I'm just now getting back into reading the Carpathians after such a long break. This was a good start. About Riordan, the youngest De La Cruz brotherI'm just now getting back into reading the Carpathians after such a long break. This was a good start. About Riordan, the youngest De La Cruz brother and Juliette a member of the jaguar shapeshifting species, this is a steamy and action-packed short read.
It has all of the Carpathian aspects that one would expect to see. The manner in which a Carpathian male is brought back to life by his destined lifemate. I have missed all that ritual and the culture of the Carpathians. It was interesting how Juliette and Riordan work out their new matehood. Juliette comes from a species that is highly sexual and Riordan has to get past his jealousy that Juliette was with other men. He isn't a jerk about it, but it's definitely part of his nature to be highly possessive. He loves Juliette, so he accepts that this is part of who she is. It turns out that Juliette is an excellent match for him. Strong and independent, and sensual. Juliette has some serious baggage, due to the dysfunctional social dynamics of the jaguar, the way they abuse their women. She lives with her younger sister, Jasmine and her cousin Solange, and none of them are overly fond of men, with good reason. My mind went to the fact that despite their dislike of men, they had to do their thing because of their species, physical needs. Perhaps in a longer book, Feehan could have delved into that whole jaguar dynamic. It was interesting, and seems to fit thematically with my last couple of Feehan reads, which were in the Leopard series.
This is full of sensuality that Feehan writes so well, and the action is very good and well-integrated into the story. I love reading about all the abilities of the Carpathians, and they're uniquely tailored to this story about a Carpathian with a jaguar shifter lifemate. Of course, it does end abruptly, as a short story. It left me wanting more of Juliette, Riordan, Jasmine and Solange, so that's a good thing.
I went ahead and got this in Darkest at Dawn, in which it's accompanied by Dark Secret, a more controversial Carpathian book, although it's one of my favorites....more
This was a group read for the Dangerous Hero Addict Support Group, and I'm glad it got voted for. It gave me that push to read Shelly Laurenston. I'veThis was a group read for the Dangerous Hero Addict Support Group, and I'm glad it got voted for. It gave me that push to read Shelly Laurenston. I've heard from many that she's a good author, and I actually have most of her Dragon books written under G.A. Aiken, but I just hadn't gotten around to reading her books written under this name.
One thing that one needs to understand about this book is that it's very heroine and women-bonding centered. Kera is a woman who needed strong bonds with women who had her back and who accepted her no matter what, and she found that with the Crows. At the same time, it's a romance, but the romance doesn't really develop until maybe 70 or so pages into the novel. Having said that, I found this very enjoyable. It's really funny and every character is a real 'character'. There's even a dog that manages to steal some scenes.
I liked Vig, a lot. He's a dangerous hero, but in a cuddly kind of way (when he's not in battle mode and ripping people's arms off.) He's very supportive to Kera, and I'd call him the perfect boyfriend. I would say the cover is highly misleading. I tried not to be embarrassed about it when I'd have it at work and my coworkers saw it. Vig has a big beard and lots of hair. He's not a clean-shaven male model type. I guess the publishers didn't think people would go for a cover with Vig as he looks in the book. It seems to me that having big beards is very much in vogue, so I'd find that intriguing if the cover actually reflected that (not that like facial hair, because I don't). I like that Vig was comfortable with himself and thus with Kera as she was. I think that's so crucial in a relationship that people accept you as you are. They want the best for you, but they aren't constantly trying to change you. The romance worked for me because it was built on mutual like and respect, as well as passion and strong emotion.
This book is pretty violent, with descriptive action scenes. It wasn't over the top, and after reading Matt Reilly this past month, it seemed kind of mild, to be honest. The story is about a violent subculture of fighters for the Norse gods who go all out. I wasn't surprised for it to be violent with that expectation. The story itself is intriguing and makes me want to keep reading this series.
So I really liked this one. I liked Kera a lot. She was a real person and I appreciated her strengths and weaknesses. She was very caring, but tough as well. I loved the multicultural feel to this book. There are people of just about every race and ethnicity. And considering this is based on Norse mythology, it was cool that Laurenston was able to achieve this. I also loved how the Crows are all strong women but not all cut from the same mode. I love when the diversity of strong women is presented instead of making it seem like all women have to be the same to be strong and confident.
There was a lot to appreciate about this book. Four well earned stars....more
So, this is my review of the latest Ward book. I love this time of year, and the traditions that come alone with it as a long-time JR Ward fan. It's aSo, this is my review of the latest Ward book. I love this time of year, and the traditions that come alone with it as a long-time JR Ward fan. It's a big part of why I enjoy this series so much.
Sorry, but this is a really long review. I had a lot to say!
Possible Spoiler Disclaimer: I will warn readers that while I really tried not to use overt spoilers, you will see that there is an emotional shock that comes in this book, but I don’t reveal exactly what it was. Readers beware!
The Shadows is the telling of the story of the two s’Hisbe brothers who have become unofficial members of the Brotherhood’s growing family. Trez is running away from his destiny, written in the stars, as the future mate of the Princess of the s’Hisbe. He’s done everything he could to disqualify himself, but the time is growing short and he can run no longer. iAm has stood in the gap for his brother for many years, trying to keep his brother from going over the edge of oblivion to the exclusion of having his own life. But the time is coming when he won’t be able to save his brother. Trez is stone cold in love with the Chosen, Selena, but for many reasons, a happy ending doesn’t seem to be written in their destinies. Will iAm ever get the chance to build his own life, and to make decisions that aren’t dictated by his sacrificial love for his brother?
With a storyline that like, you know there’s going to be major drama.
Drama is JR Ward’s calling card. When I read one of her books, I automatically expect it. It’s hard, at the same time, waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it often does, very hard. I deliberately took my time reading this, preparing myself for the emotional blows sure to come. Not at all sure that there would be a happy end by the last page. I know a lot of people weren’t happy with this book, and I was prepared that I might not be, or that I might like it and find myself an outlier in saying why I liked it. So, it was emotionally stressful for me to read it. Another reason to take my time.
Some have argued that Ward has moved away from her initial writing of romance. I’m not sure I agree. Even in her earlier book, there was always a sense that not everything was settled, and while there were committed and happily mated couples, troubles could be lurking around the corner. Yes, the books were shorter and they focused more on the romance, but there was always something more, and plenty of drama. As the series has progress, the books have expanded, and with them, the storylines. And yes, the drama quotient. At times, it’s wearying how the storylines get dragged out and she introduces yet another set of new characters instead of giving more resolution on current storylines. This book was not different in that regard. And there were parts of this book that ripped my guts out and gave me a headache that was just a shade below a migraine. I wanted to slap one particular character super-duper silly. And I wanted to shake another one. I wanted to rail at the capriciousness of life, and ask the whys. But at the same time, I was satisfied at the end of the story. Hence my rating.
My opinion won’t be popular on this book amongst many of my friends. Largely, I really enjoyed this book. While there were some parts that were terribly sad and that made me sob like a big old baby, I felt that JR Ward delivered the quality of storytelling I appreciate about her writing. I’m not the one to tell you if she messed up specific details. I love this books a lot, but I don’t always remember which hand of Vishous glows or which eye of Qhuinn’s is blue versus green. To me, I don’t find that terribly important. I do care about the stories and the emotional journey. I don’t care if she rewrites some aspects of the storyline, because that’s to be expected in a long-running series. As an artist, one’s creation will evolve, and Ward views these people as real, probably as real as they seem to me, but probably even more real. And real people do change.
I will say this as well, I believe in eternal life. I believe that life doesn’t end on this plane. I believe that death is an enemy in that it steals love ones away from their beloveds, hopefully not forever, but sometimes it is forever. Our mortal bodies fail us and we leave this life and go to another place. I’m a Christian, so I believe that Heaven and Hell are real. For the Brothers, it’s the Fade. But I think the pain is the same, knowing that you won’t see a beloved again in this life. And when one is dying, it’s facing one’s mortality, and the question of whether what you’ve believed that whole time was real or not.
My two cats (that I had for pretty much their whole, long lives) died this past fall, and it broke my heart to pieces. They were older and I should have been prepared. I work in animal medicine, and I lost my dad about ten years ago, so death is not new to me. But it still wrenched my soul to lose them. It’s funny what people say and don’t say to you when you lose someone. I had people say some things that were quite ugly even though they didn’t mean it that way, and that didn’t help my emotional healing. I also had people who ministered to me in my grief, and understood exactly how I felt. They can’t know how much they helped me, but I say a prayer of thanks that God put them in my path at the right time.
I think this book touched me because I saw one of the characters go on that journey. The stages of grief were so tangible to me because of my recent loss (and quite honestly, I also lost a church friend recently, so I was dealing with that as well). I could feel what it was like for this character and the pain of losing a person, but also the fact that they could not ever have regrets about having loved that person, for however short that time was. It’s real for me. I don’t know, but I’m thinking that Ward went through a loss recently, and she wrote this from her heart. I connected with that, and I can see why she didn’t change the ending to a “happy, joy, joy” one that would be expected.
Sometimes, that’s not the way life works. Sometimes, you lose people and you have to get out of bed the next day. You have to attend to the ceremonies that come along with the loss and keep one foot in front of the other until you can walk without falling. Sometimes you have to be strong so you can be strong for another person who needs that strength, and put your own needs aside. That was all so real to me, and very well-written.
Others may not like how that was done. I respect that. While it sucked that this person died, it was also valuable in the terms of the story. I can’t fault Ward for that decision. I’ve seen her make others in her stories that I was more angry about. I think she handled the situation with grace, even in the most ugly and emotionally wrenching parts. I think she knows that people are going to be angry with her, and she owns it. I respect her for that.
Speaking of things that made me angry, Xcor was a real tool in this book. I had started seeing more potential for him as a future hero in the past few books, but now I’m just annoyed at him and I question his value as a future love interest for a certain person. I really disliked what he did, for numerous reasons. Those who know my tastes can probably pinpoint why, and can understand why I wanted to bitchslap him. It’s not that I don’t understand his character or the whys but it was a jerk move. At some point you have to stop being a whiny baby and say no to the past and declare a better future. I hold out hope that he’ll get a clue, but he’ll need to get a cleansing deep inside and outside before everything will be okay with me.
I continue to like Layla’s character. She’s really growing as a three-dimensional character in her own right. I wasn’t happy about that storyline with Qhuinn at first, but now I’m okay with it. I think it’s an interesting dynamic, and I want to see where things lead with her and her ancillary relationship with Qhuinn and Blay. I just want her to have a Hellren who is worthy of her. She deserves it! I hope the male she’s in love with gets his head out of his rear end sometime soon.
One of the things I absolutely loved about this book was the relationship between iAm and Trez, and how things turned around, and the one who always made sacrifices got to be the one who was put first in a crucial way. iAm is a really classy guy, a worthy male, and while Trez did have some jerk moments in the past few books, I really liked him in this book and felt for him. He proves to be a very worthy male (although I don’t agree with his view of prostitution being okay as long as the women get the lion’s share of their earnings). Yes, they don’t consider themselves black or African American, but I liked that they do represent people of color in this book so well. I also found the s’Hisbe culture fascinating. In some ways, it’s not super well-defined, but it’s intriguing to me. An interesting compare and contrast to the Vampire and Sympath cultures. ‘s’Ex is some kind of dude. On the real! He has swagger like my beloved Rehvenge, and that is a very nice comparision from a reader who is stone cold in love with Rehv! I hope we see more of him. I like one of the new characters introduced very much, which I cannot reveal as a spoiler. Thumbs up for her. That was super-sweet too what happens with her and another character.
A few things I was indifferent about as well. I am indifferent about the Lesser storyline. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. We’ll see what happens in the next book. I can’t make up my mind how I feel about Assail. I hate drug abuse/activity, so he’s got a major strike against him. At the same time, I do appreciate the pragmatism of his character. I think he truly is amoral, and he sticks true to that. I’m not sure if he’ll turn out to be an antihero or a full on villain. I have this sick appreciation for a good antihero, I freely admit.
I feel like the Band of Brothers storyline was underrepresented in this book, but I think Ward is saving it for the next book and chose to focus on other aspects. It will be interesting to see what happens between Xcor and Throe (and I’m glad that Wrath ain’t nobody’s fool when it comes to that situation). I wish she’d spent more time on the BoB instead of developing the new storyline with Paradise. I don’t hate her, but I can’t say I really care that much about her right now. Having said that, I’ll definitely be reading the spinoff series, even though I think it’s Ward’s bid for the New Adult niche (and I’m not interested in that genre).
So, yes, I think I could go on about this book, but I’ve already written such a long review. It won’t change anything. I’m pretty set on how I rated the book. I own it. I liked this book a whole lot. I enjoy Ward’s writing. I love the elegance of the old races she writes about, juxtaposed to the gritty modern world. I even like the thug slang and urban ways of the Brothers (as odd as some find it). I know a lot of folks hate that, but I feel that it’s characteristic of her writing, and I smile every year when I get to hang out with the Brothers and their ever-growing circle of acquaintances. I think that Ward really loves writing about these characters and that joy is infectious to me as a reader. I wish that some of my favorites were more front and center, but most of them had their day in the sun and it’s time to let someone else take the center focus. I will say it was nice to see more of Rhage and Mary in this book.
I guess I’m always going to enjoy Ward’s book for what they are. I don’t expect her to be a perfect writer. She has her quirks like any other artist, but I think she’s a darn good writer, and I love this world she’s created, even more with each book. I added The Shadows to my BDB hardcover shelf with a feeling of proprietary pride. Enough Said! ...more
It took me a while to process my thoughts after reading this. I love Christine Feehan's books. She's got her quirks, for sure, but she is one of my auIt took me a while to process my thoughts after reading this. I love Christine Feehan's books. She's got her quirks, for sure, but she is one of my autobuy authors for a reason. I liked this book, but I disliked some prominent aspects enough that I had to knock my rating down to 3.5 stars. I will try not to get too graphic in describing why, but I hope that no one is offended by any content in this review. I will refer to the hero as "the hero", because if I call him something else, it's a spoiler.
I am not an erotica fan when it comes to romance. This book has definitely crossed the line into erotica. In fact, some love scenes actually felt downright porny to me. There is actually too much sex in this book, and not because sex is not good or wrong, but it doesn't really add to the story after a certain point. Plus, some of the sex scenes were not appealing to my taste. Thankfully, there is no anal sex or content, but there were still some sex aspects I felt were not necessary in a romance novel. A lot of it ties into the hero's dominant proclivities. I know a lot of romance fans really like that D/s stuff, but I don't like it. I think it's counter to what I love about a deep, strong romantic bond. I like a mutual submission and I like that there's give and take and that both parties can be strong and gentle instead of one person always having the reins. I think that if a hero always wants control in the bedroom 100%, that says a lot about his personality as a partner, and that comes across loud and clear with the hero. I'm not for that in a relationship. If the author goes there, it needs to be well done, and so far, I don't think it's been done in a book to my satisfaction, not that I'm looking for that, because I'm not. In this book specifically, it was a big turnoff for me, more than anything else. Frankly, I love when the hero is all tough and lethal and growly, but the heroine has him wrapped around her little finger. That's really sexy to me. Not a hero who's always giving orders and wants control, even in the most intimate and safest of places, the bedroom. The bedroom needs to be a place of trust and absolute security. Not a place where the roles are so locked into place that it's all taking from one party (and I don't mean orgasms).
I have no problem with oral sex, but I don't like the forced/aggressive kind of aspect to it that has a certain name that won't go into on this review. There was another oral sex act that is straight out of a porno that I was like, "Not so much." I also don't like spanking used as punishment for a grown woman included in sex. Even if the heroine likes it, it feels wrong to me. Your mileage may vary.
I love stalkerific heroes like a house on fire. I like when the hero is crazy and even obsessed with the heroine. I find that highly appealing. But there is a limit to it in this way: I don't like when the hero is super-controlling or dominant. Especially in bed. And also in that he wants the heroine to live life according to his rules. I'm not against a hero who wants to protect the heroine and feels like he knows best. Especially if he does know more about keeping the heroine safe than she does. But he shouldn't feel like he has the right to administer corporal punishment if she fails to follow his instructions. I mean, Really???
I don't like that a hero always wants sex to be his way and feels like he has to train his heroine to accommodate his needs. In that sense the hero crosses the line with me. He made a point of saying that he was a rough man and he had certain needs. He had already determined that was his woman, and he would have to train her to his way of doing things. To me, that's not really showing love. Love is when you accept people for who they are essentially. You don't try to change them, making the assumption that they will like changing for you and doing things your way. He knew how Catarina grew up, but he didn't even try to gentle himself for her, considering that she had been in a controlling situation her whole life before him. While the hero did love Catarina, and he cared for her and made sure her needs were met, I felt their relationship was a 60/40 relationship, with the balance his way. Catarina is very young, and I can't help wondering if she's happy with the hero just because he's all she's known other than the life she ran away from. She loves that he focuses on her, compliments her and takes care of him, and is willing to accept his need for control. She loves what he does to her sexually, but how does she know she wouldn't like a more gentle lover? She doesn't. As she grows, I feel that she will eventually find that control to be a stranglehold on her. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.
I loved Catarina. She was a cool heroine. I liked the aspect of her being a master chef and barista, and that she taught herself to read. I liked that she had found a home at the dojo and working in the cafe shop, her own life, what she deserved.. The hero frankly ruined that for her. I didn't mind that she was complaint and submissive. Truth be told, she was way too good for the hero. I think he needed to work harder to be worthy of her in my eyes. To clarify, I felt like she needed a different hero based on her past. The hero was a bit too much like the man she was running away from, and if that is the case, I think the resolution could have been stronger than how it occurred. There was one aspect I loved, because you could see how deeply the hero cared for the heroine at what happens near the end. I'm sorry that it took this, frankly. I think there needed to be more of a confrontation between the hero and Rafe, the man she was running away from. Instead, there was the big smack down but no words exchanged as humans. I would have loved seeing the hero hand the jerk the beating he deserved. I feel that Feehan always writes awesome heroines and I usually love her heroes, with rare exception. This hero is definitely an exception for me.
I always like the parts of this series where the hero and heroine run as big cats. I think that part was too short. I'm a cat fancier, and I always get a kick out of the H/h running free together. I would easily have sacrificed one or more love scene for more of this. It's one of the best aspects of this series. The animal nature is so integral to the characters, and it should be more of a plot element than making the hero require rough sex.
It was great to see Emma and Jake again. It made me want to reread Burning Wild again. I just might!
Despite its issues, this was a very readable book, and I couldn't hardly put it down. Feehan knows how to write paranormal romance and compelling stories. I think I expect a lot from her, so that's part of why I was disappointed with this book. I feel that the hero just didn't work for me, and the sex aspects were unnecessary and unappealing. I still have high hopes for Elijah's book. I have been wanting his story for a long, long time....more
Anastasia Lockhart gets sent to stay with her grandparents after yet another incident of getting into trouble. Labeled as a bad girl, she is fSynopsis
Anastasia Lockhart gets sent to stay with her grandparents after yet another incident of getting into trouble. Labeled as a bad girl, she is frustrated with the fact that that is all she's seen as, not given a chance to forge a different path. As a result, she's cautiously optimistic about going to Cedar Falls, a small town in Ontario, Canada. Once she's arrived in Cedar Falls, she encounters Frost Stone, an incredibly good-looking outcast who seems as drawn to her as she is to him, despite her determination not to fall for the wrong guy again. Anastasia encounters her old friend Chloe Fairbanks and faces bullying from local queen bee, Kate McKinley, whose clique Chloe has joined. Once again, Anastasia finds herself being labeled the bad girl as Kate blackens her reputation, and things get more sinister when a series of animal attacks escalates public hysteria. Could the animal attacks be related to Frost, and can Anastasia find the strength to stand up for herself against bad gossip and bullying?
Frostbitten has lots of atmosphere, with its cold winter setting and the eerie yet seductive beauty of the Canadian wilderness. Anastasia is a sympathetic heroine, due to her history of bad mistakes and her struggle to stand strong against mean-spirited gossip and bullying. Frost is both gorgeous and sweet, with a nice dose of alluring mystery. What's problematic with this book is that it seems to tread into too familiar territory in young adult paranormal romance, the girl falling for the bad boy who may or may not be hiding paranormal origins. I would have liked the characters besides Anastasia to be better developed. I felt as though I was merely seeing Frost through Anastasia's eyes and he never solidified into a standalone character in his own right.
The struggles Anastasia faces in her new high school were poignant, especially as terrible, hurtful lies are being told and she's put into the role of outcast, despite her hopes to escape her past similar situations. I would have liked to see more development of the relationship between Anastasia and her grandparents, especially since it's so pivotal to the storyline.
The action and paranormal elements are well done, and I liked the folklore foundation for the story, although it feels fairly thin at this point. I feel that with better development and more fortification of the world-building, it could definitely carry this potential series well into subsequent books.
Overall, Frostbitten is a good young adult paranormal novel. The feelings between Anastasia and Frost seemed genuine, and I liked them as a couple. I would have liked more character development all around, except for Anastasia, and a stronger story. But I think readers who enjoy young adult paranormal romance will like this book.
I am seriously in love with the Prakenskiis, and I have to say that Maxim is my favorite now. He's a mad, bad, dangerous man but heI loved this book!
I am seriously in love with the Prakenskiis, and I have to say that Maxim is my favorite now. He's a mad, bad, dangerous man but he loves so good! I had no clue that this tough, lethal man that we met at the beginning of this book could be such a sweet, gentle, loving guy to Airiana. I think that is Feehan magic, how she creates this guys who are lethal and ruthless, but then they are so deeply in love with their heroines, that I end up sighing as I read the book. Now this won't work for some readers, but I am such a sucker for the mix of action and suspense and romance, and Feehan has delivered both in such a delicious combination in this book.
I will confess that she's autobuy for me and I didn't even read the synopsis. I was there because I knew it was a Prakenskii hero. I didn't read the blurb until I opened the book to read it, and I was like, 'cool.' So I didn't have much preconceived notions, but I was just in it for the ride, and what a fun, wonderful ride it was.
Most of the book takes place away from Airiana's sisters, but I didn't mind that. I think that the situation was crafted very well to the lead characters. While somethings will always be the same about Feehan's books (but those things are why I read her), the situation felt different in an appealing way. Maxim is in no way a carbon copy of his brothers. And Airiana is also distinctive from her 'sisters'. Despite her air element, she's actually quite cerebral and far from flighty and hippie-chick, like I was suspecting. I liked the backstory of her life and how it ties into Maxim's story. Airiana is a tough young woman. For such a small, delicate person, she can hold her own and she was quite the action heroine in this book. She's really a very cool, down to earth, mature for her age woman. She gets my seal of approval.
I feel that Feehan does a good job of plotting and tying her stories together. and this fits very cohesively into the series. She makes the idea of the 'Sisters of the Heart' all ending up with Prakenskiis a lot more plausible than one would expect. I'll admit that I am fine with it because I can't get enough of these guys.
I liked that the love scenes come later in the book. Considering how dangerous Airiana and Maxim's situation was, it made a lot more sense. I can't stand when they take an inappropriate 'sex break' in romantic suspense novels. When the the love scenes come, they are blisteringly sexy but also very romantic. Although both are wounded, the 'getting busy' part isn't implausible. the love scenes say so much about the love journey of these two characters. You can see how much Maxim cherishes Airiana and you can also see that Airiana truly trusts Max and gives her heart unreservedly. That makes me sigh happily.
There is a really cool twist in this book that I really liked, and it adds to the believability of Maxim settling into a normal life, which he never had because of his family and their tie to the Russian government. There was some horrible tragedy and wrongness in this book, but I think that Max and Airiana were in exactly the right place at the right time and they will make things right.
I really can't say enough good things about this book. I wanted to read it again right after I finished it. Lately, I've felt less sucked into books, and this book certainly breaks that trend for the better. I rejuvenates my romance novel juices and makes me want to go on a reading tear. I have a need for more high octane romance novel action books like this, with a yummy hero and heroine I really like for this long, hot summer I am facing! Please write the next book soon, Ms. Feehan!...more
It was great to read the story of how Gideon and Savannah met. I must say that they are one of my favorite Breed couples, and I always wondered how thIt was great to read the story of how Gideon and Savannah met. I must say that they are one of my favorite Breed couples, and I always wondered how they got together. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn't like it quite as much as I wanted to though. I think that was because Gideon is so sex-bombalicious nerdtastic in the other books, I wanted to see more of his oh-so alluring geekiness. Instead, he was much like the other Breed males in his demeanor although there was a cool part about him creating a precursor to the laptop we know and love today (cause guess what I'm typing this review on right now?). Thus, this book didn't really stand out that much from the other books. That was probably my biggest issue and why this wasn't higher rated. Also, I didn't like (view spoiler)[how Gideon promised not to fight in the field because of Savannah's fear of it. To me, it makes her into the bad guy to take that away from him. Fact is, they live in a world with a lot of violence, and I think that Gideon's status as a warrior is honorable and something to be proud of. Yes, there is risk, but he's very good at what he does. I wouldn't want to take that away from him. It does answer why he doesn't fight, but since he had a bullet stuck in his head, that was just as good a reason for him not to fight (hide spoiler)]. Even though Gideon wasn't as geeky, I still liked him a lot. I love his typical British colloquialisms, which we see in this novella as well.
What I loved was getting to know Savannah. I really, really like her. She's very young, but she has a maturity that I respected about her. She's a very intellectual person with a keen mind, and I could see part of why they were drawn to each other. Also her strong sense of right and wrong, and that traditional heroic urge, which is addressed in the novella. When she gets a vision of Gideon by touching his sword, you could instantly feel that bond begin between them, and when they meet, the rest is inevitable.
One thing that stood out to me was that Adrian stays grounded in the 70s setting throughout this book. The scene when Gideon tells her to call the Order, she has to grab coins out of her purse and run outside to a pay phone. That was really well done. At first, I expected her to pull out her cell phone, and I would imagine that would be Adrian's gut instinct to write that, but she remembers that they don't have cell phones at that time. I was instantly reminded that this is set about thirty-odd years in the past. She didn't have to keep hitting me over the head with descriptions of bell-bottoms and stuff like that either.
Ultimately, if you're a fan of the Breed series, I don't see why you wouldn't like this. It has the same feel and intensity of the other books. I think the biggest draw was getting to see Gideon and Savannah's backstory on paper, and although it was a short novella, it was well done and I believe in their love, past, present and future. Of course, it was awesome to see more of Tegan, 'cause I just love him!
And I'm really happy to see a popular paranormal romance novelist who is upfront and comfortable with depicting a loving, committed interracial relationship in her books. Kudos for that, Ms. Adrian.
A respectable four star read for me. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I am not overstating to say that the release of the new Black Dagger Brotherhood series book is a highlight of my spring, and I view it as JR Ward's pI am not overstating to say that the release of the new Black Dagger Brotherhood series book is a highlight of my spring, and I view it as JR Ward's present to me for my birthday! That said, let's get to my review:
**Disclaimer: This review is as spoiler-free as I could make it!
Wrath, Son of Wrath and Beth Randall have come a long way since Dark Lover, and it's been my pleasure to accompany them on the ride!
When I first read Dark Lover (about eight years ago), I will be honest in saying that my biggest draw was not Wrath or Beth, but the world and the storyline of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the strange world within a world of Caldwell, New York. While I enjoyed their relationship, it didn’t blow me away, and neither character is my favorite in this series. However, I knew I was going to keep reading the series, and boy am I glad.
With The King, I feel that an immensely important chapter has been closed in the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and it makes me happy because I feel that all the Brothers and their Shellans have found peace and the close bond of family, drawing close friends into their net. I also feel a sense of excitement in knowing that the storyline can continue and branch off in different ways and directions, and the waters seem uncharted. While there are tendrils that Ms. Ward has planted in this novel, I honestly don't feel I can predict too much about what is coming next. It's going to be fun to see where the story leads, and I am in no way ready for this series to end.
I feel we got to see some added depth to Wrath that was very good for expanding my view and appreciation of the King. He came to terms with some major hurts and issues he was facing, and I felt the flashbacks were a crucial aspect of the storyline. Wrath always regretted that he could not save his parents and he divorced himself from the concept of family and his legacy so long out of a sense of fear and guilt. In this book, he came to terms with his past and how his future did not have to be governed or hemmed in by fear. I loved his evolution as a King and what that responsibility came to mean for him. It was joyous for him to get everything he needed, but didn't even realize he wanted. Even though I know things didn't end well for his parents, their powerful love for each other and their son was still inspiring to me.
Beth's storyline was thought-provoking. She was all over the place emotionally, and I understand why. I feel that she was at some of her deepest lows and her highest highs both in this book. While the story is about her, as Wrath's shellen, I think that more of the story was about Wrath. Her role seems more peripheral, but in a pivotal way. I still enjoyed reading about her character journey in this book. Beth is the best Queen for the race, and I can think of no other shellan to stand at Wrath's side.
Beth and John Matthew
I think this book explored their relationship in a more satisfactory fashion than any of the proceeding books. They know they have each other's backs, and the readers as well. Also, it shows that although you may have your desired life partner, you also need the connection of family (blood and found). I almost thought the thing Ward said would never happen was going to happen, but it turns out that it wasn't necessary. I like the way the story unfolds instead. That John Matthew remains his own person, and his relationships with others aren’t hinged on his secret heritage.
Xcor remains a complicated male, not quite likable in many moments, and captivating and deeply sympathetic in others. Since I like my characters complex, he definitely has my interest, and he may turn out to be a new favorite of mine in this series. He remains a wild card in this new series arc, his behavior not the slightest bit predictable. To his great surprise, his feelings for a certain Chosen have opened closed off parts of his psyche, and this cannot be a bad thing at all. I think he will have a potential enemy in his own nest, but he’s not unaware of that.
Layla is on shaky ground, but she is making her own choices and defining herself as a female. In her own way, she may have helped to avert a war that wasn’t going to end well, and that’s a good thing. I’m happy about that. I’m very excited to see where the story leads her next.
Assail and Sola
Assail is probably the most amoral of the lead characters in this series to date. His behavior chilled me at times, but he was also very sweet in others to Sola and her grandmother. It’s hard to know what to make of him. I hope we see more of his viewpoint. I can’t believe their road ends here. Sola’s in a place where she has to deny the desires of the heart. How long will she be able to tune out the siren call of her unwise feelings for Assail, who logically seems like a ‘very bad man?'
The Shadows: Trez and iAm
I am jubilant at the expansion of their storyline. These two promise to be a gamechanger in the series. We will finally explore the world of the s’Hisbe, and what a fascinating world it is. Trez has been running from his past for a long, long time, dragging his brother iAm along for the bumpy ride, as iAm has ever been his self-appointed guardian. iAm will soon step out of his brother’s shadow and find his own destiny, since Trez must soon face the music. Trez’s character is both repellant and alluring. He breaks my heart in many ways, but I feel hope for his future. I am drawn into this exploration of the dark path he has walked. The Shadows, once merely loyal allies of the Sympath King, have their own grand tale to be told.
I didn’t expect her secret struggle at all. Another case of ‘keep reading’ to see how she will get her happy ending. And she had better!
The Usual Suspects
It's always a pleasure to see the various characters who have had their books, and at the same time, I want more of them. I don't think the WARDen could ever sate my desire for enough of each character, honestly.
JR Ward, like every other author, has her own distinctive voice. There are aspects to her storytelling that turn off some readers. While I can see where she can overdo some of her affectations (like the brand name dropping and the copious use of slang), I love reading her writing. I feel that her depiction of the ancient culture of the vampires and their various subspecies is very poetic and dramatic, like an epic in its own way. Her romantic exposition lushly romantic and deeply sensual. It wraps around me like the dark spices her bonded males exude for their mates. Her tendency to adapt an urban vibe doesn’t bother me, because I think it’s an interesting juxtaposition to the very antiquated rituals of the vampires. While I can’t deny that the Black Dagger Brotherhood is at its heart a soap opera (not a bad thing in itself), it’s an enthralling one that draws me in and doesn’t let go of me until I read the last page (although the stories and characters continue to linger deep in the recesses of my imagination long after I finish the books). I feel like the Brothers, their shellans, and their friends/associations are part of my family, and each book release is like a yearly family reunion that I don’t dare miss. If only I was as excited to go to my real life family reunions!
I’m sure that I could nitpick about the things I felt could have been better written, but I don’t want to. It won’t make me feel I wrote a better review, and I’m not sure it would change my rating at all. I just want to bask in the glow of a new release of one of my top three series. I don’t drink JR Ward Kool-Aid, but I certainly enjoy her fine literary comestibles.
**The countdown has begun until next year’s release.**