No one can hold a candle to Blaze. He's the only pyromancer in Havoc's Crew, and everyone knows Havoc's Crew is the best magic outfit in Lyon City. When an accident leaves Blaze disfigured, all he wants to do is disappear. When a wave of zombies threaten the city it's up to him and bear-shifter Levi Black to clean the mess up, but the shifter seems more interested in him than the mission. Blaze isn't the kind of man Levi would normally take on any of his runs, but he doesn't have a choice. The conceited pyromancer is supposedly the best, but the last thing he expects is a broken shell of man able to bring his protective animalistic instincts to the surface. Getting rid of the undead is the easy bit. The hard part is convincing Blaze he loves him even with his scars.
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***I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot com.***
It's the nature of short story romances that you have very little time to get the main characters together and off to their happily-ever-after. One of the best ways is through a "fated mate" scenario where we don't have to get a lot of build-up to them making it work: they're fated to be together, so we just have to see how everyone accepts that and see what happens next.
In Blazing Glory, I think Angelique Voisen had a good idea for a set-up. These two men meet and something goes wrong, unleashing a problem on the city that they have to make right. These two men also happen to be fated mates, one a bear shifter and one a pyromancer. That seems like it could go a lot of interesting ways. Sadly, that's not the case here.
The characterizations were not only shallow but also contradictory. Bear shifter Levi was supposed to be all gruff, and he was, being demanding and controlling, even to the point of saying what he'd be doing to his mate whether his mate wanted it or not (gross!), and then, not to much later he says he's not going to do anything pyromancer Blaze doesn't want. I mean, that's great that he said that, but totally contradicts the several times he made it seem Blaze had no choice. It was things like that with both main characters that felt inconsistent. I just didn't believe in them, and I didn't believe in their romance.
The action with the zombies and defeating the main bad guy were fine. It wasn't anything spectacular, but it was handled okay. By that point, I was just waiting for the end of the book really.
This was book 1 in a series, but I didn't realize that until after I finished it. Honestly, it felt like I was in the middle of the series. I felt like there were things about the whole set up with Havoc's crew that I was supposed to know and didn't.
Also, I have to talk about the epilogue because it really bothered me. Maybe this isn't true for everyone, but I feel like an epilogue should wrap up how things are going with the main characters and, in a series, give us a little taste of what was coming up in the next book. Of course an author wants to whet your appetite for more. We had gotten glimpses of an apprentice named Heath and his connection to another of Havoc's crew, Volt,but then during the epilogue it was basically one bit with Levi and Blaze where they're being loving, and then rest is Heath's inner monologue about how he's in love with Volt, and then a lead-in to the next book. It just felt cheap to me, very cliff-hanger type stuff. If I had been entertained by book 1, I would have already been interested in Heath and Volt, I didn't need a cheap ploy to get me to book 2. The strong writing and entertainment value of the first in the series is what leads me to the next, not that kind of stunt. If I'd already had a high opinion of the story at that point, it would have dropped.
As for Peter Verbana's narration, it's the only bright spot in this book. He managed to give different voices delivered well. Considering what he had to work with, I could actually understand times when he didn't feel convincing. I think he did better in the beginning than the end, but I honestly put that down to how the characters started sounding. He got a bit of a whiny sound and started making Blaze sound over-the-top. On the whole, really solid, and if it was something outside of this series, I would definitely listen to him again. It's a 3.5 rating rounded to a 4, because I feel it was the material. Sadly, I cannot recommend this one, even to hear his narration.
There are a zillion paranormal m/m romances out there involving shifters and magic for one very simple reason; they're popular. I have read many over the years. This is not one I would remember for the rest of my life.
The writing was very decent, but the story was lost in a sea of similar ones for me. It was good. Not great, but good. I found myself paying attention to other things because it didn't suck me in. I didn't fall in love with the characters. It was definitely worth listening to, but I can't say it had anything mind-blowing in it.
Peter Verbena did a very good job. I could tell the characters apart, the voice was pleasant, and the pacing was comfortable. There was a good amount of emotion in it and I would happily listen to other books from this narrator.