April 9, 2014

REVIEW: The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12)

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12), by J.R. Ward
Published April 1, 2014
Penguin Group
e-book, purchased
adult paranormal romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads)
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?

In the immortal words of Ash from the Evil Dead franchise...

I've got to be honest. I was losing faith in The Warden. The last few books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series just didn't seem to have the same spark as those that came earlier. It seems as if ever since the new baddies on the block, the Band of Bastards (or, BOB), hit the scene, the story lines seemed to multiply and fragment, which detracted from the main Brother we were supposed to be focusing on. After reading The King, though, it truly felt like the magic was back. 

After trying, unsuccessfully, to oust Wrath from the throne with force, Xcor and the BOB have decided to try the legal route. They have teamed up with the glymera council to take the throne away from Wrath based on the idea that he mated with a half-breed, the product of which would never be a full-blooded heir. Meanwhile, Beth feels her biological clock ticking and wants a baby, despite Wrath's very strong feelings to the contrary. 

Wrath and Beth were the very first couple that J.R. Ward wrote about in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. For fans, this is where it all started. So, for her to go back to them and focus on their relationship now, after being together for several years, was somewhat cathartic. We all thought their story had been told. As it turns out, Ward had only scratched the surface.

Wrath's devotion to Beth has never been called into question. In fact, it is this intense devotion which has him paralyzed in fear at the thought of her having a child since many of the females of their race die in childbirth. It's understandable, but what is he to do when that is what she wants more than anything? He struggles greatly with this decision and doesn't always handle it well. 

And, while this is all going on, Wrath is also being hit from the other side by the smarmy glymera who are drafting papers with the assistance of Saxton's father to take the throne away from him because of his choice in a mate. 

As we have seen from Ward lately, there are multiple POVs in The King. Within the first 13%, we get POVs from Wrath's father, Wrath's mother (both in the form of flashbacks that happen periodically throughout the book), Wrath, Beth, Alocer, Xcor, Sola, Assail, Trez and John Matthew. I was concerned that with that many POVs, we were going to get more disjointed stories and not enough of the one I really wanted to read. 

And, then something awesome happened. Things started pulling together. The stories solidified and I got interested in them. All of them. Assail's and Sola's story came together in an incredibly dramatic fashion early on in the book, and an event caused them to end up at the Brother's house. Trez's obsession with the Chosen Selena grows and his ability to avoid her diminishes. iAm develops a bromance with Boo the cat (seriously - it was awesome). Xcor's fixation on Layla puts him at odds with the other members of the BOB. Which then affects the actions to dethrone Wrath. 

All the side stories seemed to come together in cool and interesting ways. There were interesting twists thrown in too involving both the baby situation between Wrath and Beth and the attempts to find a way around the glymera's attempts to castrate him via paper. I had an impossible time putting down this book. 

We don't see too much of the other brothers in The King. There is a lot of John Matthew, as peeks of Darius show through some more. We see Tohrment and Vishous as they help Wrath through his marital struggles, and Zsadist as he helps Wrath work through his mental blocks regarding having kids. Payne helps Wrath work out his frustrations. Other than that, there's only glimpses of the others - Rhage, Butch, Phury, Qhuinn, Blay, Xhex and Lassiter. I did miss the Brotherhood togetherness. 

J.R. Ward has already said that the next book in the series will be about Trez and iAm. Trez's story built up quite a bit in The King, and we learn a lot more about him, iAm, and their close relationship to each other. We find out about the impossible situation Trez is in, thanks to his horrible parents, and the lengths that iAm is willing to go to to save him. And, we saw how much he truly cares about Selena, who has some serious problems of her own. After the awesomeness that was The King, I have very high hopes for The Shadows.

1 comment:

Karen H said...

Believe it or not, I've never read J. R. Ward's books. But I do appreciate the review you gave on this book. Makes me want to add the series to my buy list.