Author: Sylvain Reynard
There’s a few things that will keep me reading a book and/or series. One of them is referencing historical figures in an alternate manner/universe. Author Sylvain Reynard has piqued my interest with The Florentine series. The second full novel in the series, The Shadow, makes reference to a plethora of interesting historical figures I’ve studied either in college or independently (because I’m a geek like that). By putting several historical figures, including William of York and Niccolo Machiavelli, in vampyric roles, my mind tends to wander and easily buy-into the world-building. This is by no means a work of historical fiction—The Shadow, and all of The Florentine series thus far, is set in modern times. Oh. And the series needs to be read in order. Don’t jump around.
As vampyres, York and Machiavelli maintain their archaic language patterns, tempered by the modern-day setting. While readers won’t enjoy the hilarious image of either exclaiming, “YOLO!”, those enjoying more formal language will be completely engaged…or maybe it’s only me. I’m weird that way.
I found myself flip-flopping a lot while I read The Shadow. I was still completely enamored by William and Raven’s romance, and the fact that William was so besotted by Raven. I still find it interesting, their relationship, because they seem such an unlikely couple. Don’t get me wrong—they’re a believable couple, just not the pairing I’d make. It seems they have a few extremely different beliefs regarding several things. But, I am still in leap-of-faith mode regarding this series, so it works for me.
I think one of the reasons the series works so well for me is bits like this:
“Love is deep.” His rich voice echoed in the bathroom. “Love is having the power to destroy another person.” William stepped closer. “Are you afraid of being destroyed?”
“Destroyed, consumed, betrayed.” She [Raven] fidgeted with the neckline of her gown.
William placed his hand over hers, stilling it. “Love creates; it doesn’t destroy.”
While these are really global statements that could be made by any two main characters in a romance novel, they’re especially poignant coming from William and Raven. As they navigate the rekindling of their romance, forces beyond their bubble of happiness threaten to blow things to smithereens.
I think the parts that were ‘the best’ for me were those involving William and Raven. While I liked learning some of the backstory, getting deeper into the whys and wherefores, I’m just a romance junkie at heart.
I felt like The Shadow had a bit of ‘second book syndrome’, however. It felt like connective tissue to get us to a point where there’d be more action and more involvement with William and Raven. There’s some MAJOR conflict going on in this book, and the build-up through the story seemed…minimized. There’s actually several major conflicts happening through the story, and while there’s resolution of a couple, my perceived over-arching plot for the series seems to shift a smidge. Which is why I’m seriously interested in reading the next installment of The Florentine series. I *have* to know what happens next. I *have* to know how things end up for Raven, and for William—both as a couple and as individuals.
Yup. I’ve bought into this series. It seemed like a long-shot, but I went and did it. You couldn’t keep me away from the next book in the series, because it’s going to be full of conflict, hopefully good news, and a reunion or two that’s likely to floor me.
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…
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Series: The Florentine #2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): paperback (432 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
The Shadow (The Florentine #2)