The Raven: The Florentine Series, Book 1

The RavenAuthor: Sylvain Reynard
Book Name: The Raven
Series: The Florentine Series
Order: #1
Rating: Mediocre/Didn’t Like
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Blurb: 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 . . .

Review:  So, I wasn’t jazzed about this book.  I’m not sure there is any one big reason, but just several smaller ones that added up to me just not really enjoying it.

One of the first things that hit my annoyance trigger was the style of writing.  It kind of felt pretentious and uptight.  Kind of like being in a room with a bunch of art critics that only want to discuss the deeper emotional implications of the art and what it is supposed to represent while you just want to look at what is there and appreciate it for what it is.  I’m not sure I can really explain my reaction any better than that.

Part of the feeling of pretension came from the sex scenes.  There are three ways to successfully handle the steamy side of writing as far as I’m concerned.  One, you can gloss over it completely and not actually give any details.  Another is to “Soft Romance” it by using euphemisms and creative terms.  The last is to just get real with it and say it like it is.  Please do not write a clinical sex scene.  I do not want to feel like I’m in the doctor’s office.  This book fell into the clinical for the few scenes it had and it was difficult for me to find any kind of a real emotional connection because of that.

I came really close to putting the book down after a few chapters, but pushed on hoping what I initially thought of as a very dry read would get better.  I was over half way through before I realized that I was probably wasting my time.  I couldn’t get invested in the characters or what they were going through because I didn’t find them either all that interesting or believable.

I did finish and was frustrated when I was left hanging at the end.  Not a single thing in the entire book was resolved.  What action or drama occurred was very thin and didn’t really occur until you were well into the book, then it was left with the giant question of whether that was the end of things or if there was more to it because it was just not clear.

I won’t say that this was a junk book because it wasn’t.  I’m sure that lots of people would really enjoy it and get way more out of it than I did.  It just didn’t work for me on so many levels and wasn’t the kind of book that I enjoy.  More than likely, I won’t take the time to read another book by this author for that reason.


Author: TJ Fox

I am a slightly sane artist, amateur photographer, book addict, wife, mom and raging introvert. I have more hobbies than I can count, so it is beyond shocking that I manage to find time to do any of them, let alone most of them and still have time to do anything else. Of all the talents I claim, writing wasn’t one of them until my muse dropped the idea for a book on my head.

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