Title – The Raven
Author – Sylvain Reynard
Publication Date – February 3, 2015
Series – The Florentine, #1
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 …
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 . . .
The Raven by Sylvain Reynard is a superb read that sucks you deep into the trenches of an alternate underworld in Florence. It takes place several years from where The Prince ended, so while there was nothing major left unanswered, we don’t necessarily see every detail being worked out. The Raven is written with a sophistication while lending an insight into fascinating questions, which is very much what I have come to see is Reynard’s unique style.
“Why should I want to fix you? You aren’t broken.”
What I love about Reynard’s writing is the way he subtly addresses good versus evil and the idea of redemption. Throughout his novels thus far, he questions morality and raises questions about whether someone can truly be redeemed in the eyes of religious figures. Though I am by no means a religious person, I always find the debates carried out through dialogue and actions of the characters fascinating. I like to see how they play scenarios out, but particularly so through William in The Raven. He has had many misgivings and though he feels justified in what he does, he also comes to question his humanity and love because of this girl. Raven forces him to recalibrate his moral compass by being the epitome of good. If he wants Raven, he must reevaluate what he has come to know.
“I get tired of evil triumphing over goodness. I get tired of the injustice inherent in the universe and beings, human and otherwise, standing aside and doing nothing.”
I was completely endeared to Raven’s character. Not only was she this ethical stronghold for other characters, but she was fierce and independent, though not without her insecurities. I thought it really drove home Reynard’s theme that nobody in this world is perfect, even the ones we think are saints. She could see her shortcomings, even if they were ignored due to the good deeds she performed. There was something about her that I could truly relate to, especially the insecurities when it came to her weight. It opened my eyes in a way to see what I feel through someone else’s eyes. Raven will undoubtedly play a large role in future books of this series and I can’t wait to see what the end game is.
“I didn’t know what darkness was until I lost you.”
The Raven was everything that I have come to expect from Reynard’s writing. It was filled with historical aspects, which somehow always make the story more intriguing. The romance piece is delivered in such an intimate, emotional way that you can’t help but develop feelings for these characters as they go on their journeys. The book is written with a level of sophistication and almost melodic prose at times. I had a little bit of an issue with pacing at the beginning, as I expected it to be more action filled after the introductions in The Prince. However, once the action started and we delved deeper into this mystery, I had a hard time putting it down. I definitely can’t wait for what the next book in the series will hold, especially because of where The Raven finished!
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Don’t Miss the Rest of the Series!
The Prince (Florentine, #0.5)
The Shadow (Florentine, #2)
The Roman (Florentine, #3)
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.