Release Day Review: The Raven by Sylvain Reynard

The Raven by Sylvain Reynard

The Raven by Sylvain Reynard
Series: The Florentine #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 3rd 2015
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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 . . .

“I am the darkness made visible.”

The Raven is the first full-length novel in Sylvain Reynard’s The Florence series, and it’s a book full of mystery and intrigue. I was a fan of SR’s Gabriel series and was highly anticipating this paranormal spinoff series. Although I didn’t connect with the main characters as much as I wanted, the writing had me hooked and the supernatural aspect of the story had me fully intrigued. Fans of the Gabriel series should definitely give The Florence series a try – SR gives a unique take on vampires that was highly enjoyable!

The Raven takes place two years after The Prince (which I highly recommend reading before going into The Raven). The Prince of Florence, who also goes by the name William York, has taken back his stolen art from the Uffizi, though he’s still planning on killing the Emersons. But one night, he encounters a woman on the brink of death, and instead of ignoring her, which would be the norm for him, he saves her life.

Raven Wood wakes up with no recollection of the past week, and when she returns to work at the Uffizi, she finds out that artwork has been stolen during the week she blacked out and she’s a prime suspect. While trying to clear her name, she comes across the name William York, but when she tries to find out who he is, Raven unknowingly puts herself deeper into the underworld of Florence and into danger.

William can’t get the woman he saved out of his mind, and even though he tries to stay away, he can’t. He continues to be Raven’s protector but keeps to the shadows until Raven falls into too much trouble and William has to come forward and save her life once again. As they spend more time together, Raven and William can’t help but feel drawn to one another.

I really enjoyed Raven’s character, even though I didn’t connect with her much. She’s the type of woman who doesn’t fit in with society’s views of beauty and she is typically ignored by men. Even though this could have made her a bitter woman, she’s strong and compassionate with a heart of gold. She’s unknowingly thrust into the supernatural world, but she faces it head on. William, on the other hand, took me a while to warm up to. He’s one of the most powerful vampires and he’s lived for a long time, so he’s done and seen things that have made him jaded. But bit by bit, as he grows to care for Raven, we uncover a passionate man who has more than a little humanity left in him. I was a much bigger fan of William towards the end of the novel.

I highly enjoyed the romance in The Raven. It was a slow burn kind of romance with tensions running high between William and Raven. And I loved that by being with each other, they open their eyes to the person they are underneath – William discovers that maybe he’s not the monster he makes himself out to be, and Raven realizes that beauty is so much more than just the surface of a person.

“You are the only ray of hope I’ve seen since 1274. You’re the only one who has caused my heart to beat again.”

SR flawlessly entwines Raven and William’s sensual but sweet romance with the gorgeous setting of Florence and the fascinating supernatural underworld. The Raven was an entirely satisfying read even though I wasn’t too keen on the characters, and that was mainly due to the writing. I found myself drawn into the dark underworld of Florence and couldn’t stop reading this book! If you’re a fan of SR’s writing, then I highly recommend reading this fascinating, romantic new series.

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: The Florentine series

The Prince by Sylvain Reynard The Raven by Sylvain Reynard The Shadow by Sylvain Reynard

#0.5 ~ The Prince: My Review • EbookGoodreads
#1 ~ The Raven: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Shadow: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads


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Cover Reveal: The Raven by Sylvain Reynard

The Raven by Sylvain Reynard

The Raven by Sylvain Reynard
Release Date: Early 2015
Add to Goodreads

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 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…

Wooohooo!!! I’m so freaking excited for this book to release! I’m a huge fan of SR’s, and I know THE RAVEN won’t disappoint. And plus, that blurb has me so intrigued!!

about the author

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 Twitter account.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

Book News, Weekly Recap & Upcoming Releases! {15}

Cover Reveals!!

Untie Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unite Me (Shatter Me #1.5; #2.5) by Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: February 4th 2014

Perfect for fans of Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Metrilogy, this book collects her two companion novellas, Fracture Me andDestroy Me, in print for the first time ever. It also features an exclusive look into Juliette’s journal and a preview of Ignite Me, the hotly anticipated final novel of the series.

Destroy Me tells the events between Shatter Me and Unravel Me from Warner’s point of view. Even though Juliette shot him in order to escape, Warner can’t stop thinking about her—and he’ll do anything to get her back. But when the Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment arrives, he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner cannot allow.

Fracture Me is told from Adam’s perspective and bridges the gap betweenUnravel Me and Ignite Me. As the Omega Point rebels prepare to fight the Sector 45 soldiers, Adam’s more focused on the safety of Juliette, Kenji, and his brother. The Reestablishment will do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam cares about.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent and The Hunger Games. This captivating story, which combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, was praised as “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love” by Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Unbroken by Jessica Sorensen

Unbroken (Shattered Promises #2.5) by Jessica Sorensen
Release Date: December 2013

Alex thought things were already complicated, but then Gemma shows up possessed by Stephan and she wants to kill him. Normally, he would eliminate someone in Gemma’s position to protect himself, but his feelings for Gemma won’t allow him to do that. She’s too important to him and he knows he has to save her without hurting her.

But can he find a way to save her before someone gets hurt?

Broken Dove by Kristen Ashley

Broken Dove (Fantasyland #4) by Kristen Ashley
Release Date: December 30th 2013

Far too young, Apollo Ulfr lost Ilsa, his wife, the love of is life and the mother of his two children. The grief of her loss does not settle in his soul, it solders to it. But when he discovers there is a parallel universe where his wife may have a twin, he feels there’s hope and sets about bringing her to his world so he can have her back.

But Ilsa Ulfr of our world is married to the parellel universe’s twin, Pol, who is not a good man. Not in any way. She’s on the run from him and the last thing she wants is to be transported to a fantastical world and be forced to take his side as his wife, even if he is not Pol. And Apollo finds the broken, bitter Ilsa nothing like his beloved and he further wants nothing to do with her.

But darkness is looming and evil is amassing. Apollo must protect his land and keep his family safe, including the new Ilsa.

Snippets!!

★ A Thanksgiving snippet from Cassandra Clare’s tumblr for City of Heavenly Fire!

“Did Brother Zachariah just steal our cat?”

★ The prologue of Rush Too Far by Abbi Glines is here! Rush Too Far releases May 2014.

They say that children have the purest hearts. That children don’t truly hate because they don’t fully understand the emotion. They forgive and forget easily.

They say a lot of bullshit like that because it helps them sleep at night. Such sayings make for good, heart-warming clichés to hang on the walls, to bring out a smile in people passing by.

​I know differently. Children love like no other. They have the capacity to love more fiercely than anyone else. That much is true. That much I know. Because I lived it. By the age of ten I knew hate and I knew love. Both all-consuming. Both life-altering. And both completely blinding.

​Looking back now I wish someone had been there to see how my mother had sown the seed of hate inside of me. Inside of my sister. If someone had been there to save us from the lies and bitterness she allowed to fester within us, then maybe things would have been different. For everyone involved.

​I never would have acted so foolishly. It wouldn’t have been my fault that a girl was left alone to take care of her ailing mother. It wouldn’t have been my fault that the same girl stood at her mother’s graveside, believing that the last person on earth who loved her was dead. It wouldn’t have been my fault that a man destroyed himself after his life became a broken, hollow shell.

​But no one saved me.

​No one saved us.

​We believed the lies. We held onto our hate, and I alone destroyed an innocent girl’s life.

​They say you reap what you sow. That’s bullshit, too. Because I should be burning in hell for my sins. I shouldn’t be allowed to wake up every morning with this beautiful woman in my arms, who loves me unconditionally. I shouldn’t get to hold my son and know such a pure joy.

​But I do.

​Because, eventually, someone did save me. I didn’t deserve it. Hell, more than anyone it was my sister who needed saving. She hadn’t acted on her hate. She hadn’t manipulated the lives of our family members, not caring about the outcome. But her bitterness still controlled her while I had been delivered. By a girl…

No, she wasn’t just a girl. She was an angel. My angel. A beautiful, strong, fierce, loyal angel who had entered my life in a pick-up truck, carrying a gun.

★ It’s an excerpt from Burned (Dani O’Malley #2; Fever #7) by Karen Marie Moning!

 The king stirred from his reverie and stared down at the unconscious female in his wings.

Half a million years since he’d last seen her. Held her. Touched her.

It was no illusion. She was here. She was real.

She felt as small and gossamer fragile as the new worlds he spun.

He inhaled. She smelled the same as she had on the day he’d met her, of sunshine on bare skin, moonlight on silver oceans and enormous, sky-no-limit dreams. He closed his eyes and opened them.

She was still there.

After an eternity of grief and regret, he held the only thing he’d ever wanted more than he wanted to be God.

A second chance.

He’d imagined this, dreamed it, hungered for it beyond reason.

They are replaceable, one and all, insisted the Fear Dorcha, his dark traveling companion through insanity. You will forget her.

But he never had.

Grief will pass, lisped the Crimson Hag, one of his more exquisitely terrible creations.

But it never did.

He, who had once been whole was halved without hope of ever being complete again. And when you’ve known that kind of love, to exist without it is to live a half-life where nothing else ever feels real.

He’d fabricated their reunion in countless illusions, slipping in and out of madness for millennia, talking to her as if she were beside him, answering. Drawing to his side one mortal woman after the next that possessed the body, the hair, a pale imitation of the passion, never seeing them, calling them by her name, pretending they were her until they died.

He’d lived lie after lie to escape the unbearable truth: She’d left him by choice, killed herself to escape him. He’d come to believe she’d never loved him at all, or worse—had stopped loving him because of the things he’d done.

Gazing down at her now, he found it easy to pardon Cruce for stealing her, forcing her to drink from the Cauldron and erasing all memory of their time together.

Somehow his soulmate was at long last the very thing he’d struggled to make her: Fae, immortal unless killed in one of a very small number of ways. (He intended to eradicate all of those ways immediately.) Funny how things turned should time enough pass. But the king knew the natural state of Universes was not to list toward entropy, rather wholeness. Universes were healthy. It was sentient beings with free will that were the true disasters.

So what if he’d suffered an eternity of hell without her? If someone had offered him this bargain a half a million years ago, said—you need only endure a half a million years without her to have her for all time—he would have taken it in a human heartbeat. What was a brief time of madness for eternity with her?

Fire to his ice. Frost to her flame.

He was whole again.

The Unseelie king bent his head and kissed her. Lightly. Reverently. He’d sliced open his soul and bled it out over memories of the woman he would never kiss again. Deep in his chest, thunder rolled.

Lashes fluttered. She opened her eyes. He drew back and stared down at her, unable to speak. Creator of worlds, God, Devil, whatever he was, words failed him now. His massive black wings shuddered with the depth of his feeling. He shifted and resettled them.

There was wonder in her gaze as she stared up at him: a moment of precious, pre-conscious dawn where all is dew and promise and anything at all might bloom.

Beginnings are fragile things.

Was it as he hoped? Was the power of true love greater than the power of the Cauldron of Forgetting? Did the body recall despite the damage done the mind? Memory, carved into gray matter, never obliterated. What would she say? What would her first words to him be?

Time ground to a halt and, as a human might hold his breath, the Unseelie king held his existence in silence, filling the frozen moment with tiny miracles: the blush of her skin, the curve of her lips, the arch of her brows.

Was that a flicker of confusion? Of duality preceding recognition? He knew her face intimately, had never forsaken a nuance, yet these were expressions he’d had no cause to learn.

After all she’d been through—eternities about which he knew nothing and might have contained any number of atrocities spent as they were at the Seelie Court with Cruce—but more recently kidnapped, interred in a tomb of ice and nearly killed by the power-hungry prince, he sought to reassure her:

“My love, you are safe. I have you now.” He paused, to lend emphasis to his next words, a pledge he would keep until the end of time, which he was fairly certain he was in some fashion or another. “And I will never let you go again.”

Envisioning their joyous future together as immortals, he waited for the first sound of her voice in half a million years…

She screamed.

★ You can read the epilogue from Until You (Fall Away #1.5) by Penelope Douglas on her Facebook here! It’s told in Madoc’s POV.

★ A snippet from Ilona Andrews’ Avon book! You can read it here.

Other News!!

★  If you haven’t heard Sylvain Reynard’s new novel announcement, you can read the blog post here. His next book will be called The Raven.

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 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…

★ Gayle Forman’s next book will be called I Was Here, and it comes out in the first half of 2015.

This gritty, powerful new YA novel follows Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend Meg’s shocking suicide. Delving into Meg’s secret life as she searches for answers, Cody discovers both her strengths and her vulnerabilities, testing her ability to love, to protect, and to forgive.

You can read about it on her tumblr here.

★ Jeaniene Frost’s next novel will be called The Beautiful Ashes, book one of the Broken Destiny series. You can read her blog post here.

Weekly Recap

Reviewed on the blog this week:

Books to review:

Be With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout Before We Fall by Courtney Cole Gabriel's Redemption by Sylvain Reynard Holy Frigging Matrimony by Emma Chase

The Fine Line by Alicia Kobishop Elect by Rachel Van Dyken Four Seconds To Lose by K.A. Tucker

Blog Tours:

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished Sarah MacLean banner

T. Gephart series banner

undertow blog tour banner

REMY blog tour Banner

Don’t forget to check out the giveaways listed on the blog on the right!

Upcoming New Releases (so many good books releasing next week!)

Addicted for Now by Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie Cherry Girl by Raine Miller Kissed by a Dark Prince by Felicity E. Heaton Bitter Sweet Love by Jennifer L. Armentrout Knight & Day by Kitty French Out of Time by Jen McLaughlin Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally Gabriel's Redemption by Sylvain Reynard Kicking It Anthology Before We Fall by Courtney Cole Full Throttle by Erin McCarthy Castle Hill by Samantha Young Spellbound by Sylvia Day The Ever After of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen Holy Frigging Matrimony by Emma Chase Otherwise Unharmed by Shay Savage

Sylvain Reynard Novel Announcement

Sylvain Reynard (author of the Gabriel’s Inferno series) has a new novel coming out! Here is SR’s announcement (which you can read on his blog as well, which I linked at the bottom of the post).

Dear Everyone,

Back in September, I wrote a post in which I mentioned my next novel. I’m pleased to be able to give you more information now.

My next novel is the first in a new series, and it will be entitled The Raven.  With this novel, I’m asking you to pack your bags and travel with me to the city of Florence. The Gabriel Series showed you the city during the day.  This time, I’ll show you Florence’s underworld, which is ruled by creatures of the night …

Here’s the formal announcement:

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 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 …

As I mentioned in my September post, readers of Gabriel’s Redemption will be able to read an excerpt from The Raven at the end of both the paperback and e-book editions.

But what I didn’t mention was that one of the characters of The Raven appears in Gabriel’s Redemption.  Can you identify him or her? I welcome your guesses in the comments below and on social media.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s a connection between The Gabriel Series and my new series – a connection that is more than simply me, or the city of Florence, or the Uffizi Gallery. If you’ve read the cover copy above carefully, probably you’re beginning to guess the answer. But I’ll be explicit and state that we won’t be saying goodbye to the Professor and Julianne at the end of Gabriel’s Redemption. Look for them to have cameo appearances in The Raven as well …

While I don’t have a release date for The Raven yet, I hope to have one soon. This novel marks my transition from a contemporary love story to a paranormal one. I hope you’ll join me on this journey and that if you have friends and family who enjoy paranormal novels, you’ll help me share the news with them.

As we approach the December 3rd release date of Gabriel’s Redemption in North America, my American publisher has listed a giveaway of the novel on Goodreads.  US entrants can enter the contest  here.

And if you’d like to read a new excerpt from Gabriel’s Redemption and enter another contest, you can do so here at Romance Times.

Finally, I want to wish everyone who is celebrating Thanksgiving this week a very happy holiday. I have much to be thankful for and in particular, I’m thankful for you, my readers.

All the best and thank you for your continued support,

SR

www.sylvainreynard.com