Sunday, March 15, 2015

Book Review: THE RAVEN by Sylvain Reynard

Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 3 February 2015

SYNOPSIS

Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery restoring fine works of 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 semi-conscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attacker’s 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. She returns to the Uffizi, but no one recognizes her and more disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of the events leading up to her disappearance, Raven also 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 baffled police force identifies her as its prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth about her disappearance. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets…



REVIEW

5+ POWERFUL & FASCINATING STARS! 

This book was INCREDIBLE!! So incredible that it blew me away like I never thought possible. That's because this is a paranormal romance and I don't usually read in this genre so for me to love this book so much, it felt like I'd been enlightened by a totally new kind of romance-world. A world that in this book is beautifully detailed and filled with symbolism, strength, darkness, seduction, but ultimately filled with bravery and hope. I just loved every second of this powerful and fascinating romance and how it took me places and made me feel the story so strongly.

Cassita vulneratus. Now the wounded lark had been healed and he was the vulnerable one.

This book is set in the city of Florence, Italy, a beautiful city that is well known for its remarkable structures and rich art history which are all so well illustrated in the story. So much so that from the moment I started reading I felt immediately transported there and I was able to admire up-close both the city's lights and dangerous darkness. The darkness comes from an underworld that lives secretly in the city, a world of supernatural beings (vampires) that feed from humans to survive and from which their ruler is called the Prince. I first met this enigmatic character in the prequel of this novel (named after him) and I got totally obsessed with him. His strength, his ruthlessness, his ruling power, and all the mystery behind his story really left me fascinated. Now having read The Raven and learned about his true story, it makes me love his character so much more because now I can confirm what I felt all along since I read The Prince, that the hero of this story and the vampire ruler of Florence indeed has a heart.

“A bird in a cage is never as beautiful as a bird that is free, Cassita. You’ve been wounded enough. I won’t add to your wounds.”

This story stars with an attack that crosses the paths of Raven Wood and the Prince changing their lives forever. For Raven, the aftermath of that incident brings her into a dark, frightening, and very dangerous world she never thought existed. It is that world and her connection to the Prince that continues to put her in a great deal of danger but just like the first time, the Prince decides to protect her despite all the threats that may come to him for doing so. Why do it then? Well, there's something about Raven he can't stay away from, something pure and beautiful that starts to awake feelings in him he had long forgotten and that's how their risky yet captivating romance begins. . .

My good deed will be exposed, along with my weakness.”  
“What weakness?” Raven whispered, unable to look away.  
“You.”

I LOVED the Prince in this book. His character would not stop fascinating me more and more as I kept reading. Perhaps it was because he's supposed to be bad, evil, the complete anti-hero and at times he was exactly that, but deep inside there was so much more to him than just a ruthless vampire. He's powerful, cultivated, intelligent, handsome, and still preserves some level of benevolence in him. Moreover, he carries painful secrets that only start to surface when Raven's kind heart magically touches his forcing him to then figure out if what he feels for her is simply desire or something more that may be worth risking everything. 

What do you hope for?”  
He frowned. “That I wouldn’t be condemned to an eternity of empty darkness.”  
Raven cringed at his words. “Is that what you have?”  
“Not exactly.” His expression grew guarded. “Somehow the darkness recedes when you’re near.”

As strong as the hero of this story is, as strong is the amazing heroine as well. Yes, Raven was indeed remarkable, she not only changes the Prince's life by bringing hope into this world but it is the way she does it with her bravery and good-hearted personality that makes her character so compelling to me. I just loved her with the Prince, aside from the seduction dance they had going, she was always sweet, curious, vulnerable, and even stubborn with him that it was clear she was going to challenge him in every way when it came to feelings. Additionally, she is one of the most selfless characters I've read about and for that she was more than perfect for the Prince.

“She’d entered his life like a Trojan horse and brought mercy with her. ”

This book for sure is one of my favorites now for its incredible plot but also for the beautiful and unique way the story is told. Sylvain Reynard's writing is just so elegant, smart, poetic, and lyrical that with every book I read by him I'm always amazed by how deeply he draws me into the story. Actually, I'm even more amazed by his writing now because one: it made me decide to read this romance from this genre I wasn't familiar with, and two: it was successful at making me fall in love with this paranormal story just as much (or even more than) as my other favorite contemporary romances. So for that and so much more The Raven is an absolute MUST-READ from me and I cannot wait for the sequel which I can already feel is going to be just as amazing as this one. ♥

He pressed his lips to hers. “You’ve ensnared me, Cassita,” he whispered. “I’ve never been less eager to escape.”

If you enjoy paranormal romances I totally encourage you to give this story a try, it's so well written. Or if you're new to this genre like me, I'd say go for it. I loved this story so much that I think many contemporary romance readers will be able to enjoy it too. Also, I mentioned before this novel has a prequel but you don't really have to read it to understand the story in The Raven. The Prince is just a nice introduction to our hero and his world so I'd say is totally optional but really worth considering. Furthermore, if you're new to this author I cannot recommend enough his contemporary romance series the Gabriel's Inferno, that story is also too incredible to be missed. ;)

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CAST/TEASER

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Connect with Sylvain Reynard on:

THE FLORENTINE SERIES
#0.5 - The PrinceAmazon US * Amazon UK * My Review
#1 - The RavenAmazon US * Amazon UK
#2 - The ShadowAmazon US * Amazon UK
  

GABRIEL'S INFERNO TRILOGY
#1 - Gabriel's InfernoAmazon US * Amazon UK * My Review
#2 - Gabriel's RaptureAmazon US * Amazon UK * My Review
#3 - Gabriel's RedemptionAmazon US * Amazon UK * My Review
  

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