Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood

Review: The Chosen by J.R. Ward

Posted April 10, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Chosen by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The Chosen by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #15
Also in this series: Lover Mine, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Pages: 544
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four-stars

A scorching forbidden love threatens to tear a rift through the Black Dagger Brotherhood in J. R. Ward’s newest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

With so many secondary characters, it is hard to review this book. I’m going to give it my best shot without rambling, so stick with me.

The Chosen started off where The Beast left off. The Brotherhood still hold Xcor captive and they’re waiting for him to wake up to do whatever they need to do with him. Tohr wants to kill him, but he can’t. The Band of Bastards are in the wind. Layla had the twins. Throe wants to overthrow Wrath and be the King of the race. The Scribe Virgin is no more.

If you were worried about Layla being a boring heroine (which I was), you needn’t have worried. She was fierce. From the beginning of the book, all Layla could think about was that she betrayed Wrath and the Brotherhood. She never put her love for Xcor above her duty to her King or her love her her children. She didn’t have her head in the clouds. She knew that she and Xcor had no future. Love isn’t all it took. Love by itself doesn’t solve everything after all. She had children to consider. What she didn’t consider what the Qhinn would go off the deep end when he found out that she was seeing Xcor. And boy, did he ever.

Qhinn was incredibly sweet at first. He didn’t know about Layla’s betrayal and thought she had postpartum depression. He was extremely worried about her. That changed in a heartbeat when he found out what she did. Then he turned into a psycho. No joke. He was a maniac. I can’t even describe what an asshole he turned into. I wanted to throat punch him. He deserved it. The way he treated Layla, Blay, and even his own daughter deserved a throat punch or three.

Xcor and Layla realized that they had no future, so every moment they spent together was like their last. Layla wouldn’t let Xcor hide from her. Xcor was so used to hiding himself. His childhood was heartbreaking all because of a birth defect that he had no control over. Xcor was ready for Layla to turn away from him at any time, but she never did. The time they spent together was even more special because any moment could be the last. It was just sad.

Wrath was intense. So freaking intense. It doesn’t matter that he’s blind, you don’t cross the guy. Which Tohr and Qhinn did. They put their vengeance before their King and they got told. Both of them. I can understand (a little), that Tohr would go against Wrath. Kind of. A little. But Qhinn? He’s just been recently inducted into the Brotherhood. That he would go against Wrath? No. Wrath isn’t having any of that. This book totally makes me want to reread Dark Lover.

V and Jane. I never liked them together. V and Butch all the way. Jane is too absorbed in her career. And V needs someone that is a little absorbed in him, I believe. Not overly absorbed, but a little. Right? Yeah. Well, V is looking to cheat. That’s right. V and Jane are on totally separate pages here and V is considering cheating on his mate. Who does that? I appreciate that JRW doesn’t just end a book with a HEA the end period. But cheating? That’s harsh. V is so damaged so seeing him so torn up over this was some good reading.

The end was a little too pat for me. I mean, really. If you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Come on. The scene with the four of them and the babies? Seriously. After all that angst? Please. Gag me. The thing with Lassiter? The only way it could have happened. Tohr and Autumn? Sigh. I love those two. Qhinn and Blay? Blay deserves better. The only redeeming moment for Qhinn in this book was when Blay called and Qhinn dropped his vengeance and went after him. Overall, I was happy with this book.

Assail and Sola’s book is next.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars


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Retro Review: Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward

Posted March 8, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 16 Comments

Retro Review: Lover Enshrined by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #6
Also in this series: Lover Mine, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, The Chosen
Published by Signet Eclipse
Publication Date: June 3, 2008
Pages: 534
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three-half-stars

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love....

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on June 8, 2008.

Where to begin? This is going to be a review that is all over the place, b/c the book was all over the place. So I’ll try to dumb it down, more for my sake than yours.

With each BDB book, it is less about the couple in question and more about the Brotherhood and where it’s going. Lover Revealed was the platform for Lover Unbound. Lover Unbound was the platform for Lover Enshrined. Lover Enshrined was the platform for whatever JRW has planned next. That is really a shame b/c JRW can really write romance in a way that I certainly appreciate. So Lover Enshrined was less about Phury and Cormia and more about the direction that JRW is taking the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

There were way too many POV’s in this book. Coming from me, someone who loves different POV’s, that’s saying a lot. So I’m going to try to break the various characters and their situation down using one word and then a short description.

Phury/Cormia: yawn

While I’ve never professed to be a Phury fan, I’ve never disliked him either. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling the love between Phury and Cormia. Phury is nothing but a junkie. I felt no love for him. When all was said and done, I could have cared less about him or his addiction. Cormia, on the other hand, was surprisingly likable. At first I didn’t really care for her, but then I thought about exactly who she was and the world that she was now in. She grew the most out of all the characters. By the end of the book, I really admired her quiet strength. I had one huge peeve about Cormia. She didn’t refer to Phury as Phury until page 456. It was “Primale” this and “Primale” that. It really got annoying, even considering where Cormia came from.

John Matthew/Qhuinn/Blaylock: Amazing

These three are the reasons that I kept reading this book. You can tell that JRW has big plans for these three. Something happened between Lash/John Matthew/Qhiunn that I didn’t see coming (that’s not saying much). I really enjoyed the friendship between these three b/c you could tell it was genuine. There is nothing that they won’t do for each other. Nothing.

The brand name dropping/slang did get eye-rolling. Here’s one of my favorite passages. I could not stop laughing. This was when Qhuinn and Blay took John Matthew shopping.

John got jacked into some sweet ragged jeans, a bunch of those deconstructed button-downs, and a couple of tight muscle shirts, which even he had to admit showed off his guns and his pecs like they were worth seeing.

Yes, that amused me for a good long while.

Rehv/Xhex: Fascinating

This book was definitely a platform for Rehv’s book. JRW did a fantastic job of generating interest in the sympath’s, even more than she’s done in the past few books. There’s also a tiny peek into Rehv and Xhex’s past. Oh and does anyone know for sure if Xhex is John Matthew’s mate? Because I would be thrilled to see that. Finally a female character that is actually interesting.

The Lessers: Intriguing

Finally JRW has a direction for the Lessers. See, the Omega has a son. A son who is a vampire. I won’t spoil it, but it is revealed in the book. So while I wasn’t exactly thrilled with all the face time that the Lessers got, it wasn’t as yawn inducing as it has been in previous books. They finally have a purpose and a leader. A leader that can actually make trouble for Wrath as King as well as the BDB. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes.

So there are at least 9 different POV’s here. That’s why this book is so long. If it was whittled down to only Phury/Cormia, it maybe would have been 100 pages. Maybe. Oh, also, the friendship between John Matthew and Cormia was really sweet. I really enjoyed reading how John Matthew introduced Cormia to the wonders of technology and color. John Matthew is really going to be a special hero.

Oh and how could I forget??? TOHR IS BACK!! I know that wasn’t a big secret, but it was still a tad bit shocking. I’ve given up hoping that we’ll actually see his book within the next 10 years. I’m sure he has “a lot to do” before we’re able to get his book. I’m not bitter or anything, though. Wait, yes I am.

Other than that, I’m sure the die-hard JRW fans will love this book. As a paranormal romance, it really missed the mark. I’d say it’s more fantasy than anything else. Or maybe sci-fi? I can’t decide. I know that I will read the next book and probably the next one after that.

If I was only rating this book on romance, I’d have to give it a 2 out of 5. Everything combined, I give it:

3.75 out of 5.

Other books in the series:

Dark Lover Lover Eternal Lover Awakened Lover Revealed Lover Unbound

Read my review of Lover Unbound here.

three-half-stars


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Review: The Beast by J.R. Ward

Posted May 3, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Beast by J.R. WardThe Beast by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #14
Also in this series: Lover Mine, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Pages: 592
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Rhage and Mary return in a new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a series “so popular, I don’t think there’s a reader today who hasn’t at least heard of [it]” (USA Today).   Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…   For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…   And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world...and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from...  
From the Hardcover edition.

I stand by my feelings about J.R. Ward. Always. I still don’t have an inkling of an idea why I read her books when they keep getting worse. One of the reasons I read this book was because it was about Rhage and Mary. I loved their book. Lover Eternal was one of the best books in the series.

Rhage is just special. He always has been. He had my heart since he placed his order at TGI Friday’s. He ignored every female that looked his way and kept all his attention on Mary. He saw the special in Mary and he never let her go.

Fast forward to The Beast. I liked it because it shows that characters don’t always have HEA’s. They have problems just like normal couples do. Rhage has been having panic attacks for some reason that he doesn’t know about. Mary on the other hand, is deep involved in Safe Place. Safe Place is the safe house that Marissa created for women and children to come to that have been abused by their hellren’s. Mary is deeply involved with one of the children whose mother died.

They are together, but separate, something that is affecting both of them. While Mary is helping the young girl at Safe Place, it reminds her that she can never have children, something that she thought she had come to terms with it. She realizes she hasn’t. Soon she realizes that Rhage hasn’t come to terms with it either. But they have each other and that gives them both hope.

Then something extraordinary happens. They start spending time with the orphan and it brings them even closer together. Rhage instantly feels a parental instinct toward Bitty. The one thing that Rhage is terrified of is that Bitty will not want to be adopted by them if she ever sees his beast. Which she inadvertently does when Mary gets in trouble. Of course he has nothing to worry about because Bitty treats him like he’s a bit pet dragon.

Although they were always bonded, Bitty brings Mary and Rhage even closer. It was a beautiful thing to read. Seeing the growth of Rhage and Mary, Bitty or not, was beautiful. I have not given J.R. Ward such a high rating since the first 3-4 books. That’s how much I enjoyed this book. They’ve always been one of my favorite couples. This book just brings it back home. Rhage and Mary can conquer anything.

Rating 4.25 out of 5.


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Review: The Shadows by J.R. Ward

Posted April 10, 2015 by Casee in Reviews | 15 Comments

Review: The Shadows by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The Shadows by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #14, BDB #14
Also in this series: Lover Mine, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, The King, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 31st 2015
Pages: 592
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one-star

The #1 New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood as two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the s’Hisbe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer for years. On the run from a destiny of sexual servitude, he’s never been able to rely on anyone...except for his brother, iAm. iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing—and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Selena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around...but by then, it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due, and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating. Now Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others—or abandon the female he loves. When tragedy strikes and changes everything, iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice....

 

This is the worst BDB book that I have ever read. The only reason it’s not a DNF is because I bought the book instead of getting it from the library. Forget the series being a train wreck. The was like an explosion. An explosion of epic proportions. Just when you don’t think it can get any worse, it does. Definitely not worth the $12.71 e-book.

The book was mainly concentrated around Trez and iAm, the two Shadows that we’ve seen throughout the series. They both escaped from their people, the s’Hisbe years ago. The s’Hisbe have astrological charts that they follow closely and when Trez and iAm were born (twins), it was read in the stars by the priest that Trez would mate the Princess. Trez wants nothing to do with his people but escape. I don’t blame him. He was going to be a glorified breeder.

Trez and iAm have been living on the outside for years when the s’Hisbe call Trez back to mate with the Princess. The only problem now? Trez has mated with the Chosen Selena which gives him yet another reason not to go back. iAm knows that the Queen’s executioner s’Ex will come after both of them, so he started a plan to run long ago. Then Trez’s mate gets sick. Only a handful of Chosen get what the call the Arrest. Bone grows over their tendons and they are literally all bone. Everyone frantically looks for a cure. The only thing that makes Selena feel better is Trez.

Click for spoilers and my wrath.

View Spoiler »

I also don’t care about this garbage where she explains it all. I don’t care how a book “comes to you”. Nothing about what happened made Trez and Selena’s love more special. Someone flew over the cuckoo’s nest one too many times.

I’m also not a big fan of the Chosen themselves. That was about the only thing I agreed with in the above post. Layla’s pregnant with twins [snooze], Phury’s mate [snooze]. They’re just boring for lack of a better term. They don’t mean to be, I know, but they are. Selena wasn’t boring. Ugh. I’m not bitter, I’m just pissed off. I have stayed with this series since the beginning. Since before there was a message board and the crazy moderators that insulate JRW from us crazies. Back when JRW actually answered her own emails. I even read her other series. So W.T.F.

iAm got his HEA. Yay for him.

Rhage is having panic attacks for the love of God. That wasn’t really addressed. What Brother would have panic attacks? Seriously. Lame much? Don’t try to humanize them. They aren’t human.

The only thing that interests me now is the fighting. I want to see the next time someone tries to take the throne. I want to see what Throe is going to do now that he broke off from Xcor. I want to know what Xcor is going to do now that Xcor broke things off with Layla. Is everyone going to go after Wrath now? I want to know, but I will never, ever buy another of her books. J.R. Ward is firmly in the library category.

1 out of 5.

This book was published by NAL Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format (however, I recommend the library).

one-star


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Review: The King by J.R. Ward

Posted April 18, 2014 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The King by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The King by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #12
Also in this series: Lover Mine, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen
Published by Signet
Publication Date: April 1st 2014
Pages: 591
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars


Long live the King...

After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle—with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything—and everyone—at risk.
Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response—or the distance it creates between them.
The question is, will true love win out... or tortured legacy take over?

After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle–with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything–and everyone–at risk. Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response–or the distance it creates between them. The question is, will true love win out… or tortured legacy take over?

This book could have been an ending to a series that has gone on for a bit too long. The series started with Wrath and Beth and could have come full circle, ending with Wrath and Beth. Somehow, I don’t think that is what the author intended.

As usual, there were your slew of secondary characters. Wrath and Anha (Wrath’s parents). Trez and the Chosen Selena. Assail and Sola. iAm. Introducing a new character s’Ex. Yes, you read that correctly. John Matthew. The only one I found interesting was Wrath and Anha. The rest, after giving it the old college try (what does that even mean?), I skimmed or even skipped entirely.

When it came to Wrath and Beth, it was really fascinating. J.R. Ward showed the end of the happily ever after isn’t always, well, happy. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows. Wrath is King and he despises the responsibility that comes with it. Day in and day out, all he does is administrative duties that come with having to be the King of his race. Going completely blind is a handicap that had devastated him in a way that he hasn’t even shared with Beth. He can’t see his wife, not even the outline of her. He can’t protect her in the slightest way. He can’t fight. He feels impotent as a man. He is chained to a desk, being King to a race that only want to usurp him.

Beth knows that Wrath is unhappy, but she has no idea the extent of it. Over the last year, spending time with Zsadist and Bella’s baby, she has decided that she wants one of her own. She is perfectly aware of how strongly Wrath feels against having their own child, but she feels he will come around. She couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, he feels so strongly against it, he drives her out of the house and to her father’s. I was shocked that Beth left Wrath, even for the short time it was. It did open the door for them to communicate. Wrath communicated to Beth how unhappy he was and why. It was heartbreaking because Beth can’t do anything about it. He also apologized, but insisted that he couldn’t lose her by chancing a baby. Beth in turn told him that it had been a year since she had come to the realization that she wanted a baby. They both then realized together how far apart they had gotten. Mates or not, they could be unhappy. It was a revelation to them and to me as a reader.

In the end, I think this series has run its course. It’s a trainwreck for me. No matter what happens, I always get the book. So when the next book comes out, and I’m sure it will, I’m also sure that I’ll read it. However, these are library reads for me now. Books that I won’t waste my money on. Like I stated before, ending the Black Dagger Brotherhood series with The King would have been perfect. Full circle. Alas, it was not meant to be.

3 out of 5.

three-stars


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