I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Shadows by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #13
Narrator: Jim Frangione
Published by Penguin Audio on March 31, 2015
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Length: 22 hours, 8 minutes
Amazon | Audio | Goodreads
Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.
Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on... 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 Serena 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.
Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice...
This is a difficult review to write without being spoiler-ish but I’ll give it my best shot.
Trez & Selena
This is primarily Trez and Selena’s story and most of the book is devoted to them. What worked? I wasn’t ever really invested in either character (he’s a manwhore on steroids, she’s one of those seemingly vacuous Chosen) so the fact that I cared deeply for both by the end of the book was a fairly large feat. It’s beautifully written, evoking some breathtaking emotions that caught me off guard. It’s also what didn’t work about the story and you’ll just have to read it to understand my meaning. iAm’s role in the story deserved…more. He’s impacted significantly.
Other plot line highlights
Two of the characters who will be the focus of the legacy spinoff series are introduced, one with lots of information, the other really sketchy. It was enough to whet my appetite for the new series.
The situation between Layla and Xcor continued to be explored with some surprises on both ends, some you’ll embrace, others you may find distasteful…I did. I’m not a fan and nothing happens here to change my point of view.
One of the more curious aspects of the story involved Rhage, who we haven’t heard much of since the second book of the series. His behavior was bizarre and I’m uncertain about just what was the point. I could speculate but won’t. He also deserved better.
The continuing storylines surrounding Assail, the Band of Bastards, Throe and others moved forward somewhat. They’re interesting and puzzling at the same time. Classic Ward, leaving lots of loose threads.
I enjoy Jim Frangione’s approach to this series. The writing is campy enough without him adding to it so he plays it pretty straight. That’s what works for me. And! He met with the author prior to recording this one and straightened out the character name pronunciations.
The bottom line
The author’s personal experiences during the past year appear to have significantly influenced this story. While it is poignant and heartbreaking, I’m not convinced it was the character’s story. It just felt off. While I was engaged throughout, there’s a distinct difference between the first and second halves. And, if there was any doubt that the series was shifting from paranormal romance and more towards urban fantasy, it’s pretty much confirmed with this book. I give credit to the fine writing and audio performance. I just don’t think it was the right 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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