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Stuff I'm reading... Mostly romance and Scifi/Fantasy.

Review: The King

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #12) - J.R. Ward

I was very relaxed going into this novel. I think because it was about an existing couple and I had no worries about their relationship or whether the author would do it well. I mean we all know Wrath and Beth are solid. Right? I just settled back and enjoyed the story.


As usual these books are written with multiple 3rd person POV's. The players in this were Wrath and Beth, Xcor and Layla, Trez and Selena, Assail and Sola, and last but not least, Wrath's father (Wrath) and his shellan Anha. Even though there were so many players it all came together clearly and easily and I enjoyed all the POV's except 'past' Wrath and Anha which was ok but I did get a little bored and skimmed some parts.


These characters are larger than life. They have a unique and immediately recognizable dialect and appearance. They have a well-known mythology and noble and secret traditions. They have amazing super powers. Everything is good vs evil. In fact if Marvel comics were written as full length novels I imagine they would look something like this. These Brothers are cult action heroes. Reading a new book about them has become like putting on a comfy pair of old slippers for me. I know exactly what I'm going to get and I know it will be entertaining. Plus I always cry at the end. This author knows how to get the tear ducts going with emotional endings.


So about the story. I'm putting everything under a spoiler tag although the spoilers are fairly mild IMO. Most of this is for me to remember what is going on when I pick up the next book in 2015 because I did have some problems picking up the thread from Lover At Last.



In this volume Wrath's position as King is threatened and the nasty glymera act against him with the aid of the Band of Brothers. There is some real growth here for Wrath as a ruler. The BD Brothers have always seemed very removed from their people and fairly untouched by the day to day problems their subjects face. I thought it was an important issue for the BDB's to face and I got a real sense of them being part of a wider community by the end. Plus there is some serious baby-drama going on cause Beth wants a kid and Wrath is too afraid for her to agree. I loved that bit. Heartstrings definitely 'plucked'. The 'wedding' scene with Lassiter was hilarious. The final resolution to all the political dilemmas is excellent and opens the series up while at the same time drawing a line between the old and the new.


Trez and his brother i.Am are Shadows (I think that means they are part of the warrior class) of a matriarchal society of vampires called the s'Hisbe (or maybe the ruler is called the s'Hisbe - I'm not a 100% clear on the terminology here). They are tough, black-skinned and have a few different powers to the BDB's, one of which is that they can disappear. We first saw them in Revhenge's book I think. They are club owners and deal in drugs and prostitutes. As a child Trez was promised to become hellren to the daughter of the s'hisbe Queen. If he accepts this he will be enslaved and we have seen him fighting against this in past books by sleeping with humans which is considered a 'taint' by s'hisbe society. He has fallen in love with Selena, one of the original chosen, and their forbidden romance gets a big boost in The King. We find out that Selena is suffering from a fatal illness but of course she keeps it from Trez. And the s'hisbe Queen is threatening Trez's family to force him to return and marry her daughter. This is a really enjoyable storyline. Trez and Selena have some major enemies and obstacles to face before their HEA. I wouldn't be surprised if Trez is forced back with the s'hisbe at some point in the future.


Xcor and Layla. What can I say? They have some serious 'Romeo and Juliet' crap going on in their lives. They are definitely a favourite with readers and I am no exception. Layla is pregnant to Xcor but he thinks someone else is the father. Xcor continues to plot against Wrath which wreaks havoc on Layla's love for her King. It's all very deliciously soap opera! Their tale reaches a crossroads in this novel too.


Assail and Sola. I can see there's not a lot of love out there for this couple and I don't understand it. Assail is definitely a bad guy. He's violent, a drug lord, and drug user himself. But he has a soft spot for clever human spy Sola. I actually prefer human heroines. They are more vibrant and headstrong than the Chosen (who can be overly innocent and unassuming and... boring... at times). I like that big reveal where the woman first finds out her hero is a dangerous vampire. Sola goes through some tough times here and she's still ignorant of Assail's true nature at the end. I loved Sola's grandmother taking over Assail's mansion and bringing his two bad cousins to heel. I find Assail a very tortured character and I'm looking forward to their book (which I think is still a fair way off). 


I saw some reviewers complaining that all the past characters weren't in the book. All I can say is Thank God! There is nothing worse than an author revisiting all the past couples in a series just to keep the fans happy. It always feels awkward and can lead to some very unbelievable and silly storylines. Here the presence of previous BDBers is kept to the necessary minimum. I thought the restraint the author showed on this issue really payed off.

(show spoiler)


I'm definitely on board for the next book in 2015!