Title: The Raven
Series: Florentine #1
Author: Sylvain Reynard
Release Date: 3rd February, 2015
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published by Penguin – Berkley Books
KFF’s 5 ★ Review by Sharon Thérèse Nuttall
For a reviewer, describing an author’s modus operandi used in a book overflowing with the unexpected, refreshing to the point in its perplexity only to be revealed with a style like no other, is a humbling experience. Therefore, my mild alternative to explain how I felt about this book was for me, a personal challenge. Sentences morph into prose, prose become poetry and I was ashamed to highlight and underline words and verses as I thought my vocabulary was up to par. Although this genre is not my preference, there is no doubt whatsoever that I was gripped from the first page. The lack of dialogue at the beginning of the read was not an issue either. The two protagonists voice their opinions in third person and more important, their doubts for the future is told in an unmeasurable timeline that makes for what I would consider, nothing less than a masterpiece. I have always valued a good book which offers creativity in a solid storyline and personality development. So while reading between the lines and trying to fathom out what could happen next to the major characters, not only resulted in me being left spellbound, but also left me in awe of the writer. When dialogue is introduced, putting this book down wasn’t an option. After mentioning the author’s style of writing to my sister-in arms, her reply didn’t surprise me. “He’s the best, no question!” How could I possibly argue with her!
I have always steered well clear of paranormal and much less anything to do with centuries old dark, blood fetish fiends. Neither have I watched films or series about them. After the author’s publisher kindly offered this book to me for reviewing, was when I realised that I had already one-clicked the book and the audible. There was a very good reason for doing this though. Gabriel’s Inferno series couldn’t have finished on a better note; why then, was I mildly surprised to meet up with the series’ characters who had had me so enthralled? Perhaps I should have realised that there would be a connection; however, as I went in blind and lost my mind in this one, I think I can be excused!
Italy. Florence to be exact. An enchanting city which I have visited, took on a new perspective. So much history abounding in artistic culture comes alive but in turn, becomes a battleground of sorts at the hands of two very special people. One is here; now, and staggered to see what upheaval she has unduly caused since her bountiful heart to help others has no limits of unselfishness. In spite of the fact that heroine is thrown into a complex scenario way out of her comfort zone and control, it was a joy to see her come to terms with her destiny. The other is fighting against complications reigning Florence’s intriguing underworld in all its incongruity. My sister-in-arms who has read this book and never let on the tiniest detail to me, laughed-out-aloud when I said to her that I had even been dreaming about the plot. Being introduced to the supernatural and used to reading a completely different kind of genre, was an overwhelming experience.
The Prince. I prefer to call him by his birth name, William York. Grandioso regardless of his lifeblood’s historical existence, wants vengeance. And his ire concerning the person whom has done the deadly deed is going to affect Raven’s stance. Nonetheless, this heartless soul (if he has one), actually starts to have feelings. Unfathomable for him, he gives his protection to Raven as the circumstances she’s in are to say the least, more surreal than reality and his doing at that. William is…indescribably threatening. I am still not sure whether I should have loved his persona for want of a better word, but I was literally taken with him. I adored how he gradually learns to trust the woman he is smitten with. When he reveals secrets weighing heavily upon him for the first time ever, I was daunted as this detail was so out of character.
I was captivated by Raven in an instant. A lover of fine arts, this young woman is extremely knowledgeable in her field of work. Her handicap is entwined with her own secrets, a past which shocks William. Her courage is her virtue; her heart is made of gold, her sexuality flowers and is second to none. What made her beautiful to my eyes was that she was ignorant to these facts. She is simply how she is and I couldn’t help but respect her for her traits.
If you are partial to twists and turns and the ins and outs in an ambience seeping with grandeur such as is Florence, this read is for you. Comparable with the best Renaissance Italian concertos, this read was music to my ears. The home of Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venice at the Uffizi gallery, the squares, streets and embolic architecture in a city bursting at the seams with cultural richness is vividly described. I could go on and on; I won’t! More often than not, cliff-hangers usually irritate me; therefore this is one of the few times that I was happy to have read this book just before the follow-up is to be published. I have great expectations for The Shadow. You, Sr. Reynard, I have on a literary pedestal. Bravo!
I had to make a really difficult decision as to whether or not add quotes this review, many of which left me breathless. However, wallowing in my quandary, common sense ruled. I want you to enjoy this book and make your own opinion. To say happy reading seems to me to be so underrated. It is not!
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, 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. For more information, see my Charities page.