I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The King by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #12
Narrator: Jim Frangione
Published by Penguin Audio on April 1, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Length: 22 hours, 4 minutes
Audio | 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?
Last year, I read Lupdilup’s (from Hot Listens) interview with Jim Frangione, the narrator of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and was extremely impressed with his approach to recording. I made a mental note to consider listening to one of the books, even though I’d read the first 11 and the novella. So, when I was offered the opportunity to preview the audiobook version of this book, I seized the moment.
Let’s just deal with the audiobook experience upfront. First, it was a revelation to hear the true pronunciation of some of the character names. Who knew Xcor was pronounced “Score”? I’d thought it “Ex-Cor”or “Z-Cor.” Plus, I now have clarity around all that odd terminology so common to the series. I loved listening to this story. Frangione actually changes pitch and cadence throughout the book, providing distinctions for all those storylines. It’s still incredible to me that he’s the sole voice recorded as, at times, he just sounded like three or four different people. I’m now a convert to this format for the series. He’s a pro.
I’m not going to rehash the story, as with most of the books in the series, there are multiple storylines with some resolved by the end and others continuing. Here are my impressions of the primary ones.
What I loved the most was the parallel stories of modern day Wrath and Beth and Wrath and Ana (his parents). I gained so much insight about how Wrath’s points of view were shaped and the legacy he inherited. It was fascinating to contrast the two relationships and the politics both faced. Well done.
The Assail/Sola story was intense and had me riveted. It was sometimes harsh but awfully exciting. I want more of these two.
The Trez/iAm/Selena situation was explored significantly. I learned so much more about these two and their back stories as well as Selena. There’s still so much more to figure out but at least they are all multidimensional now.
I was not a fan of Xcor, nor his “relationship” with Layla and still am not. However, the dynamics of their friendship are complex and fascinating (like watching a car wreck…you just can’t avert your eyes).
Saxton’s story really caught me by surprise. I’ve always liked him and now I’m an even bigger fan.
The political wrangling between Wrath, the Glymera and the Band of Bastards is the core of the book from where all the other stories circle. In my opinion, it created and maintained the tension throughout.
Speaking of the multiple storylines…
Some may not like the many stories Ward has in play and, honestly, there was a lot going on in this book. It works really well for me as that’s how my brain is wired…keeps me in the story and I’m never distracted. But you may find yourself struggling to keep up with all of the transitions if you’re not a fan.
The bottom line
I enjoyed this book a LOT! The audio experience certainly helped but I also felt Ward carried me deftly to all of the stories’ conclusions. There’s certainly a pivot in the direction of the series and I’m a bit excited about what may come next. I devoted 22 hours of my life listening to the book and it felt about half that. That’s a measure of success when a reader can get this immersed in a story.
I also love to talk about books. There’s nothing more exciting than to finish a great story and cover it A to Z with other people, exploring different perspectives and points of view. So, if you see something on my shelf you’d like to talk about, send me a message and we’ll talk!
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