I started reading this book totally prepared to put it way down on my list of BDB favs. I was already tweaked because of the cover. In ever iterationI started reading this book totally prepared to put it way down on my list of BDB favs. I was already tweaked because of the cover. In ever iteration where the Shadows are described, they are said to favor African Americans. Then I got a look at the cover and what is clearly a very tanned Caucasian male. So I waffled back and forth about whether I would buy the book or get it from the library. I only "pre-ordered" it on March 26th. Now I sit here with my wadded up tissues desperately trying not to like it and fighting the urge to go back and read some of the passages.
As with all BDB novels, this book does not deal with Trez and iAm only. There are a couple other stories going on but I will start with the main one. I've wanted Trez to have Selena since he first started peeking around corners to get a glimpse of her. In The King, I kept trying to work out in my head how they could get around the Anointed One thing so they could be together. There's also the addition of Selena having a life threatening disease. Selena made Trez a better person. I believe, even though he detested the bonds of his status, he was formed into who is because he is the Anointed One. I mean what person wouldn't become a little narcissistic when from your first breath you are catered to and adored. You get little snippets of Trez seeming to care about others but all of his actions are really self centered. He doesn't want to mate the princess so he sets about ruining not only his life but iAm's. Then he meets Selena and those subtle changes become more apparent although his true nature still rules a majority of the time. At the beginning of this book, him and Selena have been parted for a few months when she has an episode in the Chosen cemetery. His whole world flips upside down when he is brought to the far side and finds Selena frozen like a statue. Cue the desperation to enjoy life and deny her clock is winding down. A night at a closed amusement park because Selena liked going fast. Dinner in the spinning restaurant. Selena has so much more to experience and it sucks she didn't get to live it. Even through it all, I still sense Trez is more concerned with how he will live without Selena rather than how Selena deals with her impending death. This is proven when he turns himself in and does not fight being cleansed at the s'Hisbe territory. He sees Selena at the door of the Fade and he whines like a little child when she tells him to go back. With a little more time, Selena could have truly made him a different man but maybe he's already on that path.
iAm has always been all about his brothers needs. It's reminiscent of the Z/Phury relationship without the drug addiction. iAm isn't taking care of Trez because he feels guilty. He's doing it because he truly would lose himself without Trez. That was an earth shattering realization in this book. That is until he meets maichem. This story line was the interesting twist I have not seen in the BDB novels for a while. iAm finally takes something for himself and...she's Trez's betrothed! How utterly wicked. I'm looking forward to more about Catra (maichem) as we had so little time to get to know her.
My new favorite character is S'ex. He's like V, Rhage and Z all wrapped into one. Cue my first crying jag in this book when his daughter is murdered because her stars didn't align. He knows the truth is that the Queen wouldn't dare let it be known S'ex was her lover and father of the baby. You get to see his total disenchantment with the life he lives but he serves a higher purpose. Didn't get much of him in this book but some how I know he's got a book or a stronger storyline coming.
I'm pretty much over the Layla/Xcor thing. I thought at one point Qhuinn might have found some damaging evidence but no. This relationship needs to be dealt with and done.
Something huge is going on with Rhage. He got a lot of airtime but I'm unsure where it's going or what the deal is. At one point I thought he might have been feeling guilty since Mary was literally brought back from the dead. He dwells over why Trez/Selena and Tohr/Wellesie were dealt the hands they played but he got a second chance with Mary. He never deals with it though and then there's the transcendent moment with Layla. I'm confused.
Overall the book is one of the better in the series. I think I cried for the last 100 or so pages. Still tweaked about the cover. Somehow I feel like Selena's death was a perfect flip of the coin for Trez and iAm. Although I'm hoping things turn around for Selena, ultimately it was the bJR WARDThe Shadowsest thing for the series. It would probably take on a different aura if we had three heroines who escape death and sometimes characters have to die to keep things in sync. A lot of the Brothers I've missed over the last few books got some airtime though they are changed. Now for the year long wait for the next installment....more