The Florentine Series by Sylvain Reynard #mf #review @sylvainreynard


The unveiling of a set of priceless illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy at the Uffizi Gallery exposes the unsuspecting Professor Gabriel Emerson and his beloved wife, Julianne, to a mysterious and dangerous enemy.Unbeknownst to the Professor, the illustrations he secretly acquired years ago were stolen a century earlier from the ruler of Florence’s underworld. Now one of the most dangerous beings in Italy is determined to reclaim his prized artwork and exact revenge on the Emersons, but not before he uncovers something disturbing about Julianne …

Set in the city of Florence, “The Prince” is a prequel novella to “The Raven,” which is the first book in the new Florentine Series Trilogy by Sylvain Reynard.

“The Prince” can be read as a standalone but readers of The Gabriel Series may be curious about the connection between The Professor’s world and the dark, secret underworld of “The Prince.”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22843247-the-prince?ac=1

After reading The Raven and starting Gabriel’s Inferno – both by Sylvain Reynard – I had to download The Prince. I’m glad I did. It’s like a bridge between the Gabriel Emerson series and The Florentine series. Don’t want to give too much away as it is a novella, but it starts with the appearance of the stolen illustrations in the Uffizi gallery. It shows The Prince’s fury, his intent, and the good side of the Emersons.

It also shows an event that is mentioned in the Raven that I wondered about – an assassination attempt.

But of all the things to stick in my head? Gabriel and Julia are married – and yet, when they’re having sex in an upper room in the Uffizi gallery, Gabriel pulls out a condom. *blinks* Why? They’re married. As I’ve read The Raven, I know getting pregnant is not something they are trying to stop. So why use a condom? I can’t think of anything else that would be described as a ‘foil square’ coming out of Gabriel’s pocket before they get en flagrante delicto. That totally confused me and probably will every time I read this. (Then again, I haven’t finished Gabriel’s Inferno or read the other two in that trilogy – maybe those will point out why he would use a condom.)

Besides that, wonderful writing and I loved getting deeper into the head of The Prince.

5 stars.

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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…addtogoodreads_zps55cd15da14A-nony-mouseTAG

There are good books and then there are great books. I think The Raven has to go down as a great book. It’s got mystery, history, romance, vampyres, Italy, the weaving of the past with the future, and two hurt individuals not looking for something and yet finding it.

Raven lives in Florence and works at a gallery protecting priceless pieces of art. William is The Prince of Florence, head of the vampyres, and a cold soul. And yet… is he?

From the very beginning, Reynard captured me and never let me go until I finished. In fact, I’m not let go at all as I am about ready to start book 2. Both William and Raven are tortured souls, unwilling to accept that anyone could love them. So much so that they put up walls between them and everyone else. I had a bit of a hate relationship with Raven’s character until William pointed out her biggest problem and I realized that her biggest problem was one of mine. Gotta hate it when you realize the reason you hate a character is because she’s showcasing something you dislike about yourself.

One of my favorite things about William is his acceptance of who he is. He’s a vampyre. He kills. Get over it. I hope that continues through the next two books as I think it personifies him as a creature infinitely more powerful than a human.

An interesting subtext was the concept of disability. What does it actually entail?

I gave the book 5 stars and I stand behind that, but there were two things about the book that bugged me. Several times there were parenthesis that included sentences that weren’t needed. They almost felt like author notes. Those popped me out of the story each and every time. Also, a couple times the character thought one thing and then several chapters later said they’d never thought of that exact thing before. That happened twice: once with William and once with Raven. It was an annoyance, but the story was so well written, the mystery, art, love story, and suspense so well intertwined, that they can be forgiven. But I still wish they weren’t there.

Be aware this story is a mixture of 3rd person omniscient and 3rd person singular and sometimes it’s an awful lot like head hopping.

5 stars

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The Shadow

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel trilogy comes the hotly anticipated follow-up to The Raven, a sensual novel set in Florence featuring the dangerously intoxicating coupling of Raven and William…

Raven Wood’s vampyre prince has returned, pledging his love and promising justice for every wrong done to her. In the wake of their reunion, Raven is faced with a terrible decision—allow the Prince to wreak vengeance against the demons of her past, or persuade him to stay his hand. But there is far more at stake than Raven’s heart…

A shadow has fallen over the city of Florence. Ispettor Batelli will not rest until he uncovers Raven’s connection to the theft of the priceless art from the Uffizi Gallery. And while the Prince hunts a traitor who sabotages him at every turn, he finds himself the target of the vampyres’ mortal enemy.

As he wages a war on two fronts, he will need to keep his love for Raven secret, or risk exposing his greatest weakness… addtogoodreads_zps55cd15da16 

And another knock out for Reynard. The Raven hooked me with its intricate building of the Florentine world, its history, its art, its mystery, and its characters. The Shadow deepened the mystery and the main characters.

Even as William and Raven’s love deepens, the powers around them seek to rip them apart. Let me state that I adored William’s gift to Raven at the beginning of the book. I wondered what he’d done at the end of the Raven and at the beginning of The Shadow, we find out. I understand that Raven had issues with it, but it fit perfectly William’s personality and belief system. I think I fell more in love with him at that point.

For the mid-part of a trilogy, this story did not lag. Not at all. There are assignations, shadows William must ferret out. Who are his allies? And who is The Roman? Some of that we find out in The Shadow. Some wait for the final book in the series. (At least I assume it’s the final book – until I’ve read The Roman, I won’t know that for sure.)

I had to laugh at the Consilium’s numbers taking a drastic downturn. It kind of reminded me of The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader would kill one military leader and when he gave another his position and said something about not letting him down. The look on the new leader’s face was one I pictured on the faces of the vampyres when William killed one member who let him down and then gave another one their job.

I would not want to be that vamp LOL.

So loved it and am about to start The Roman. 5 stars. Wonderful story!

fivestars

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****

Raven and her sister, Cara, are at the mercy of a small detachment of Florentine vampyres, who are delivering them as a peace offering to the feared Curia in Rome.
Though she’s unsure William survived the coup that toppled his principality, Raven is determined to protect her sister at all costs, even if it means challenging Borek, the commander of the detachment.
In an effort to keep Raven from falling into the hands of his enemies, William puts himself at the mercy of the Roman, the dangerous and mysterious vampyre king of Italy. But the Roman is not what he expects …
Alliances and enmities will shift and merge as William struggles to save the woman he loves and his principality, without plunging the vampyre population into a world war.
This stunning conclusion to the Florentine series will take readers across Italy and beyond as the lovers fight to remain together. Forever.
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And I’ve finished with the thrill that was the Florentine. The Roman is a thrill ride through all the chess pieces that work to dethrown The Prince. I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled at the way it ended, but I still loved the book. I’m sad at what they did with The Roman and sadder still that vampyrism became a demon-type religious construct.

My main issue with The Roman was that there seemed to be a lot of scenes with very little to tie them together. Yes, it was part of the story, but it felt like there were huge gaps missing, and some of the stunts pulled toward the end of the book—especially regarding one Italian inspector—didn’t make much sense. The vampyres might have been out for The Prince’s blood, but to pull that stunt made no logical sense. Ibarra wanted to get back at the Prince, but pulling such a stunt that would call in the Curia, his mortal enemy, just didn’t seem in keeping with Ibarra’s intelligence. It felt more like the author needed to get rid of a character and just offed him… for no reason whatsoever.

I could tell what was happening with The Roman from the time he saw William, but I wonder if it was the age issue or if Cato had done something. And the epilogue confuses me – why did G&J go back? Not to mention the vampyres still on the hunt for their former prince’s pet.  There are just so many questions left unanswered.

However, that said, this was a thrilling ending to the series. I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars due to the jumps between scenes.

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