The Shadow

Sylvain Reynard
The Shadow
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Berkeley Publishing Group
Release Date
February 2016
Book 2 of The Florentine
Paranormal with Romantic Elements

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...

Book Review by BJ (reviewer)
Mar 28, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
107 people found the following review helpful
4-4.5 "Due Justice" Stars for the story and 5 Stars for the narration!

In a provocative tale of revenge and justice, as well as a story that will keeping you guessing as to who are true allies or traitors, THE SHADOW continues the intriguing paranormal tale of the Vampire Prince of Florence and his human love, Raven Wood. Please note though that this is the second full-length novel in a trilogy that must be read sequentially. So if you have not yet started this series, please read my review of The Raven (Book 1) (or the novella prequel to this series, The Prince) to determine if this a series you may enjoy, as the below review may contain spoilers for the earlier books in the series.

THE SHADOW starts right where The Raven leaves off. Now that he is back, William is even more determined to make Raven his in every way. Thinking like the Vampire Prince he is, he determines to deliver justice to her for the past sins that were transgressed against her. Raven is also still desperately determined to resolve her relationship with her sister, who continues oblivious to the sins that were not only committed against Raven but also her sister. We also get a more detailed understanding of the past influences that have shaped William's morality or lack thereof.

Amidst these personal struggle, Raven and William must also deal with external political influences. Raven continues to be a subject of interest to Inspector Batelli, who still suspects her of involvement in the art theft of Professor Gabriel's artwork from the Uffizi Gallery (where Raven had been restoring old art masterpieces). Moreover the attacks on William and his Florentine subjects continue--almost certainly meaning there is a traitor among his ranks. As if this is not enough looming peril, the Curia also begins to take an active interest in Florence, including Raven.

In THE SHADOW, we get more detail into the political instability and underlying causes for traitorous influences that are lying in wait to threaten William's rule. Even as the underworld becomes more complex and intertwined, we also get to delve deeper into the individual motivations that drive William and Raven on a personal level. Although Raven undoubtedly has begun to influence William's previously non-existent morality in a decided human, feeling-oriented direction, certain personal struggles bring to light how differently they still view matters. It is these differences, in turn, which, notwithstanding their undeniable attraction and desire for one another, begin to call into question whether their union could ever truly lead to a HEA irrespective of the plentiful other forces that conspire against them.

As I noted in my review of The Raven, John Michael Morgan's narration is darkly and sexily divine! Mr. Morgan does a remarkable job of maintaining consistency in his voices between characters in the prior book and this book to ensure that listeners instantly can recognize the characters from their portrayal alone. His voicing of William is fantastic both in a sexy and chilling way. A better match for portraying the centuries old vampire prince of Florence you could not find! Moreover, his depiction of Raven is equally spot on with personality traits and compelling in its delivery.

Mr. Morgan also manages to produce slightly varied intonations for all of the other multitude of characters that make an appearance in THE SHADOW. Perhaps my favorite part of Mr. Morgan's narration is his attention to the mood of the scene. I love how I am able to tell the direction the story is taking just from his tone alone.

All in all, The Florentine series is a must listen for paranormal romance fans. The art history and gothic influences make this unique paranormal world highly original and quite intriguing, whereas the passionate and intimate connection between two such different beings as The Prince and Raven amidst the desperate and star-crossed tragic circumstances they find themselves in is sure to tug at the heartstrings of any romance enthusiast. I can't wait to experience more of Sylvain Reynard's writing and John Michael Morgan's narrations, especially the next installment of The Florentine!
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