*****REVIEW***** THE RAVEN (The Florentine, #1) by Sylvain Reynard

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SYNOPSIS:

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 . . .

*****Patty’s Review*****

*****4.5 STARS*****

”For a long time, I thought love was not for me. Men who noticed me were few and far between. Almost all of them just became friends with me. You changed my mind. You changed my world. I started believing that maybe someone could love me and I could love him in return. I felt hope, William. You gave me that.”

WOW! Where do I begin??! I mean I have to say that I don’t know why I am surprised that I absolutely ended up loving this book! Maybe it’s because I was really not feeling the novella. I found it a little boring and it didn’t paint a favorable picture of the Prince aka William York. He was far from lovable in THE PRINCE and so I thought I wouldn’t end up loving him in The Raven. I was completely WRONG!!! I do believe it had to do with the fact that he meets the woman who is able to warm his cold heart after having been so devoid of human emotions for centuries.

To give a little backstory here, the Prince is a vampire, and he is the ruler of the vampire colony that resides in Florence, Italy. He is also a huge art collector and has many paintings by Michelangelo and Botticelli. Here’s where we get some of the boring aspects of the story but it’s also necessary in order to bring Raven into his world and as an added bonus, Gabriel and Julia Emerson!! Gabriel and Julia have loaned their Dante & Beatrice illustrations to the Uffizi Museum. The Prince is furious and plots to kill Gabriel because those illustrations were his property but were stolen many years ago. William spies on the Emersons and catches them during some very passionate moments. He finds himself envying the love that Gabriel and Julia have. But, he also is determined to take back what belongs to him and succeeds. This triggers an investigation by the Florence police department and FBI. Raven Wood is an American woman who happens to work at the Uffizi as an art restorer. She disappears the week the illustrations were stolen, and when she returns, she has no recollection of where she has been. She also has gone under a major physical transformation that she has no reasonable explanation for.

Raven badly injured her right leg when she was a young girl. She has a terrible limp, and needs a cane to help her walk. She is also a woman with curves and has never been considered attractive. One night after attending a party at a friend’s house, she decides to walk home and witnesses a homeless man being brutally beaten. She tries to come to his aide but little does she know that the attackers are not ordinary men. They are feral vampires who don’t follow any code and are ruthless. Raven gets herself into a very dangerous situation and lucky for her William happened to be in the area and comes to her rescue. He is able to take out the whole crew of feral vampires because he is basically one of the oldest living vampires in Florence and in their world, the older you are, the more powerful and strong you become. He nurses her back to health by using the blood from a couple of really old vampires that he had stored and gave her a blood transfusion. A week later she wakes up in her apartment, and miraculously her leg is perfectly normal, she’s lost a considerable amount of weight, and even looks beautiful. Unfortunately she will come to learn that all these side effects are temporary.

Raven’s new appearance freaks out all of her coworkers and friends but that’s the least of her worries. Now she is being investigated in the case of the missing Botticelli illustrations. She hears Gabriel Emerson mention the name William York as a possible suspect and tries to do her own detective work which ends up landing her in serious danger once again. Luckily, William has been keeping close tabs on her and is able to rescue her for the second time. He asks her to leave Florence but of course she ends up staying and quickly things start to heat up between the two.

I was completely swept away by the romance between William and Raven. One thing Sylvain Reynard is a master at, is writing of romantic love. The fact that William was enamored with Raven just for being beautiful on the inside, made me love him so much more. Every time Raven would put herself down, he was quick to point out all the beautiful things about her. I found his struggle to deal with his feelings for Raven to be very endearing, especially when I learned of the tragedy from his past. There’s quite a bit of action and intrigue thrown in as well. The steam factor is definitely intense as vampires have an insatiable appetite for sex! You’ll need a few cold showers after reading this one!

I highly recommend this one to any of you who loved theGabriel’s Inferno series. This story does not disappoint!!

 

 

*****Dee’s Review*****

FIVE STARS*****
(ARC provided by Publisher via Netgalley)

The Raven was a gorgeous story about a girl who looked weak on the outside, but possessed tremendous strength on the inside, and her prince. The man who through darkness brought her the freedom she always wanted.

 

Raven is used to being invisible. When she was young she had an accident that left her with a disability. She is comfortable behind her baggy clothes and her cane. She finds beauty inside the paintings she restores at the museum where she works, in Florence Italy.

Raven has a big heart and is always helping and defending the less fortunate. Helping a homeless man, one night she will find big trouble. Luckily for her the Prince of darkness will come to her rescue.

William York is the prince of Florence and all the vampires. He’s an old vampire and thus very powerful. He’s confused as to why he felt compelled to save the life of the woman with the bright green eyes, but he’s feeling even more troubled, because he can’t stop thinking about her.

William and Raven’s paths will inevitably cross again and both will be helpless to the feelings growing between them.

William wants to take Raven to bed, but she needs more convincing than an earth shattering kiss. Ever since Raven met William, her life hardly makes any sense. Even the history behind the paintings she has been studying for years, have a different meaning now. It’s hard for Raven to accept the attention and protection William offers, because ever since her father died, she’s been left to fend for herself. She carries dark secrets of her own, that only contribute to her skepticism when it comes to giving into the strong feelings she’s been having for William.

William is a dark and cold vampire who’s lived the same way for centuries. He always thought he was incapable of feeling mercy or love, little did he know that the wounded girl with a sassy mouth would come and change everything …

 

 

Reading this book was a magnificent experience. It was like every word in this story was dipped in the most luxurious chocolate. I devoured every chapter with ravenous desire. The beauty and depth of the characters utterly consumed me. I simply couldn’t have enough. I loved the paced in which the story developed and the romance was something I’ll never forget. William’s words to Raven were so rich and beautiful, that he made it impossible not to fall in love with him.

Those who are fans of professor Gabriel Emerson, will get a nice treat as he and his lovely family make an appearance in this book.

This author is very talented when it comes to writing about love and now he takes us on a riveting journey to the dark underworld of Florence, Italy. Vampire and human relationships will become blurry and the rules may have to be re-written…

Beautifully written novel.

My The Raven music playlist:
*Sound Of Your Heart by Shawn Hook
*Things by Maggie Lindeman
*The Moon Song by Karen O
*Wild Horses (Acoustic version) by The Rolling Stones

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