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Summary

Guilt-ridden after the massacre of his family, Isaac Salvatore turned to binge drinking to escape the pain. Now 24 years old, Isaac is a recovering alcoholic woefully out of practice in the magical arts, leaving his fire affinity hanging on the edge of disaster. After a month of rehab, he returns to Beacon Hill and his family, determined to remain sober, learn to control his magic, and figure out a plan for his life that doesn't involve drinking.

Constantine Batiste is the oldest, most powerful vampire in the city. Born in ancient Gaul, the bastard son of a Celtic king, his long life has been shrouded in tragedy and horrors. Recent mistakes have left him wary and determined to guard his clan from all foes. When two of his clan members fall victim to an ancient evil, he summons the Necromancer of Boston for aid. Accompanying his older brother to the Tower is the handsome young fire mage once wounded by Constantine's arrogance, and their encounter reignites an attraction that burns within both Constantine and Isaac.

Contains mature themes.

©2019 SJ Himes (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Mastering the Flames

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Great book.

I didn't read this until it was out on Audible it just didn't sound the same in my own voice. Loved this book and am just about to reread this series when I've finished the last of the one I'm listening too. I loved this please Author write more, of this series.

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Great

Amazing narrator, brilliant story that holds the readers attention. Had to listen in one sitting 😊.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 27-08-20

This is a book meant to be listened, not read

(ETA: Amazon removed all my paragraph breaks. Ugh.) I need to preface this saying I've listened to the series at least thrice and fully enjoy them, as well as reading this particular novel prior to the audio release. My review includes some critiques of the series as a whole and flippancy, but none of it is in malice or distaste. The narrator is amazing and one of my favorites I've listened to - before this book was released on audible, I read it in Kindle form after listening to the others because I loved the characters and growth. Maybe it's because I'm a fast reader, but on paper and without the narrators inflections, I wasn't able to feel the same amount of character growth and relationship development that made me feel as if it were organic. Listening to it set a pace and tone that facilitated that growth and stopped the keening voice of "wtf is everyone doing being all shipper on deck it's been five minutes." I'm still going to read book 5 first if the audio is delayed, as I would murder the world for more Rory and Daniel and it is the only thing I'm still looking forward to in 2020. This review isn't to slam on the authors voice or talent. SJ Himes broke away from describing the same things in every chapter (did you all know Simeon tastes of mint and chocolate? or Angel is attached to the primordial death magic that animates the sentient undead?) so, bonus. The juxtaposition between Simeon and Angels fast-and-hot start and kinks after two years of UST against the sweet, supportive infatuation turned gentle and passionate romance of Isaac and Constans is VERY well written. I was constantly impressed with the vastly different POV voices between Isaac and Angel, how their various strengths and weaknesses were highlighted, and the effect it has on those around them. Isaac's recovery from addiction and PTSD is amazingly touched on. At first read, Isaacs dramatic shift from surly kid to fawning, sweet, concerned for others kid was... disliked on my end. Again, it may have been the narrator and/or my lack of appreciation for the running statement that who Isaac was before was addiction and guilt, and that he is trying to find who he is without those cornerstones. As someone who went undiagnosed for over twenty years for various chemical imbalances, I should have known to look at it that way, so that is on me. Other reviews are right: the supportive Constants is awesome. Bring able to see how he treats those in his care helped a LOT in understanding why he'd find contentment with Isaac - mild spoiler alert, but Batiste thrives on caring for others and finds joy in bringing it to those he loves. I've got to say it, though - I NEED my headcanon that once a mate bond starts to establish, all the feelings develop quickly in a sort of vampire defense to help secure it. The relatively quick fall into love makes me wrinkle my nose otherwise (as well written and organic as it may be), so I comfort that nose with that headcanon. I hope SJ doesn't read this, get mad, and be like "No, you wrong", though she doesn't seem the type. the headcanon isn't meant as criticism. OH. major awesome high fives for the inclusion of more POC, non-binary, and varied love matches with a highlight on those not of cis white people. I didn't find the other books LACKING, mind, but they were more prominent here. Did I mention I love Rory? Because I do. I love Rory.

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  • Susana
  • 17-07-20

Love it

It was absolutely worth the wait, we are back in Beacon Hill again but this time our MC’s are Isaac Salvatore and Constantine Batiste the Master of the City in Boston. Poor Isaac is at Nevermore trying to rehab because of his addiction, drinking to get rid of his guilt. Recently out he doesn’t know how to be himself he thinks he is broken but with the support of his family and certain city master he is gaining little by little the confidence to become a better person, Constantine can’t forget Isaac and that kiss and want to help him. I love them together, Isaac and Constants are made for each other. The slow romance between them, the insight of his previous life as a mortal men and the power Constantine possesses know helps us with the story underneath, is so interesting and helps us reveal some interesting things about the blood wars than killed almost all the Salvatore Clan. This whole series is worth your time! Joel Leslie narrative is great I love Isaac and Constants voices! I highly recommended this audiobook!

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  • Aislinn Wolfsong
  • 20-06-20

Loved it

What else is there to say really? The BHS series is one of my all-time favourites and it's so great to see Isaac finally step out of Angel's shadow and begin to find himself. And of course Joel Leslie's performance is absolutely amazing, but that's exactly what I've come to expect from him. He and Sheena J Himes together make an awesome pair and really give life to the world of Angel and Isaac. Now I must wait patiently, or perhaps not so patiently, for Daniel and Ruarí's book.

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  • Donald
  • 25-10-20

Love it!!!

What an awesome story. I enjoyed learning from Isaac’s perspective and how intense it must be to be the brother of Angel. Isaac’s tale is full of trauma, drama, circumstances beyond one’s control, and making bad choices. Himes’ provided insight into the dynamic of the Salvatore's as well as the City Master. There bond and pairing (Isaac and Constantine) was exciting and expectant. I look forward to the next part of the series...

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  • MisMissyC
  • 19-10-20

another wonderful sj himes story

I love this series. The world SJ Himes has created, where the supernatural world blends seemlessly into real world. I am hoping to see more of Constans and Isaac as Isaac matures I love Constantine. I know not everyone enjoyed it, but I loved the flashbacks to his mortal life and the story of his beginning. Isaac I had a little bit more trouble loving, I know he supposed to be 23 or 24 but a lot of his words and actions felt very teenager like, very immature. I'll be honest I found it just a little bit annoying. I guess I thought with the many years he spent going to bars, some on the seedier side of town, drinking with despots and addicts, he would be a little bit more worldly. But overall it was a great story, excellent mystery with an interesting bad guy. I felt a tiny bit of mystery left at the end, opened ended for future installments. I know the author is planning on writing Daniel and rory's story, I hope it will be good, At this point I find both of those characters a little boring. I love love Angel and Simeon, And hope to see more of them. I hope this review doesn't sound too negative because truly I love this series and I love the way this author writes. As always Joel Leslie has amazing narration.

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  • Marie
  • 01-09-20

I love the series but this one made me nervous

I was a little concerned about listening to a book that revolved around an alcoholic. The detox was magically quick and progressed quickly. My childhood was filled with alcoholics and their drama so I have little patience for that type of story. I do have one grievance. The author tends to repeat phrases and descriptions. I know the vampire's touch is cold and warms quickly. Constantine smells like winter and apples. Etc. Joe Leslie did an excellent job narrating. The different characters were easy to differentiate since he gave the main ones unique voices.

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  • Bob
  • 07-08-20

Great Series: MM Romance, Action, SiFi Magic

I love this series. It's got all the components of a great story that I love. Well developed characters and fantasy environment, Plenty of action. Complex plot. And a love story that you want to cheer on.

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  • Texan2
  • 05-08-20

Perfection

Another terrific performance by Joel Leslie. Another terrific story in the series. This is my favorite.

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  • Sola
  • 27-07-20

A wonderful installment

I'm just broken up about the fact that this is the last book for the moment, and hope the series eventually continues. Isaac and Constantine are delightful, and the love inherent in their little family is enough to warm the cockles of even my cold black heart. Minor caveat about the audio: the volume level can be very uneven. You can be leaning in to hear the soft end of a sentence, and then be startled by a shout in the next. Otherwise, the performance was perfect.

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  • Beth I-L
  • 13-07-20

Great story masterfully performed

Loved the book when I first read it and love this performance of the book by Joel Leslie! He does a great job capturing the personalities of these characters. And his use of accents is so well done.