Flames to the Beast (Beast #1) by M.A. Levi

Summary

After the dismal slums of the city Fortaleza was aglow with the orange flickers of the tavern fire and Leonardo’s howls of death were no longer heard, Eli Santos became overridden with failure and guilt. Distraught over the death of his rouge brother-in-law, there in the darkness a figure emerged. An ally turned foe, commanding leader of the Holy army in the Order of St. Michael- Keller glorified in murdering one of Eli’s own kin after he exposed him as a werewolf. With fur as black as the night, Eli remained unseen in the shadows as he listened to Keller make a vow so vile, he dared to enact the words of an ancient and feared prophecy of his people: Flames to the Beast.

In the first installment of the Beast Trilogy, escape with Eli and Roslyn Santos from the clutches of a Half-born and his corrupted army on this fast paced journey to Michigan to gather their strongest ally, George ‘Quicksilver’ Crownwelm, and take it upon themselves to start a legacy as a means to protect themselves and ensure the existence of their werewolf brethren known in the second prophecy as Beast Bloods.

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Characters

There are three main characters in this book—Roslyn, Eli, and Keller. Keller is Roslyn’s childhood friend who decided being in the friendzone was not an option. Roslyn and Eli are soulmates. For some reason it took most of the book for me to like Eli and Roslyn. They felt a little flat at first, but they for sure grow on you by the end of the book. Keller on the other hand was vividly written. Although deranged and manipulated by an inner demon, he was a complexly written character. One of the worst aspects of this book was the head hoping—it is all over the place. One moment you are in one character’s mind and then another. It is all over the place and difficult to keep straight, especially when characters seemed to know things they shouldn’t.

Plot

It feels like a pre-story—a legend being born. A demon manipulates a man’s desire to love and be loved, and sets the wheels in motion. Set on Earth in the not too distant past (late 1800s), it gives a paranormal twist. There were a lot of paranormal differences—vampires are referenced but demons are there more often. The central paranormal creature is werewolves – or blood beasts. The twist? They are warriors of God. This is where the book takes a more biblical/dark Fantasy turn. Thankfully it isn’t overbearing and was excellently executed.

Overall

The book is for sure for adults. There is cursing and a lot of gore. The writing is a combination of vivid imagery and clumsy phrasing. Plus the setting are very descriptive and there are lots of senses engaged—creating an in-depth feeling to the world.

The intro was basically written to download the reader but is off-putting and overwhelming instead. It was meant to give backstory to the characters but is instead chock full of information dumping. Plus Leonardo is not a likable character. However, the story and action picks up pace immediately.

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded down)

Overall an unpolished gem with lots of potential and interesting concepts and themes. A mixture of paranormal and historical with religious undertones.

Where did I get a copy?

The author provided me a copy. This is a voluntary review.

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