Good afternoon! Today, I’m going to discuss Sylvain Reynard’s newest Florentine series. Last week, I posted my review of all three novels in the Gabriel trilogy. They’re important because the latest tales re-visit some of our favorite characters, but also take a turn for something a bit more sinister. Before tackling these, make sure you have read the original series. You’ll appreciate the story of William and Raven even more.
Before diving into The Raven, which will be the first of another set of three books, Mr. Reynard gives us a teaser with his novella (available in ebook format), The Prince. Another side of Florence is revealed in The Prince. An installment full of darkness and mystery, this read does not disappoint! I loved the underground society of Italy while also getting new glimpses of two of my favorite characters, Gabriel and Julianne. Needless to say, this peek into the shadows wandering the streets builds incredible anticipation for The Raven, even if it made me nervous for the fates of all the players involved! My Final Rating: four out of five stars
As the setting unfolds in The Raven, we find the Emersons back in their favorite city, and dark figures are spying from the rooftops. Gabriel’s precious collection of Botticelli illustrations have gone missing from the Ufizzi gallery, and the professor is in a panic. Unbeknownst to his whole family, they’re being hunted by the original owner of the renowned pieces. Their lives are in danger, and you have to wonder if they will be saved.
We’re also introduced to Raven, a girl I could relate to.. almost too much. She restores art at the Uffizi, and finds happiness in her simple life in Florence. However, there is a sense of loneliness, solitude, and invisibility when she is among the gorgeous and elite on the streets. Much the same as Julia, she preaches and practices kindness. Raven has been through her own personal Hell growing up, but it hasn’t ruined her. She finds a voice for the homeless, the innocent, and those in need of mercy. This speaks volumes when she crosses paths unexpectedly with William York.
Personally, I’m not one for vampire novels, or books dealing with supernatural beings in general, but Sylvain’s approach made it a different experience for me. I love everything he writes, so I gave it a go regardless of the content, because I knew he’d make it wonderful.
William is an “old one”, and with his age, comes a more than a chunk of history. This is what I love most about Mr. Reynard’s novels.. the time he takes to research and swirl culture into the text. This attention to detail makes it so much more than a mysterious romance. It takes you away to the streets of Italy without having to leave your own bed.
When Raven finds herself mere minutes from death, William steps in and saves her life. It’s strange enough to find a vampire who rescues a human, but to have him offer his protection to her afterwards in order to keep her from future danger, just puts him at the top of the “swoon” chart. Their interactions, and her connection to the Emersons, eventually lead to something more. Raven finds she’s nothing extraordinary, but she doesn’t realize that she made William capable of love. For a man who has been around for centuries, has seen more than his fair share, and doesn’t have human feelings, this girl is a game-changer. I can’t wait to see what happens next with these two running Florence’s underground.
As usual, Sylvain takes a love story, and turns it into pure magic. His words are lyrical and read like a gorgeous poem. By incorporating the details of fine Italian art, language, music, architecture, history, culture, etc, he elevates the initial story to another world. His ability to immerse you completely is a talent I wish I could possess. Until next time!