The Raven Audiobook by Sylvain Reynard (review)

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015 in Reviews | 46 comments

Review of: The Raven Audiobook
Sylvain Reynard

Reviewed by:
On February 24, 2015
Last modified:October 26, 2015


The Raven Audiobook

By: Sylvain Reynard

Narrated by: John M. Morgan

Published by : Penguin Audio 02/03/2015

The Raven Audiobook by Silvain Reynard


4 Hearts rating image Hot Listens

The Florentine Series # 1

13 hrs and 35 mins


The Raven Audiobook Sample

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…

This edition only: Includes Bonus Scenes

©2015 Sylvain Reynard (P)2015 Penguin Audio


The Raven (4.0 Hearts)

I had a love-hate relationship with Sylvain Reynard’s writing in the Gabriel’s Inferno series. There were so many things I loved about the first book in that series, as well things I didn’t like at all. One those being how pretentious I found his style.

With that said, I’m glad I stuck  with that series b/c I ended up really enjoying the series as a whole.

The Raven is a spin-off from that series.
In Gabriel Inferno, professor Gabriel had is his possession the priceless Botticelli illustrations, which he gave to the Uffizi Museum. Those who read those novels will remember this part clearly.

Unfortunately, these art wonders had already an owner. An owner who has vowed to recover his property and to punish those that had his art in their possession.

That owner happens to be The Prince, an 800-year-old powerful vampire and the ruler of the city of Florence.
Lucky for the Professor, there’s a play for power brewing in the vampire world and that has The Prince preoccupied.

Raven Wood is an ordinary girl. She’s not much to look at, she is a little chubby and walks with limp. Her solitary life is divided between her work and her small apartment in Florence.

Raven’s job as a restorer of Renaissance art  in the Uffizi museum puts her right on the Prince’s path. A path that’s not only is going to open her eyes to a supernatural hidden world, but it’s also going to change her life forever.

My thoughts.

The Writing.

I LOVED the descriptions and almost poetic depictions of Florence. Sylvain Reynard is an excellent author. If you come to enjoy his writing he never fails to take you into his worlds with his seductive, intelligent and atmospheric style.

The Story.

The mystery that surrounds the Prince and his supernatural world is really interesting. It reminded me a little bit of the Volturi in the Twilight novels, which is not surprising since Gabriel’s Inferno started as a fan fiction of those novels.
I enjoyed the gothic feeling I got from the story. It’s set in the present, yet is had a feeling of antiquity that separates it from other modern Vampire Novels.

The Characters.

The I love Raven! There’s a pretty determined little heroine under the insignificant  facade. I love seeing her character’s layers unravel and finding out what broke her inside and out.
The Prince! He’s dark mysterious, powerful, ruthless and yet honorable.

The romance.

Not the most passionate or scorching hot I ever read, not by a long shot – but it’s definitely a unique love story. I was sorry I didn’t get to fully understand the Prince’s attraction to Raven – nevertheless the story’s mystery, intrigue, beautiful descriptions, smart writing and the bit of action had me enjoying all 13.5 hours in the novel and looking forward to next book in the series.

All in all, I enjoyed it. I recommend this to casual romance listener.

I think this story can be fully enjoyed without having listened to Gabriel’s Inferno. I also didn’t read the novella, The Prince, but I never felt lost. I wouldn’t discourage anybody from starting there, but it’s not on audio.

Grey earphones

The Raven Audiobook Narration

(5 Hearts)

There are quite a few instances where the enjoyment of an audiobook is unequivocally due to the narrator performance. This was the case for me with The Raven.

I had not doubts in my mind of John M. Morgan’s capacity to bring and even add another layer of emotive feelings to Mr. Raynard’s writing.

The beautiful descriptions and imaginary in the text are even more grand, not in a way that falls into melodrama, but in a skillful way that lets you experience the story without falling into pompous territory.

His Italian pronunciations are excellent and give the novel a true feeling of Florence, all under his masculine well-moderated voice.

I had a bit of a problem with the female voices in Gabriel’s Inferno, but that’s all behind. I enjoyed all the characters interpretations of The Raven.

All in all, I loved narrator John M. Morgan‘s interpretation of this novel and I’m looking forward to listening to his performance of the next audiobook in the series.

Sylvain ReynardI’m interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition – particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. My favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey, either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself.

I’m also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness.

I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House. For more information, see my Charities page.

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Narrator John Michael MorganJohn M. Morgan is a writer, director, singer, actor, teacher and storycarrier who has worked in many contexts over the years, including film, television, theater, and schools. His BA from Wheaton College is in Literature with an emphasis on creative writing and mythology. He also has an MFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University and a second MFA in Film Production and Directing from UCLA. John was born in Chicago, Illinois and was raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His screenplay, THE CAVANAUGHS (which he wrote with his co-writer, Meg LeFauve) was selected for the Sundance Writers Lab. John also attended the Sundance Directors Lab as a directing fellow. While in development with THE CAVANAUGHS, John continues to write, direct, perform and teach. When he graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas he co-founded Kitchen Dog Theater, now a longstanding, multi-award winning theater. When he moved to Los Angeles, he worked in various arenas: as an actor or director in film, television, commercial voiceovers, and on stage. He has also worked as a singer, performing in musicals, chamber pieces, new opera pieces and world music festivals.


  • 4
    editor rating
Loupe Duffy
A mom, a wife, a friend, a happy ending addict, an Audiobook junkie, a wine lover and geek wanna -be. I'm constantly looking to be blown away.
Loupe Duffy

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  1. It looks like something right up my alley, I haven’t read his books yet but they’ve been on my list… for some time, now 😉 Great review !

    • Thank you! He’s definitely has a unique style of writing. it’s very smart and almost poetic, but sometimes that can rub you the wrong way. I know plenty of peeps that love his books, but I also know many that didn’t like them at all. It’s hard to say how you’re going to feel. I wasn’t 100% sure about Gabriel’s Inferno, but I’m glad I listened to the rest of the books in that series. That was a contemporary romance, and this is totally a paranormal. I did think it was clever how he made a spin-off from a contemporary romance to a paranormal.
      I hope you enjoy it if you decide to read it, but I do recommend the audio, the narrator really moved it up for me 🙂

      • I am listening to The Raven right now. Yes, it strikes me also as darkly poetic. Perfect for a winter’s night. Thanks for the review.

        • Sorry, I forgot to sign my post!

        • It is! That’s a good way to describe it. I’m glad you’re enjoying too!
          Thank you for stopping by Ruth 🙂

  2. I didn’t know about this book. It’s not something I think I’d enjoy, but I’ll be looking for your reviews of next installments… I may change my mind.

    • Since you have read so many paranormals, I don’t think I’d recommend to you. But It’s hard to tell, I was surprised by my enjoyment, also I was already a fan since his Gabriel’s Inferno series.

  3. Okay I need a few answers because I own GI:

    1. Are the GI books paranormal? I’m not very familiar with the series. I thought it’s a heated student-teacher romance?
    2. Do I need to read GI before jumping into this? You know I love paranormal and a lot of you guys love this books. I want to give it a shot and sampler her writing style.

    Thanks, Loupe!

    • I was thinking the same thing!!! I hate starting a spin-off without reading the original and feeling lost.

      • You don’t have to. Gabriel’s Inferno is contemporary and this a paranormal. It was clever the way he connected this to Gabriel’s world though. This is without reading the novella (no audio

    • Gabriel’s Inferno is a contemporary romance that started as Twilight fiction. Came around the time of FSOG. This is a paranormal spin-off. He pulls it off really well.

      You don’t need to read Gabriel’s Inferno, now I don’t know about the novella, The Prince. I didn’t read it (not on but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything, but then again maybe if had read it I might have enjoy this one more.

      Some peeps that loved Gabriel’s inferno are divided about how much they like this one. In my case the narrator makes a big difference, he’s great with these.

      His book were not a love at first read. I found his style pompous and pretentious, but it turned into admiration by the second book 🙂

      • Thanks for that clarification. Twilight fanfic? :/

  4. Great review Loupe. I have to admit I’ve never read this author. Maybe it’s time to change that 😉

    • If you ever do, I hope you have a great time with it 🙂

  5. I read a review for this over at Rabid Reads awhile back, I think, and it wasn’t glowing. I thought this looked good so I am glad to read your reivew. I might just be adding it back to the list if I get caught up.

    • I think, you might be thinking of The Raven Boys, yeah I know so many Ravens..LOL I remember because Carmel won that audiobook here at Hot Listens, and when she requested that particular books I asked like 3 times, are you sure you want that book? (I thought it was just meh too) and she said
      So of course I busted her up when she reviewed it 😉

  6. Are you adding yet another book to my TBR pile? LOL

    • LOL Lori, that’s how I have hundreds on my pile too 😉

    • I know Anna!LOL.. How are ever going to catch up when keep adding more and more…LOL Who knows maybe one day you’ll pick it up or if you become an auidobook junkie you’ll know you get a great narration 🙂

  7. I was going to ask since this is a spin off, would you recommend I read the Gabriel’s Inferno series first, or can I jump to this one? Then I saw your last comment, now I dunno which to start with hahaha

    • You don’t have to, He wasn’t a reoccurring character in that series. The prince is a vampire that happened to exist during the time of Gabriel’s Inferno a contemporary series, but they didn’t know it.
      Let’s just say, this world was underground during that series.

      • Okay, I’ll probably start with this one then. Thanks Loupe!

  8. Ah, nice. I haven’t read something like this with the old gothic feel to it in … well, a long ass time.

    • I don’t know if you read Gabriel’s Inferno and if you enjoyed it. The author has very unique style, and it fits well in the paranormal world. It gives it a different felling the other paranormal out there. Again, I always have to mention how much I thought the narration had to do with my enjoyment..LOL

  9. I don’t think I know about this one but you made me curious about the romance if it’s unique and different. I’m glad you had a good time with it. I think I’ll keep an eye on the reviews for this one. Thanks!

    • sorry forgot to add my details…

      • I’m planing to continue, so if the next one blows me away I’d let you know. I did enjoy this one, but in my experience the narration helped a lot 🙂 it’s s so hard to recommend to readers since they can be two totally different experiences. It’s got some good reviews on Goodreads tho.

  10. Great review, Loupe! I’ve not listened to Morgan before and will look into other books he’s narrated.

    • I have only found this, and Gabriel’s Inferno. His other books are not romance, nothing that I wanted to listen to. I hope he stars narrating more book 🙂

  11. This was different and I loved that the heroine was flawed. The Prince got to me and I ended up enjoying this

    • I don’t know if you read Gabriel’s inferno, but if not, I think you’d enjoy it.
      I think I know what you mean, I just wanted to keep listening too 🙂

  12. I read the prequel for this and felt kind of meh about it, but I was still planning on reading the full-length novel when I got sidetracked. Now you’ve gone and peaked my interest again, LOL. I don’t have time for all the books!! Great review–thanks for keeping me scrambling to fit everything in 😉

    • I didn’t read it, and I was wondering if that would have make my experience of The Raven different.
      If you read Gabriel’s Inferno than you know his style, and works well in a paranormal setting.
      I know! I keep adding books to my list all the time 🙂

  13. I kinda just jumped into this book having not read Gabriel’s Inferno and ended up really enjoying it. The setting and yummy writing was by far my favorite part. I also enjoyed the fact that Raven was a realistic heroine and The Prince desired as much as as he did before and after he gave her the elixir. I think the audio must have added something to this one though that I would enjoy. Narrator Jonh M. Morgan’s voice sounds like warm chocolate to me from what you described – and who doesn’t want that? Lol.
    Great review, Loupe! 🙂

    • Thank you Kim! Yes his writing is fantastic, and the narrator’s delivery really enhances the text.
      I’m glad you enjoy it. I like that! Warm chocolate, it’s about right 🙂

  14. I read GI as fanfic a long time ago. It’s very interesting that the Florentine Series is PNR! I liked the sample and will consider this one to listen to.

    • The narrator does a great job with the text, as he did with Gabriel’s Inferno. If you’re already familiar with his style you know what to expect 🙂
      I hope you enjoy it too if you listen Grace!

  15. Yep, this sounds just divine, but I’m determined to read the other series first and haven’t gotten around to it. Your review does light a bit of a fire under me as I love the way his writing and descriptions are.

    • Gabriel’s Inferno was quite popular, I think he had a lot fans already from the fan fiction site.
      I hope you enjoyed it too! I wasn’t totally sold with the first book, but I did love the rest of the trilogy 🙂

  16. That’s interesting that this was a Twilight fan fiction – well, the original series. Glad you stuck with the author and are enjoying this spin-off. Sounds good!

    • It is! I had no idea at the time. This came out around the time of FSOG. Although his books are not naughty…lol And there aren’t too many similarities 🙂

  17. I haven’t read any Reynard, Loupe, but this sounds pretty good! I love poetic descriptions of places I’d like to visit, and Florence is sadly still on the list of cities I haven’t been to yet 🙂
    Raven sounds like a heroine I’d enjoy, too, and the fact that there is art involved, as well as a powerful vampire and a mystery makes me want to read The Raven 🙂
    I hope you’re having a fantastic week! Happy listening.

    • You can pick from his contemporary, Gabriel’s Inferno or paranormal, The Raven. The quality of writing is the same on both series, just a matter of gender preference.
      I hope you really enjoy them if you decide to give it a go Lexxie 🙂

    • I meant genre preference! LOL I’m such ditz! English can be a bitch! LOL 😉

  18. I’ve read the 1st book in Gabriel’s Inferno series too and liked it a lot, especially the beautiful, poetic writing. (This reminds me that I have yet to continue with the series.) I was about to ask you is it necessary to read that series to be able to read this spin off, but you already answered it you review, so thanks. Glad you enjoyed it! It’s already on my tbr-list 🙂


  1. Audiobook News & Reviews: 02/24/15 - […] The Raven, by Sylvain Reynard, narrated by John M. Morgan, review via Hot Listens […]

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