The Shadow by Sylvain Reynard #Review

The Shadow by Sylvain Reynard #ReviewThe Shadow by Sylvain Reynard

Series: #2 The Florentine
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Berkley on February 2, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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Things were left at a good place with the romance, but ominous clouds are building for the Prince as trouble stirs in the shadows for his reign as the Prince of Florence.  I was looking to see this second installment in the series take things to a more dangerous, intense level and I was not disappointed.

This is one of those series that must be read in order.  Pretty much everything is built on what came in the book before it.

As the story progresses, William, the vampyre leader- or Prince of Florence- has taken the unlikely step of not only falling for a human, but choosing to start a relationship.  This decision is fraught with danger since others of his kind will not just look down on the decision, but use Raven as a weakness in his armor.  William determines to take the risk because he won’t give up Raven after losing her once.  He has a special surprise for her birthday.

Raven doubts very much she has what it takes to hold the attention of someone like William, but she has decided that having him in her life and having his love is worth the risk.  William hasn’t been human for a long time and sometimes his efforts to please her are traumatic like his ‘birthday present’.  Raven is now confronted by her darkest past as a result.

William’s place as the Prince has put a huge target on his back.  The vultures circle.  And not just for him.  He still can’t finger the traitor who has orchestrated the hunters and rogue vampyres allowed into the city to cause trouble.  The Curia’s- humans who destroy vampyres to protect unknowing humans- interest is roused and that is never a good thing.  William sets plans into motion.  He must trust in the untrustworthy and hope that he sees his enemies coming.  Raven wants a deeper connection and he shares somewhat, but at all costs, her safety is his priority.

Raven continues her work at the museum still under the suspicious, watchful eyes of the inspector even though the art theft case has grown cold.  William is distracted, but Raven won’t let him pull away from her.  Slowly, she gains his history from him.  And after a surprising person has ties to the Curia and tries to make her doubt William, she learns some of the most hidden secrets of his past.  But then their time is up and they are faced with the ultimate decision when William is dealt an ultimatum- release Raven to the Curia and save his people or refuse and the Curia will come for the vampyres of Florence.

Alright, so the last book irritated me to no end over certain things and I wasn’t entirely sure I was even going to continue with the series.  But, I decided to press on and see what happened.

What a difference for me.  Now that William and Raven are established, there was very little of all that irritating business that Raven put me through in the first book.  The focus was more balanced in this section of the story with the romance and the intrigue.  I liked that and it worked better.  The latter half of the book was nigh amazing and left me very eager to press on to the third book.

Now, in the last book, I really wasn’t feeling the romance and found the heroine dancing on my last nerve.  She still had some of this, but it was mild and helped me see that maybe this pair really did belong together after all.  Raven still has a lot of self-doubt, but she is blossoming in William’s care.  She wasn’t petulant and demanding and it was amazing how much William opened up and shared as a result.  Raven has mostly learned her lesson when William warns her about things for her safety.  She is well aware that her stubborn mulishness from before got people hurt.  It was like night and day and I was so grateful.

All that stuff I loved in the last book like the vampyre politics, getting more of the setting and tone, William’s backstory, and those surprising reveals from both Raven and William’s past plus the exciting moments when those plotting in the shadows finally stepped out and challenged William were intense and strong storytelling.

William was presented with a tough choice and then the choice was taken from him and made by others.  War has begun within the vampyre principality of Florence and is on the doorstep from without.  I like where the story left things and can’t wait for the final book.

As a side note, the paper copy I had included a couple outtake vignettes at the back that were interesting.

So, in summation, vast improvement over book one for me.  This was what I was looking for when I started the series.  I would recommend these for those who can appreciate a slower paced urban fantasy with attention to details and setting while delivering an uneasy romance and intrigue.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #56 UF
Literary Pickers #55 bracelet

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • Did I have a short by this author, hmm, just see

    • The prequel to this series is a short story. It’s call The Prince. Familiar?

  • I’m always up for something new and this sounds interesting for sure. But when heroines start to get on my nerves, it can make reading a little less fun. Glad you liked it.

    • Yes, this was something interesting with the vampires and stuff. I was so relieved that she wasn’t irritating like in the first book.

  • I haven’t read his books in a long while. I remember his writing having so much detail. Glad you enjoyed this one!

    • You remember right. I’ve only read this series, but it is full of Florence and art and life in the city even beyond the story line.

  • Ooo, I listened to book one The Raven and enjoyed it…looks like I need to grab this one!!

    • I think so, Kimberly. Things hinted at in The Raven get pretty intense in this one. And the end leave me tapping my fingers for the third book.

  • Oooo, Prince of Florence. 😀 It sounds like the heroine was much more likable for you. Glad to hear it! Lovely review, Sophia. 🙂

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Yes, this go around with the heroine worked much better for me, Alyssa. The Prince is very intriguing.

  • Still not one I’ve managed to read though his books do have me curious. Glad to hear the heroine, while not perfect in this one, was easier to handle for you. I remember the struggles mentioned last time with her. Always nice to see some improvements 😀

    • His writing takes some getting used to. He gets swept up in description and setting. He does well at characters and tension. Yes, so glad that the heroine and I did better for this second visit. 🙂