THE KING (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12) by J.R.Ward-a review
REMINDER: Read our interview with Jeff Gmerek the cover model for THE KING
RELEASE DATE: April 1,2014
J.R. Ward’s # 1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood continues as a royal bloodline is compromised by a grave threat to the throne.
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 a tortured legacy take over?
REVIEW: THE KING is the twelfth instalment in JR Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood series focusing on an elite group of vampire warriors and their King. Like most of the previous storylines JR concentrates on more than one developing relationship and story as well as the continued war with the Lessening Society (not so much) and the Glymera (vampire ruling council). This is Beth and Wrath’s continuing story as Beth enters her needing and Wrath refuses his mate’s desire for a family.
The book centres on several storylines as per Ward’s style and each may or may not overlap at some point in The King. Like all of her previous books, The King is not a stand alone novel as developing relationships and backstories continue throughout each instalment. The storyline fast forwards the series several months up to approximately one year.
Beth and Wrath: Beth wants a baby and Wrath’s continued reluctance will pit the mates against one another. Wrath’s tortured family past and the vampire’s history of birth and death are major obstacles that Wrath is unable to overcome. Beth and Wrath’s relationship will enter a difficult period, one where words will be exchanged and Wrath’s emotional stability will be questioned by the Brothers and his friends. Much of the ruling vampire history is revealed through flashbacks and memory at various storyline intervals.
Iam and Trez and Selena: This particular part of the storyline focuses on Trez’s relationship with the Chosen Selena but also on his destination as the Shadow Queen’s daughter’s consort. When an ultimatum is handed down, Trez makes a deal with the devil-one that will exact revenge for a wrong brought down on Trez but places Trez in a precarious position of losing everything and everyone that he loves. His future as the Queen’s daughter’s mate is still a question that will be addressed in the next storyline. We learn a little more about the why and the how of family betrayal against a once-beloved son.
Xcor and Layla: The continuing battle for the throne finds Xcor aligned with the Glymera and torn between his need for Layla and what he believes is his inherent right to the crown. When an offer is made that he cannot refuse Xcor loses sight of the reason he and the Band of Bastards returned-Layla is now the recipient of his desires. Xcor and Layla’s story will be difficult to accept for many readers. I do not feel the love or the attraction between the couple and I wonder how JR will redeem Xcor in the eyes of the Brothers and the reader. There was some definite drag in the story as it pertained to this couple.
Assail and Sola: Assail’s need for the human female Sola (Marisol) will pit the vampire against Caldwell’s drug lord and his minions. At the end of Lover at Last, Sola is kidnapped and her whereabouts is unknown. The reader is pulled into a nightmare where Sola fears for not only her life but her sanity and Assail fears he is too late to save the woman with whom he has fallen in love. This particular part of the novel also dragged in spots but JR is still building their story. To be honest, this particular premise feels disconnected to the main series. I am not sure of this couple’s purpose in the grand scheme of the BDB but hopefully JR Ward has something planned for this couple.
JM aka John Matthew: John’s seizures have returned with a vengeance. We all know John’s connection to Darius, Beth and the Brothers but the closer he and Beth become his seizures occur more often and more violently. Once John entered his post-trans phase his seizures were a thing of the past but the re-appearance come with flashbacks and memories that cannot be explained as post-seizure hallucinations. Will JM’s true identity finally be revealed?
The Brothers are secondary characters at this point and make a cameo appearance if only in thought or mention. In this, if you are looking for any Blay and Quinn relationship updates etc, there are none to be had. In fact, the focus of The King is The King and his struggle to retain the crown. There is little to no reconnection with most of the previous couples-Ward centres on the upcoming battles and, the building and dissecting of future storyline arcs. The world building continues with each instalment but is shying away from the ‘lessers’ and that particular series arc. There are definite moments of highs and lows; a few slow spots where you want to fast forward in the story; and others spots where you wish JR had revealed a little more information. I miss the Brotherhood banter and their one on one time with each other. JR Ward is no longer focused on the Brotherhood but on the introduction of new characters, new vampires and new directions.
Saxton’s connection to the Glymera is revealed as well as the family betrayal that is emotional and heartbreaking. You have to wonder why one continues to acknowledge those who destroy your heart and your soul. Saxton’s mate will have to be strong although Saxton himself is a male of worth.
THE KING is an emotional storyline as it pertains to Beth and Wrath. When history begins to repeat itself Wrath is lost in a world of what-ifs. Will he survive without the crown? Without his mate? Without the Brothers? He is a man who has lost so much and yet has everything he has always dreamed (of).
Lassiter makes a reappearance and in true Lassiter fashion-all I can say is-The King is alive and well and living in Caldwell, New York. Every story needs a little humor to offset the dark and emotional ups and downs. I can’t wait for Lassiter’s story. It will take an amazing woman to keep up with the manically hyper Angel.
Speaking of humor Ward interjects several contemporary and humorous moments that give the storyline familiarity and a modern feel. Although in future, the moments may date the series to particular period in time e.g. Miley Cyrus, twerking etc.
Overall, THE KING is a necessary storyline that brings Wrath’s family history full circle: the Glymera reap what they sow: and a look to the future ruling King. My only hope is that JR comes back to the Brothers but it doesn’t look like anytime soon with the Shadows-Iam and Trez-getting their story next.
Reviewed by Sandy