing and the way he captures Florence in this story is magnificent. Even as the centuries and characters blur, the city and its art remain fixed and somehow separate from time.
There are many familiar vampire tropes in this story. The urban fantasy element of the series isn’t its strength. Very little of the worldbuilding is original and women are often reduced to tired virgin/whore/crone stereotypes.
It took me a while to like Raven. For someone with a PhD tasked with restoring some of the world’s most precious art, her self confidence is awful and her view of herself and her disability feels unnecessarily reductionist. I enjoyed her interactions with William and I liked the way she became more confident as the story progressed. She’s possibly too much of a vulnerable victim for me at times but I’ll withhold judgement until I finish the series.
William is a character full of contrasts. I enjoyed the conflicting elements of good and evil in the Florentine prince. He’s an intense character and I’m still not certain I understand his motivations. He is a more interesting character than Raven but I’d like to see some power rebalance in the next books so they feel more like a matched pair than hunter and prey.
I loved the city and the art in this story. I love the author’s writing style. I’m not certain about the vampire lore or the relationship between Raven and William but I’m engaged enough that I want to immediately download the next book in this series.
So it’s all credit to Mr Reynard’s unique use of prose that I completed The Raven.
I’m not going to give any spoilers.
The novel is set in Florence and the Uffizi Gallery where the Emerson’s Botticelli illustrations are on display. These illustration are stolen.
Raven becomes a suspect when she disappears for a week recovering from a brutal attack. She was close to death when The Prince found her.
The Prince is the head of the supernatural underground world of Florence where vampire’s only use humans not save them.
The Prince finds himself attracted to Raven.
Plot/Story: Romance intertwined into the bloody world of vampire’s as well as mystery and intrigue. 3 Stars
Characters: Strong, interesting courageous.
Raven is independent with a caring side to her nature that wants to save the world
whereas the Prince has superior supernatural powers and intelligence within his vampire world.
However he believes in violence and death. 4 Stars
Writing style: Easy to read and follow. Mr Reynard’s captivating use of prose seduces the reader into the
story. 4 Stars
Finally this is a story of a supernatural world intertwined with romance set in Florence with references to the Italian Renaissance.
The author has considerable knowledge of the art works of Botticelli, Primavera, Birth of Venus. Descriptions of these painters and modern explanations are entwined along with the story of Cupid and Psyche.
In a nut shell this story will appeal to many readers, those who like the Italian Renaissance, those who like romance and finally those who like vampire’s.
Mr Reynard’s creative eloquent writing is not to be missed.
I wanted to award 3.5 stars because of the supernatural element.
but I aways hope they get killed anyway. Gutted second book is so dear to buy for the kindle. So for that reason I wont find out the next step in the story.
If books were more equally priced then is buy the full set but sadly not. Im not paying 10 plus for a book.