As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was uber excited about this book’s release. Sylvain Reynard is very active on social media and has been building the hype for about a year. On top of that, I loved the prequel novella, The Prince. And beyond even that, I adored Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno series that this was spun from. But, I guess it’s only logical that you won’t love everything written by an author and true to form, there was not a lot of love for The Raven.
This is a paranormal romance. And maybe that’s the first challenge for me. The only paranormal series I can read and enjoy is J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. But Reynard’s writing is lovely, so I figured I’d be fine. I wasn’t.
The story of Raven–the over-weight, Plain Jane (incidentally, her real name is Jane) disabled art restorer–and William–the handsome, centuries old Vampyre Prince of Florence–has the makings of a unique and enthralling story. Unfortunately, it falls flat.
Raven’s story is told very slowly. And William’s is essentially all over the place. At 373 pages, their love story, and the book itself, don’t get interesting until about page 212. Until that point, you only marginally care about either character. I think Reynard was trying to do a deep dive into the character development but instead it’s long and drawn out without much sustenance.
Being a vampyre, William drinks human blood, can have sex for hours at a time, doesn’t like holy water or crosses, etc., etc. Essentially, every vampyre stereotype we’ve all heard. Reynard tires to create intrigue by making William impervious to certain tried and true myths associated with this species of the undead, but you wind up not really caring.
Raven, is essentially a pathetic martyr who will sacrifice herself for anyone. Elderly neighbor. Boy who doesn’t really like her. Homeless man on the street. Female vampyre who she barely knows and doesn’t like.
I am sad to say that for all of the excitement and anticipation I had leading up to this book’s release, I am very disappointed. I had to force myself to finish it and I have no interest in reading the next book in the series. Though my love for Reynard’s writing may get me to come back.