As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

REVIEW: The Beast Without – Christian Baines

REVIEW: The Beast Without - Christian Baines

Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Reviewer: Maryann

Get It On Amazon

About The Book

Reylan is everything a Sydney vampire aspires to be: wealthy, handsome and independent, carefully feeding off companions plucked from the gay bars of Oxford Street.

When one of those companions is killed by Jorgas, a hot-headed young werewolf prowling his streets, Reylan reluctantly puts his cherished lifestyle of blood and boys on hold to help a mysterious alliance of supernatural beings track down the beast. It can’t be that hard… not when Jorgas keeps coming after him.

But there’s more to this werewolf than a body count and a bad attitude. As their relationship grows deeper and more twisted, Reylan tastes Jorgas’ blood, reawakening desires the vampire had thought long dead. And what evolves between them may be far more dangerous than some rival predator in the dark…

The Review

The Beast Without by Christian Baines turned into a little comparison experiment for me.   I just got done reading another series (Youkai Bloodlines) with the same type of theme – “Don’t call me vampire”!

Blood Shades are born to human parents every few generations because of a dormant gene in the family line. The condition grants immortality and agelessness, and they only seek out blood as a necessity.

Reylan is a shade. He knew he was different at the young age of twenty. Now he’s close to a hundred-and-fifty-years-old, and he’s likes his life in Sydney as it is. He’s free to do what he wants and seeks out the usual one-nighter, only for nourishment. He doesn’t “turn” them because he really likes his freedom and solitude. He doesn’t need the hassle of clingy relationships, and has no physical desire. He also doesn’t want to expose the supernatural to any humans.  

Reylan has two proteges: Ross and Isobel. Ross and Reylan are best friends and meet up often to go clubbing and just to talk. Isobel, not so much. She stays isolated. But at one time she was a socialite and traveled frequently. She still has notoriety, and has settled in Sydney.

On an evening of clubbing with Ross, things get chaotic and deathly for Reylan. This puts him in touch with the Arcadia Trust, run by Patricia Bakker. Reylan becomes very suspicious about Ross and who he can trust. He’s has already had a very horrific incident with Jordas, a “flesh master” who seems to have left a trail of bodies in his wake.  

Reylan reluctantly agrees to bring Jordas to Arcadia, and during his visit to the Arcadia library, he’s gifted with a book of lore about “The Wolves of Varner.” What will Reylan discover about “Blood Shades” and “Flesh Masters”? 

Baines brings fast-paced action, gore and a fascinating glimpse into the supernatural world.  The tale has moments of  humor, many emotional highs and lows, deceit, and just the right amount of steam between Reylan and Jordas. It’s the perfect start to a different type of paranormal series.

I liked the intense relationship between Reylan and Jordas – both have a long way to go and a lot to discover about who and what they are. There’s past history about the Blood Shades and Flesh Masters that leaves room for exploration in later novels.  

There are also other interesting establishments in the supernatural realm:  the “House of Blood” that encompasses all touched with mortality.  The “House of Magick” that is for “Shapers,” and the “Scimitar of Light” – fundamentalist humans from supernatural lines. 

Along with Reylan, Jordas, Ross and Isobel there’s a host of characters in this tale. Deborah owns cafe Valia and keeps Reylan and Ross’ secret. She’s also enchanted with the supernatural world.

Patricia Bakker was once a nun, and makes me very suspicious.

And Kelvin, who is a “cloak walker,” and just plain evil. 

There are some mysterious ones too – Sophia and Giorgios, Dorothea (Reylans tenant), and  Demetrius the very temperamental cat.

The Beast Without is entertaining and a real page-turner. This is the first book in the “An Arcadia Trust Novel” series. I’m looking forward to reading the next two – The Orchard of Flesh and Sins of the Son.

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 


Leave a Comment