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The Raven (Florentine series Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 434 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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With each book of Sylvain Reynard's you fall more in love with his writing style and the stories he imparts within the pages of the book. Here we have a wonderful gothic dark feel throughout the book while we get treated to a new style from him. Reynard goes into the supernatural but not where it overwhelms the senses but becomes a part of the plot and storyline. Reynard captures you from page one and keeps you captivated to the very end and leaves you wanting more. If you look at it from his characters point of view the supernatural characteristic is a disability for it takes away human feelings and explorations of the mind and heart. So we get a new twist to the supernatural and also a world of secrets, politics, betrayal and deception. Each page brings more mystery to the world Raven is in and is starting to become more and more a part of. We see the Prince struggle within himself over his feelings, feelings he thought he was not capable of having. We see him struggle with memories and desires. The prince has a protective side for Raven and loves her dearly even when he is denying it that love is seen within the actions he takes to keep Raven safe. He shows her trust by sharing some of himself with her and bringing her to his sanctuary.
There is political bickering and betrayal going on as well. Here the Prince is in danger and to hide this all of his brethren are put into danger as well. He doesn't know who is his ally or enemy and must be careful not to expose himself and his feelings for Raven to others.
Raven goes through transformations as well as she accepts the world the Prince lives in and begins to see him for him. She pushes away at times from him out of fear and has a hard time accepting what he says when it comes to how he sees her. She struggles with who he is and even her feelings towards him. Watching them dance around each other while trying to resist each other and how they feel is a terrific element to the story. Especially since it is Raven that helps to bring a more compassionate side of the Prince out to us.
Each chapter brings us a new mystery and suspense. We see the investigation of the Uffizi theft, the ferals exposure, the hunters coming in, Raven struggling to figure out who she really is and what she feels, the Prince struggle with his sense of justice and his feelings, the betrayal happening to the Prince and the closeness of Raven and the Prince. Within each written word there is feeling and emotion that is brought forth. The plots are several but all intertwine to give you a tale of intrigue and romance with a dark feel for you know throughout there is a ominous tone set. You are left wondering when things will happen and all heck will be let loose.
The writing will take your breath away with its dark undertones and double meanings entwined in each plot that comes forth. The interactions between Raven and the Prince are incredible and jump off the page. You feel the crackle of attraction and the growth of affection and love between them. Each fear that they both feel is palpable and all the emotions and thoughts come alive within the written word. A tale of suspense and love in which you are ensnared by the kindness seen in the Prince and his struggles within his brethren and himself and Raven and her trying to find herself and what she is really feeling. A amazingly ominously gothic tale that will take your breath away with the emotion, intrigue, danger and mystery surrounding each character and plot that plays out. I cannot wait for the next in this series so we can continue to see the beauty that Raven and the Prince's love is and the transformation of Raven and the Prince as they grow more and more close and also to see the suspense of the betrayal happening around the Prince play out
I’m always fascinated by an author’s decisions on how they decide to handle long-established paranormal themes to make it their own. Some don’t stray too far from the traditional, while others go way outside the box. I am always delighted when an author brings something unique to the literary table, regardless of genre, and I truly enjoyed the decisions Sylvain Reynard made in writing The Raven. It makes for a wonderful blend of both old and new in the vampyre realm.
We learn quite a lot about Raven Woods in the opening scenes that I found intriguing. Namely, she is not your typical heroine who is either stunningly or innocently beautiful with a to die for body. No, she is plain, overweight, and walks with a pronounced and pained limp. She’s also full of compassion, and it is her inability to look the other way when someone is in trouble that nearly gets her killed, and brings her to the attention of The Prince.
If ever there was an enigmatic character it is surely The Prince himself. He’s not especially likeable for most of the book, yet I was drawn to him, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I’m attracted to the mystery of him. He comes from a dark underworld where power is everything, where desires are immediately gratified and sated, where lies and betrayal earn swift and merciless retribution. Yet, he chooses to save the life of Raven Woods. In so doing he exposes himself and his many secrets to danger. Repeatedly. Clearly, there is much more to this character than one might think in the beginning. During the course of the story I alternate between thinking him wonderful and then thinking he’s awful, sometimes with just a turn of the page. And, if you’ve been wondering as I did if he’ll ever be gifted with a name? Yes, yes he is. I’m going to let you discover that on your own however.
There are many things that I enjoyed about this story, but one I particularly want to mention centers around the physical transformation that Raven underwent when her life was saved. It isn’t a permanent alteration, but it is quite profound, and carries with it consequences that are both good and bad. As her body reverts to what it was she’s given the choice to experience the transformation again. She chooses not to do so, and in a world where beauty and body perfection is so highly prized I found that quite remarkable and inspiring. One of my most favorite quotes from the book comes in regard to beauty and is spoken by The Prince to Raven.
“Beauty is vain. It appears and, like the wind, it’s gone. Remember that.”
Something that nagged at me throughout the story concerns The Prince and his apparent lack of empathy. Because without empathy can any being truly and fully love another? I would say no. But the real question for me as I read was this…is this most basic and vital trait really missing, or has it just been repressed and long-buried out of necessity to both survive and maintain his power and position?
Gabriel and Julia are featured as well. I really won’t say much as I want you to be able to fully enjoy the part they play, but I am still plagued with concern for both of them, although for entirely different reasons. Their inclusion is important, but it still feels like such a gift to be able to read about them again.
This is a must read whether you’re a longtime fan of SR’s or have never read a word he’s written. The writing as always deserves special mention for its style and beauty. The storytelling is crisp and thrilling, humorous, and descriptive. One other thing that I feel the need to mention is that SR has really turned up the sexual heat in this novel. I always considered the Gabriel’s Inferno series to be more sensual than erotic, but I’m fully comfortable in using that definition for this one. I can’t wait for book two to see what happens next, because if I’m sure of one thing… SR has way more surprises in store for us!!!
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