Review: Laurent and the Beast (Kings of Hell MC #1) by K.A. Merikan

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Author: K.A. Merikan
Publication Date: April 29, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 360 pages
My Rating: 2 / 5 stars

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SYNOPSIS

1805. Laurent. Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.

2017. Beast. Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.

This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling involving time-travel, motorcycle clubs, and a deal with the devil. For the most part, the story was pretty good despite some problematic aspects, but the last 20% of the story completely threw me for a loop. I think it had more to do with the writing in the last half of this book was rather different from the first half and that’s what ultimately turned me off from the story, even when I was so close to the end of the book.

The story itself is intriguing and unique. I’m generally not a fan of time-travel books, and usually won’t read them at all, but I decided to give this a try. Laurent is from the year 1805 and he’s not doing well in life. His eyesight is failing him, and that’s almost a death sentence in that day and age where he’s an indentured servant. He’s also gay, which would have been completely unacceptable during that time. Well, when he narrowly escapes with his life by making a deal with the devil and winds up in 2017, he lands right in the middle of a motorcycle club, more confused than he’s ever been.

The story is told from alternating POVs, and it was okay in the beginning. The story is captivating, and the story is a new twist on a classic tale. I do appreciate all the work that went into pointing out how different life would be for someone to live in 2017 if they just got dropped in from 1805, like with simple things like showering or shopping at a mall. This book isn’t long. Not really. But, after the initial introductions where Laurent is introduced to Beast’s world, the story is…not for me, I guess.

Some things were totally unnecessary. For instance, Laurent kept referring to a character Nao as “Oriental”. It was initially pointed out as inappropriate and that would have been fine as a one-time thing because it was challenged by another character, but he did it again later in the book for no reason at all and it was left just brushed off. And instead of having Laurent be understanding and showing him learning the modern ways women dress compared to his time, he kept referring to women as prostitutes the entire book.

The treatment of the female characters is bad overall, and sticks to the typical motorcycle club stereotypes like what we see from TV shows like Sons of Anarchy, I think. Constantly pointing out Knight’s girlfriend as the bad person in the relationship instead of trying to understand her from her point-of-view (because Knight was being awful to her in the first place) was irritating to read.

The terminology in this book was what my mind kept focusing on, because it was so awkward. It’s a minor thing, but it’s one of those things that just completely takes me out of the story. This book is set in the United States with American characters, but there are words used that maybe for Laurent it would have been acceptable from his POV chapters, but definitely weird from Beast’s POV. The sex scenes were also really awkward to me. Again, that’s a personal thing, because I know people love this book. The writing for the sex scenes just wasn’t for me, so I winded up having to skim through most of it just to get back to the main part of the story.

At this moment, I don’t really care to read Knight’s story. I took a glance at the first few chapters, and the characters and the supernatural aspect of the series just isn’t all that appealing to me.

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