ARC Review: Beast

BeastBeast by Megan Crewe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Max Weston knows that life is a game: Turn on the charm, say what people want to hear, and whatever you want is yours for the taking. What do a few lies matter if everyone ends up happy? His best friend, Davey, can’t look a cute girl in the eye and barely scrapes by in school, so yeah, Max hassles him sometimes. But he always has the guy’s back—even when a strange beast attacks Davey in the woods.

As Davey heals, something awakens inside him. Something with razor-sharp teeth, vicious reflexes, and no patience for Max’s ploys. Suddenly Davey is challenging Max, getting smarter, stronger, faster—and harder to control. Max plunges into a series of schemes to save his friend, but with each move he makes, Davey lashes back twice as hard. The monster inside him is calling the shots now, and the game it wants to play has deadly consequences for everyone Max loves.

If Max forfeits, he’s giving up on his best friend. But winning might mean losing even more.

If you are a Teen Wolf fan, this book feels a lot like it. The story is basically of two friends, (think Stiles and Scott) but the two had sort of an unequal relationship. Max pretty much takes charge of Davey’s life, and though the latter appreciates it at times, at most he resents it. Davey also has a terrible life at home due to an abusive father, and when he gets bit on a full moon and starts to change, he revels in this newfound power that he has. Max, on the other hand, is understandably afraid and hunts down cures for him. Davey, however, is letting the dark side of his transformation take over, and with that they are placed at odds.

As an action thriller, the book offers a lot of horror and the uncertainty that Teen Wolf fans will come to appreciate. Davey is unpredictable and vicious, and Max is running around trying to be one step ahead of him. Their relationship itself plays against them, because as Max is used to being the guy in charge, he doesn’t offer Davey the knowledge or choice in the initial days. Nope, he jumps right to fear (even if it was warranted, as proved by the second half of the novel) and ruins any hope of reconciling their friendship and taking a less brutal way out.

As a character, Max is not much likeable. He directs the lives of the people around him, including Davey and his own younger sister, Amy. He plays with the hearts of the girls in the school, just because he can. His and Jena’s arc did not fit well in the whole story overall, so I pretty much ignored that part going down. What I felt was amiss with the novel was the connection to characters. They are given ample backstories, but not fleshed out enough. Davey is not given a voice as to why he goes homicidal in such a short span of time. It feels, in a word, formulaic.

As a whole, it is enjoyable as a horror story. It certainly has its good moments but I wish more effort had gone into characterization.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from the author.

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