Friday, January 26, 2018

The Raven by Sylvain Reynard

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 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 semiconscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attackers' 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. Upon returning to the Uffizi, no one recognizes her. More disturbingly, she discovers that she's been absent an entire week. With no recollection of her disappearance, Raven 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 police identify her as their prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence's wealthiest and most elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets...

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Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

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.

I am honoured to have had my novels appear on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists.

I was a Semifinalist for Best Author in the 2011 and 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards. Gabriel's Inferno was a Semifinalist for Best Romance in 2011 and Gabriel's Rapture was a Finalist for Best Romance in 2012, in the Goodreads Choice Awards, as well. The final novel in The Gabriel Series, Gabriel's Redemption, debuted at #6 on the New York Times Bestseller list. It was a Finalist for a 2014 Goodreads Choice Award as Best Romance.

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.

I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex's Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House.

Recently, Huffington Post Books ranked Gabriel's Inferno as the best teacher/student romance novel.

Connect with Sylvain

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Sarah reviewed her personal copy of The Raven (The Florentine #1) by Sylvain Reynard for this post.

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