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review 2014-06-04 00:00
The Beast without
The Beast without - Christian Baines ~ Review by Ulysses

Pretty damn good for a first novel.

I love to read explorations of the vampire genre, and in The Beast Without Christian Baines not only takes us to his native Australia, but presents us with Reylan, a two-hundred year old vampire in whom various pieces of paranormal lore merge and mix into an interesting modern product. Reylan looks at the world with a jaded “been there done that” attitude. He’s off-putting at first, comfortable behind this arrogant façade, sneering at a world of puny mortals in which he is the top of the food chain, sure of his own power.

This was an uncomfortable read for me, which is less a criticism than a comment. There is sexual fluidity and moral ambiguity, both of which make me squidgy; yet Baines handles these complexities with clarity and thought-provoking nuance. As in the world of Anne Rice’s vampires (the mother of the modern vampire) Reylan acknowledges the inevitability of a vampire killing, but only by accident, only as a weakness, a lack of control. He seems heartless and cold, and yet demonstrates emotional depths and a very strong moral compass. He is a fascinating character, not unlike Rice’s iconic Lestat, but somehow more appealing to me, more human...

Read more at Prism Book Alliance
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review 2014-03-01 17:26
The Prince and the Practitioner - Christian Baines



Hard to rate. Maybe somewhere around 3 stars.

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review 2014-01-29 00:00
The Beast without
The Beast without - Christian Baines I have read many shifter and vampire stories before, but not one that was anything like this one. Calling someone a vampire is an insult. In this book they are Blood Shades and they are born, not made. Then we have the werewolves that are actually referred to as Flesh Masters. Along with these two species, we also get to meet the Shapers and Cloak Masters; they are witches and invisible people respectively. I believe this is one of the more original supernatural books I have read in a while.

See the entire review at The Novel Approach: http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/2014/01/29/the-beast-without-is-a-different-sort-of-vampirewerewolf-novel/
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review 2013-11-01 00:00
The Beast without
The Beast without - Christian Baines Rating: 2.5 stars

Let me state that the prose is well written. Despite not being a fan of first-person POV, Reylan (the vampire Blood Shade) is an interesting enough character. The world is interesting enough, one that is riddled with the supernatural and societies that seem to govern these creatures living in the shadows of an ignorant humanity.

But overall? Meh.

My eyes were glazing over too much detail. I understand that a richly developed world needs to be detailed oriented and have a nice cast of secondary characters. But do we REALLY need to know so much about Ross, Isobel, Patricia, Sophia and her little 10 yo friend who's name I can't remember, Kelvin, Brett, Father Issac, the drunk girl at that emo club, Rory, Dorotha and other characters that I can't remember off the top of my head? I felt like I knew even LESS of Jorgas, who I originally thought was the other MC in this book. But by how much attention and word count he received, I felt he was more of another secondary character.

And the so called relationship between Reylan and Jorgas? It felt so shallow. Like they hated each other, and then they were having a blood sucking-induced orgasm? Like...really?! Maybe this is the norm for vampire-inspired stories, but apparently this really isn't my thing.

So yeah, the story is very violent and gory. There's a lot of blood involved. Lots of loose ends that makes me think there has to be a sequel (if not, then that's another thumbs down). But overall, I just wasn't impressed.
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review 2013-08-12 00:00
The Beast without - Christian Baines 4 Hearts

Review written for MM Good Book Reviews

Reylan is a Blood Shade, he is not a vampire and is likely to rip out the throat of the person who calls him one, he lives his life in the shadows visiting nightclubs to pluck his meals. Reylan is picky about those he chooses and when one is attacked by an uncontrollable werewolf, Jorgas, Reylan decides to do what he must to get the werewolf off his tail. But Reylan discovers that Jorgas' blood reawakens something he thought long lost and he finds it difficult to do what he must. With the Arcadia Trust wanting the werewolf Reylan comes to an agreement with them, but he still doesn't trust them. With his relationship with Jorgas becoming more complicated with every meeting Reylan has hard choices to make.

This is a nicely dark and puzzling paranormal that's refreshing with it's beastly werewolves and unapologetic Blood Shades (vampires). Reylan comes across as quite a vain man, he is very picky about the blood he consumes and is easily offended. Jorgas is a young man who is struggling with a monster inside him, the vampi.... er Blood Shade might be the only one who can help him, but losing control constantly doesn't help his case. With Reylan's friends trying to persuade him to help the Arcadia Trust and Reylan's own reservations, Reylan doesn't know what to do. But he discovers many hidden connections that seem to have the Trust's fingerprints on them.

I found this to be a very interesting read, I though there were many connections that could lead to further books because of the questions left unanswered. While I found it to be brutal in places, it also seemed to have a slight thread of humor to it that lightened it in places. The descriptions of the werewolves and Blood Shades was great, there was no magical shifts but brutal painful changing, there was no incredible speed and sparkles for the vampire and he certainly isn't that charming. The storyline is very interesting and you get pulled in as you try to understand how things are connected, the Arcadia Trust, the church and the strange experience Reylan has with the book. The storyline surrounding Jorgas is vague except his strange attraction to Reylan but it becomes very clear in the last few pages.

I recommend this to those who love the good old fashioned brutal werewolves, vampires without a care in the world, a very interesting storyline with many threads and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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