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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 loved this book, the characters were well drawn and the storyline was interesting. It was a great addition to the series and I will definitely put it in my favourites and enjoy listening to it again.

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Interesting Story

The story premise is good and the characters are likeable. The narration was good too.

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Best one yet!

Rarely have I laughed so much while either reading or listening to a book! Just like the previous installments of the series, the story itself was fenomenal, great pasing and nice believable and organic character development.

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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
  • 06-01-21

superficial but well narrated.

i liked the first 3 books in the series, but this is boringly superficial and lacking in story and depth. it is insta love, a hurried plot and a lot of unnecessary explanations, explicit sex and a lot of clichéd romance.
i got to chapter 28, and although i like the narrator and he did a desent job with a boring book, i could not go on.
i think i have to drop this author unles the books start to have some depth and story to them again.
do not recoment this book.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Janel Carr
  • 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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Teresa
  • 09-07-22

Love it!

I really enjoyed this audio, the book is my favourite of them all, and hearing it read to me was even better.

I do hope the next book will be released on audio too.

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  • Ian
  • 13-06-22

The story I didn't know I needed

I have read all of the Beacon Hill Sorcerer books and they have been wonderful. I had to get use to the narration (Boston Accents are unique and sometimes are a bit overpowering, Joel Leslie didn't disappoint). This book is one of those books that get under your skin in a good way. I get really tired of the usual tropes of over powered people who are infallible. Not this book, Isacc is a hot mess who has been struggling for several books. The fact we get to see him laid bare and struggle with his illness and work on building himself up is really beautiful and a nice change of pace. Thank you so SJ Himes for writing such a unique part of your world and sharing it with us.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 06-06-22

Not enough Angel.

I didn’t find this installment to be as engaging as the first two books. My mind kept periodically drifting off, and I felt no inclination to rewind to see what I missed. I was kind of anxious for the book to be done, so I could move on to something more interesting. The best parts, in my opinion, were the flashbacks to Constantine’s past. Those bits were pretty cool. This book mainly centers around Isaac. I think that’s why I didn’t enjoy this book much. I like Isaac as a character, but not enough to read a whole book around him. I wanted Angel, and he hardly played a part. And the sex scenes were meh. I kept thinking, ‘hurry up and cum, so we can move on with the plot.’ Very annoying.

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  • C. T.
  • 12-04-22

Couldn't finish it...

I get attached to the OG MC, so I don't usually read... spin offs? Though I have before, and I've enjoyed a couple of them. Considering the biggest complaints I have had about this series so far is the constant mixing up or misspelling of names and the tension-breaking POV switches between Angel, Daniel and Isaac at the end of book three, I decided to give it a shot.

This book though.. not only does a quarter of the book take place in flashbacks that I can't say I really care about, especially in such long-winded detail, but it also turns Angel into the story's antagonist (besides the obvious blood mages). His IQ is greatly lowered, he makes stupid assumptions that create forced angst to turn Constantine into Isaac's knight in shining armor, and his overbearing attitude makes half the things he said to his little brother in the last three books a lie. In the book's first conversation between Angel and Batiste, Angel jokes with the master vamp and becomes the butt of the conversation. In line with the previous three books, Angel doesn't like or trust the blonde vamp, so why would he joke around with the guy and have such a loose tongue and lack of wit as to make himself look like an idiot?

Simeon... it's hard to describe him in this book. A cowed or whipped, verbal punching bag? All he seems to do is stay quiet, leave the decisions to Angel, and make himself scarce when any kind of argument happens. Really? So much for the sexy, refined, wild warrior Simeon.

Isaac even apologises to Batiste for his brother that so cruelly placed the brand that only keeps Isaac from being brainwashed with fake lust. This is the same brother that called Angel a traitor to the Salvatore name for being with a fang head like Simeon, right?

And finally, Constantine Batiste. The vampire master that had such lack of judgement that one of his two right hand men betrayed him after only a year at most? After one - yes, only one brief mention in the opening of the book of his lack of judgement that would have had serious consequences for everyone if Eroch hadn't been there, it was never mentioned again. Batiste even tells Angel off for his lack of understanding Isaac in the vamp bar. Batiste really gave a holier than thou speech to an overbearing, rash, and pretty violent-with-his-brother Angel. That was where I called it quits.

All of the characters are so out of character that it really left a bad taste in my mouth. Honestly, I wish I could erase this book from memory and just enjoy the first three books.

I did like the first couple of chapters though (minus the Lord of the Ring length - okay not quite that long - flashback and Angel's unnatural/forced conversation with Batiste) though. I enjoyed the brotherly bonding where Isaac and Angel hug on the couch. I actually added the audiobook after reading that part in the kindle version, and even listened to it a couple times before moving on. After that, it goes downhill. Like, bottomless ravine downhill.

I was hoping the role of relationship angst would have been created naturally by Isaac trying to acclimate into a sober life, and possibly almost-relapses, with the people who care about him around him and supporting him like they have been thus far (unwavering support and brotherly love, etc...), but boy was I wrong. I got to the vamp bar's drama and had to call this book quits. Out of roughly seven hundred plus books I've read in the last few years - many I didn't end up liking - this is only the third or fourth book I just couldn't finish.

Still, I hope that, after Isaac and Daniel's relationship drama filler/bloatware books are out of the way (probably with Angel taking the hit as being an overbearing idiot and parental figure to drive a forced story for both and the boys' love interests taking the noble road to save them from Angel) the series will go on like normal. I really hope it does. This series' main storyline is just that interesting.

Though I haven't read Daniel's book (and don't know if I even want to after this one, or after reading book five's summary info) I'd like to see the story continue. The main story. If there's another Angel/Simeon centric book, after all the characters go back into character, I'd like to see tension with the Ministry and the vampires under their influence develope into a good, continual storyline - something like the Dresden Files' war maybe? That's probably asking too much. I'd like to see a long time skip somewhere in there, too, even if it's just the epilogue. Again, probably asking way too much, especially since I don't even know how the currently released books (5 books) end.

Even if I didn't like the book as a whole, Joel Leslie did a great job, as usual. Props to him for finishing it.

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  • Sarah
  • 14-10-21

great series!!!!!

this is an awesome series!! best book in the series! Can't wait for more