Book Reviews

Mastering the Flames (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer 4) by SJ Himes

Genre Gay / Urban Fantasy / Elves/Fairies/Sidhe / Magic / Mythological Creatures / Vampires / Wizards & Witches / Erotic Romance / Action/Adventure / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 24-May-2022

Book Blurb

Guilt-ridden after the massacre of his family, Isaac Salvatore turned to binge drinking to escape the pain. Now twenty-four 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.

The answer to who is targeting the vampires of Boston is buried in the dark, early days of Constantine's transition to an immortal life. Isaac finds himself saddled with a painful insight into the evil cutting a swath through the supernatural population of Boston. While his brother, Angel, takes over the hunt to find and stop the threat to the city, Isaac struggles to find a balance between helping his brother and finding his own purpose and place in the world, free from his brother's shadow.

Falling in love wasn’t part of his plan, but mastering the flames that burn between him and Constantine soon becomes the most important thing in his life, even as an ancient evil seeks to destroy them.


Book Review

A Salvatore sorcerer with an affinity for fire and a millennia old vampire Master of the city. How hot can it get?


Isaac is Angel’s younger brother and has been living with a ton of misplaced guilt ever since his entire family was killed in the Massacre. He was only thirteen when the Salvatores were killed by vampires under a compulsion spell, and Angel killed the entire Providence bloodclan in one fell swoop. Isaac and Angel had quite the fractious relationship after that with Isaac turning to alcohol and a human friend to drown his despair. It wasn’t until the end of ‘Reckoning’ that Isaac finally tells Angel where his guilt stems from and admits he needs help for his addiction.


“Who was Isaac Salvatore completely sober with nothing to hide behind? No excuses, no reasons to drink, no bottle to dull his actions and his pain. Maybe being hollow and laid bare was what he deserved, penance for the last ten years of fuck-ups and mistakes and dragging his brother through a shit-storm of drunken binges, bar brawls, pickups in a drunk tank, and his late boyfriend Greg stealing pieces of his family heritage and money when Isaac’s apathy was at its peak.”


Constantine (Constans) Batiste was born in 150 BCE in what is now known as Marseilles, France. His first death happened when he was twenty-six years old in 124 BCE fighting against the Cult of the Head—a cult that included blood mages—and his becoming a vampire wasn’t truly a choice since it was either that or die a final death. Constans has had his own vampire clan for over a thousand years, an almost unheard-of concept, which is why it’s one of many secrets he keeps about himself and his abilities. Constans’s past is coming back to haunt him and he’ll do anything to protect his mate he’s only just found.


I absolutely loved the fact that the author didn’t write Isaac as Angel 2.0. They are very different people and I think that is part of why I loved this book so much. Isaac accepts his flaws and weaknesses and admits he has work to do so he won’t be as “broken” as he views himself. He recognizes that Angel is far stronger than he is, but also realizes that turning away from his magic all those years ago was not healthy. Now, when it seems that a blood mage is coming for him and the vampire he’s falling in love with, Isaac understands that he will need to embrace his fire if they’re to survive.


“A pause, and a soft kiss to his lips. Constans gently pressed their foreheads together and he whispered, “I love you. I promise you an eternity of my love and support, never ending, never tiring. Forever is yours, and you will never be alone.”


‘Mastering the Flames’ is just as exciting and suspenseful as the previous volumes in the series, even though the focus here is upon Isaac and Constans. All of the fabulous secondary characters are still popping in and out, plus the addition of a few specific to Constans’s life and the Tower. Eroch is still keeping me giggling and sighing every time he appears on page and I fall harder and harder for him. The author certainly left me with something to wonder about concerning an ancestor (and his vampire lover) of Isaac and Angel’s, so I’ll be keeping an eye peeled to see if they make an appearance.


A huge thank you to the author for this fabulous series! I’m having so much fun wrapping your world around myself and getting lost in your writing.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 396 pages/130K words
Heat Level
Publication Date 04-October-2019
Price $5.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback
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