Book Review for Under the Devil’s Wing: The Beast of Birmingham by T. S. Barnett

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This is my first time reading T.S. Barnett and the experience left me looking forward to the rest of her books.  With “Under the Devil’s Wing: The Beast of Birmingham” each chapter is dedicated to its own character.  As the book progresses, the point of views change, exploring the mind of each antagonist and protagonist.  To me, this method of storytelling was most intriguing as it introduces everyone individually, then skillfully brings them together for a tense conclusion.

“The Beast of Birmingham” starts with an opening that is both sexual and violent.  A bartender by the name of Lilah is seduced by Sam, then murdered once he changes into a werewolf.  Shortly after, we discover that Sam, AKA Scratch, has become infamous in online forums and hearsay regarding his brutality.  With exhausting his options of refuge, Sam visits David, his son by wolf bloodline.

David is the kind of werewolf who has learned how to control his urges, and by doing so, lives in harmony.  Even though he doesn’t want to welcome Sam into his home, as he knows Sam is a troublemaker, David feels obligated to provide this father figure with shelter.  During Sam’s visit, he entices David to transform with him and have a night out.  Against David’s better judgement, he gives into Sam’s instigation.

What begins as a fun, late night run, soon turns deadly.  As the two become separated, Sam gives into his animal instinct and attacks a woman named Marcy.  During the attack, David hears the dispute and runs to the rescue before Sam kills her.  David, being the peacemaker, takes Marcy to a private doctor who helps nurse her.

As the plot thickens, we learn about Alicia, who has survived a prior attack from Sam.  Alicia is an ex-marine, who is scorned and looking for vengeance.  After attending group therapy for her assault, she is abducted by a man named Reiniger, who takes her to a warehouse style prison.  Here, he assures Alicia that he means her no harm.  Furthermore, he explains that he can help her exact revenge upon Sam, if she joins their group of werewolf hunters known as Wolfjäger.  Of course, she accepts his proposal.

With the stage set, we redirect our focus to Marcy, who wakes up safe and healed in the private doctor’s office.  Upon her awakening, David explains the circumstance and offers her guidance.  Due to his caring heart, and feeling like she has nowhere else to turn now that she’s a werewolf, she feels that he is her best option.  After she joins them, David explains they should take refuge in a more secluded area with an experienced acquaintance named Nat.   By doing this, Marcy will be able to undergo her first transformation and adapt to her new lifestyle in peace while receiving female guidance.

Upon meeting Nat, we learn that Sam changed her into a werewolf decades ago, and she is a mother figure to David.  Such as David, she isn’t fond of Sam, yet she feels obligated to help the trio because of the bond she shares with David and the empathy she feels for Marcy.  After everyone settles in together, the subject of werewolf hunters come into play and how they, as werewolves, must tread carefully.  Although Sam dismisses their worries, as he claims werewolf hunters are only urban myth, he soon learns that werewolf hunters do indeed exist.  At this point forward, “Under the Devil’s Wing” becomes a game of cat and mouse.

By the book’s conclusion, very little is resolved between the werewolves and the werewolf hunters.  If anything, the ending opens up a whole new keg of nails, which is sure to keep the series strong for many volumes to come.

Overall, the style in which this book is written is peculiar.  Although it is packed with information and backstory, it is crafted in such a way that it is a fast read with little to no boring information.  Also, I applaud Barnett for being able to create such a diverse cast of characters while keeping them gray.  The way she brought me into their thought process and life, made me fear for each of them when they were in danger, this even included Sam.   I think that since none of the characters are completely good, or completely bad, it makes them feel more human, adding a deeper level of realism.

From a scale of 1 to 10.  1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I would rate this book an 8 ½.   It had likable characters, kept me in suspense, and kept me wanting more.

Visit T.S. Barnett’s Amazon page HERE!

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