The King

 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 with 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?

For the most part I loved this book, but there were a couple of things that didn’t work for me very well. The whole Assail and Sola storyline seemed very out of place and disjointed and while I can only assume the storyline will finish in another book, it did take up a fair amount of this one. The characters as well – while I did like Sola, I really didn’t warm to Assail. His actions, apart from when he was dealing with Sola, just made me grind my teeth and hope he got taken out. Honestly, he seemed like Rehv, only despicable.

With that out of the way, the rest of the book I loved. Seeing Wrath’s parents was bitter-sweet but wonderful as well. Beth kicks ass as usual and I thought the arguments between the two of them were spot on – I absolutely got why she was so set on wanting a child. Watching them work it through was a special thing, especially as Wrath comes to terms with everything he is.  I was in tears at the end and loved the way it all resolved.

The Band of Bastards continue to be interesting and I can’t wait for the next book to see how Layla deals with her promise and where that takes Xcor. Are we seeing a possible resolution or alliance with the brotherhood?  I hope so!

The shadows Trez and his long suffering brother iAm feature prominently and I do like them a lot although I’m not sure how iAm hasn’t strangled his brother yet! I do sympathise with their situation though and the Trez and Selena storyline just makes me want to cry – I don’t know where it’s all going yet but again, I can’t wait to find out.

I think any long running series probably suffers this issue but it seems almost the cast that gets covered each book is getting bigger and while that is good, it also detracts from the ‘main’ story or couple. Is it resolvable? Probably not if we want the series to continue (hell yes we do) so I think it’s a case of get used to it. When it was just the brothers it was easier to keep the books tight but when their stories have been told it has to expand or come to an end. Personally I loved revisiting Wrath and Beth, and long live the king!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (12)
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Lover At Last

 Grete’s Review

When I heard that Blay and Qhuinn would have their own story I was overjoyed.  Then, once I knew it was due out, it was a mix of joy and worry about how J.R. Ward would handle the relationship of the two males.  Would she gloss over the passionate parts which she usually wrote so well, or would she focus on the romance more than the physical side?  I must admit when I had the book finally in my hands, I did feel some trepidation.

Having finished it the day it arrived and being completely unable to put it down, I wonder why I was worried.  J.R. Ward is fearless and if I wouldn’t look silly doing it on my own I would stand up and applaud her.  While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I felt these two characters deserved as much sexy time as any of the others had, and oh my was it hot!

As I finished the last page and closed the book I was crying, and the only word I could think of was… perfect.  It was everything I’d hoped for, and more.

There are many things Ward does extremely well and one of those is writing an emotional scene so well that it resonates strongly with me.  She can make me laugh and cry with well turned words and this book made me do both.  I love the characters of Blay and Qhuinn so much and theirs is a story that has been on the sidelines for several books so for me it has been a long time coming.

The plot, true to form, was very good, although there were quite a few threads running at the same time.  The Band of Bastards continue their plans to take over the throne but I’m hoping we are seeing a chink in Xcor’s psyche.  The Lessening Society are back with a vengeance and it was oddly good to have them involved again, as horrible as they are.  There is a huge OMG moment which I won’t spoil but suffice to say it even had me a little shocked.

Layla, the Chosen is such a sweetheart, I’m glad she is finding her voice and I really felt for her.  Payne is a rockstar in my eyes for what she did, as I think the impact on Layla and Qhuinn would have been huge otherwise.  I do worry what the consequences for Payne will be though.

The pace of the story was excellent, the battle scenes fast and furious with some heart in mouth moments and then utter hilarity.  It was a really well written blend of everything I have come to love about the Brothers.

Some new players were introduced  and while they are quite interesting, they didn’t get to do much so I’m guessing they will play a larger role in the next book.  I love the way Ward can keep it fresh but also give us new characters to love and hate.

All in all, I loved this book so much I would rate it more than a five if I could!  The Black Dagger Brotherhood series goes from strength to strength and long may it continue!

Tracey’s Review

As with Grete I awaited this book with some trepidation but for different reasons. I have never read, or had any desire to read m/m romance, and while I have absolutely no problem with people’s sexuality whatever it may be, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read about it in graphic detail (which is what I was expecting based on previous books). I needn’t have worried however, at the end of the day a love story is a love story whoever is involved and I thought the sex scenes were well written without being OTT and in your face. As a true romantic at heart it was great to see Blay and Qhuinn get their HEA and I agree with Grete that the ending was perfect.

There were lots of side plots running through this book (some that make absolutely no sense but I’m sure will soon become clear) and a lot of loose ends left hanging, but that only makes me want the next book even more!! A whole year to wait! One thing I did think was missing were the interactions between the brothers and their shellans. Usually they need to be surgically separated from each other but there were few scenes between them.  I guess with the new people introduced and the expansion of characters who previously had minor roles there was no room, which is a shame.

It seems fairly clear who Xcor is going to have as his heroine and I am intrigued to find out how Ms. Ward is going to manipulate that one – I’m sure she has it all mapped out somewhere!

Overall another great addition to the BDB, although my rating would be 4.5 stars to Grete’s 5.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (11)
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Lover Reborn

 I found Lover Reborn really interesting and a bit different from the rest of the series.  It has all the facets I’ve come to expect and love about J.R. Ward’s work but it felt like she’d put something extra into Lover Reborn.  Several threads from the last couple of books get resolved and while yet more open, they are in a direction I didn’t expect.  I have the utmost respect for Ward in doing this as I couldn’t see quite how the usual good guys vs. bad was going to keep going book after book.  Don’t get me wrong, it has worked perfectly up until now, but it felt time for a change, and Ward has delivered that.

This book is mainly about Tohrment and his grief over the loss of his wife, a few books before.  The impact that loss had on him and the Brotherhood was huge and has been a very poignant note as time has gone on.  When I heard this would be his story, I couldn’t wait to read it, wondering if there was anything that could heal his shattered heart or give him the will to live again.

It’s a story about cycles and redemption, of grief and coming to terms with who you are, not just for Tohr but other members of the Brotherhood and their extended families too.  It was beautifully written, emotionally charged and several times my heart was in my mouth over events I didn’t think could or would happen.  The new threads coming into the story are gripping and make me feel a fresh love for this series all over again.  There are so many possibilities and directions the next book can go in that I honestly don’t know what will happen.  With previous books I could hazard a guess but I am truly in the dark about it now.

As always the characterisations are just so well done, I feel like I know them, that I experience their stories with them instead of watching them via words on a page.  My heart has bled for Tohrment for so long, for John Matthew, for Blay and Qhuinn, for No’One and her tragic existence.  Just so much emotion and passion accompanies these warriors, whether they are fighting to save their race or being with the loves of their lives.  Another point I have to note is the humour and camaraderie Ward gives to the Brothers.  The banter is often crude but hilarious with one liners coming out of nowhere and it makes you feel part of them as they trade funny insults and release much built up tension.

Without a doubt one of my absolute favourite series’ and J.R. Ward delivers a stunning read every time.  I can’t recommend it enough!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (10)
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Lover Unleashed

 With Payne paralysed in a freak accident sparring with Wrath, only the best surgeon can give her the chance to walk again.  Dr Manuel ‘Manny’ Manello, is the best in his field and agrees to give Payne that chance.   Discovering a whole hidden world he never knew about he finds a bond he certainly wasn’t looking for, and an old friend he never thought he’d see again.

This book is a little odd in that it doesn’t just focus on Payne and Manny.  Vishous and Jane have their story continued as well which was good, as it was obvious that there were still issues left unresolved in previous books.  It could have ruined the story and been better being released as two books but there is such a close link between Vishous and Payne and the fact they are twins that it worked, and worked well.

I am always amazed at the quality of Ward’s writing, the emotional depths to which she goes for the much loved brotherhood, and Lover Unleashed is no different.  One facet that was different from previous books is that the Lessening Society were more of a footnote than a cause and we are introduced to another set of warriors that have their own agenda.  It was really interesting and opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

I didn’t expect to like Payne as much as I did.  When we first got to know her in Lover Mine, I found her a bit annoying, but here she really comes alive as a character in her own right.  She is a complex mix of the grace and sweetness of the Chosen but with the ability to fight with the best of the Brotherhood.  As the twin of Vishous but with a completely different and sheltered upbringing, she is nothing like him yet has a bond that is purely him.  I had been waiting for the story with Dr ‘Manny’ Manuel Manello since Lover Unbound and Vishous had the word ‘brother’ sound in his head.  I knew there would be something big for him and it was great to see that come to life.  He is very much like Butch, in attitude and personality but with the skills and abilities of  a top class surgeon.  Adding another human to the mix could have caused a lot of problems and weakened the group as a set, but I thought Ward worked him in beautifully.  As for the surprise at the end, that was just brilliant!

Vishous and Jane, oh how I love thee both.  The problems they experience in this book were both sad and sweet.  Vishous had never really dealt with his issues, he was just able to bury them when Jane came along.  Having his sister there and then Manny kicked up a lot of memories and the outfall could have been very bad.  It’s a testament to the couple and how well they are written that they affected me emotionally as well.

The hints with Blay and Qhuinn are so tantalising and Qhuinn’s realisation was agonising, knowing he still wasn’t going to do anything about it, even with a solution staring him in the face so to speak.  I’m really hoping they will have their own story because I love their characters a lot.

Lover unleashed is definitely a book about the characters and less about fighting, although it couldn’t be about the Brotherhood if there wasn’t at least a little combat.  It is a powerful story, emotionally engaging with some very hot scenes.  And it’s very, very good.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a firm favourite and J.R. Ward is simply a genius in the genre.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (9)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Why you should read – J. R. Ward

The first book I read by J. R. Ward was actually the start of a companion series to the Black Dagger Brotherhood books.  Covet impressed me in many different ways and I was curious about what her other more established series was like.  Having now finished the Black Dagger Brotherhood series for a second time and having enjoyed it even more, I can’t recommend this amazing series enough.

So why should you read J. R. Ward?

The characters Ward creates are just phenomenal.  The main cast are the Brothers and their individual stories are the focus for each book.  What makes the series truly outstanding is the presence of the other major players through each one.  You can’t have one Brother without having them all!  Sometimes those appearances are brief and often they are integral to another’s story.

The series begins with Dark Lover and you are introduced to a world of vampires living alongside humans in secrecy.  The Black Dagger Brotherhood are a group of elite vampires, engineered by breeding to be the most powerful and best warriors to protect the race not only from exposure to the humans but also from their unnatural predators – the Lessening Society.  I love Ward’s slant on the vampire mythos, that the traditional view is mostly hogwash spread by the human media with a few truths hidden within the fiction.  The truth is humans have nothing to fear from vampires.  They can’t sustain themselves from human blood so basically, they are just another race that share the planet but in ever decreasing numbers.  There is a war on, between the lessers and the vampires and the Brothers fight night after night to keep the remaining vampire population safe, often at personal cost to themselves.  They are powerful, larger than life and very very hot!

While the plot of each book might mainly be about a character unexpectedly finding their true love (they are romance novels after all), it’s the characters that make them as engaging as they are.  J. R. Ward has such a clear and vivid way of writing that you get to know them so well and the mere mention of a name conjurs up their image in your mind and how they might act and react in certain situations.  I also have to say not once in ten books have I read a scene and thought hang on, he wouldn’t do that!.

You can feel the love and sometimes exasperation Ward has for her Brothers and in turn, shares those things with the reader.   They are all so fundamentally different and you just can’t help falling in love with them, cry for them and your heart bleeds at the sacrifices they have to make for the good of the race.

The females of the series are just as much of a revelation and again so very different from each other.  Each has their own strengths and weaknesses that make them the perfect foil for the jaded and battle-weary Brothers.  Sassy, fierce, loving and brave, each one finds her way into your heart just as easily.

So if you love amazing and emotional stories with flawed yet solid warriors (did I mention they were also hot?) and the females that are more than a match for them then you should read J. R. Ward.  I dare you not to fall in love with them!

Lover Mine

 Having grown up in the human world, a place he didn’t fit in nor understand, John Matthew is finally finding his place within the Brotherhood.  Trying to put his brutal and abusive past behind him, he finds brief comfort from an unlikely source.  Xhex, whose own troubled past haunts her and being half symphath drives her to keep everyone at arms length.  Being kidnapped by Lash, the vicious son of the Omega is the last straw and she wants vengeance.  Even though John’s brief relationship with Xhex had left his heart broken, he vowed to either find her and bring her home or avenge her death.  Fate has played a cruel hand in both their lives but was there a chance for both of them to find peace, or would they continue along their paths alone.

I had mixed feelings when I started Lover Mine.  John has been present in the series for a long time, starting before he hit his transition into full vampire and while his history was sad, his present was getting messed up through bad choices, bad memories and a whole lot of attitude.  Understandable but it still made me want to smack him upside the head.  The same with Xhex too.

Now having arrived at his own book, I was soon drawn right into the story and a lot more made sense about who he has become and why he made some of the choices he did.  He had started to feel whiny, sulky and annoying in Lover Avenged and I was really pleased to see him grow out of that.  Xhex was a much more layered character than I expected and it didn’t take long before she had claimed her own corner of my heart, along with the other females of the series.  She kicks serious ass too which I think makes her the perfect match for John!

I thought the flashes of the history of Darius and Tohrment were a really nice touch and I should have seen where that was going but it still came as a surprise, maybe because so much else was going on in the book.

I’ve probably said this in every review of the series but I still absolutely love that the other major characters from the series appear, which isn’t that surprising since it’s a tight knit group but it’s great (and sometimes painful) to see how they are doing.

I don’t know where to even start with Blay and Qhuinn.  They SO belong together but while Blay accepts who he is, Qhuinn is still in denial and thinks he should be doing the female and baby route that his lineage has programmed into him.  They are both so hot together and even though Blay might have moved on, I hope there is a future for them and their own book because they are brilliant characters.

The book as a whole was amazing.  I absolutely loved it and even with the often horrifying and disturbing events the characters have been through, the emotion, grit and sheer balls of all the characters mean I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I need more, now!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (8)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

J. R. Ward

About J. R. Ward

With law school, working in healthcare and chief of staff of an eminent academic medical centre in her background, she is now one of the most loved writers of paranormal romance.  A woman of many passions – Writing, her husband, her golden retriever and her coffee pot!

My Comments

Having read and reviewed Covet, I decided to delve into what else J. R. Ward had written.  I like to start at the beginning of a series, even if it isn’t strictly necessary, just because I like to know where a character has come from or what has shaped them into the person they are.  The Black Dagger Brotherhood books are very tied in together and while you could read them out of order, it would be a shame to miss out on the multiple plot threads running through from where they first started in Dark Lover.  It was actually a book that surprised me a lot and clicked with me right from the start.  The characters are powerful, sexy, rough and ready and very appealing,  the writing style very crisp and clean, easy to read and very engaging.  Add in a good story to that mix and you have a set of books you will want to read right through one after the other and be left wanting more.  Superb paranormal romance at it’s finest!


Black Dagger Brotherhood

Fallen Angels

Lover Avenged

 Zerosum is the hub of Rehvenge’s turf.  Drug-lord, pimp and half amoral symphath, Rehvenge looks after what is his very well and takes care of anyone who threatens that.  Struggling to keep his darker half subdued, he is approached by one of the council aristocrats with a contract to kill Wrath, the King of the Vampires.  If his dual natured secret was leaked, he would be arrested and deported to the Symphath colony.  After meeting Ehlena, a Nurse at Havers’ clinic who causes his vampiric half to become ascendant, he realises things have to change.

With the council in a panic over the recent spate of murders by the Lessening Society, the Brotherhood and Wrath being hard pressed to protect the civilian population, it only seems to be a matter of time before they suffer another loss.  Emotions run high when someone they thought they would never see again returns, but will he be able to stay?

When I realised the central character of this book would be Rehvenge, I wasn’t sure what to think.  As a minor character throughout all the other books, his actions weren’t always good and at the time I picked up Lover Avenged I didn’t particularly like him.  I thought it would be a major task for J. R. Ward to turn him around for me, maybe too major.  One day I’ll learn!  History plays such a big part in making anyone who they are – what they’ve been through, what they’ve achieved and a common theme for paranormal romance, what they’ve sacrificed.  Learning Rehvenge’s history and all the things he has done for his family and friends made me re-examine what I thought I knew of him.  I can’t say I ended up loving him as much as the rest of the Brotherhood but definitely as someone worthy of affection and respect.

Rehvenge is a character that on closer inspection is neither a good nor bad guy because he can’t be,  his dual nature ensures that.  What he is though is someone who cares deeply about those he is close to, tempers his darker side as much as he can with his vampiric half and while his choice of career may not be what can be termed as ‘good’, within it, he makes it as safe and looks after everyone as much as possible.  Except himself that is.  When you learn what he has to do to keep his secret and his family safe, your heart goes out to him.  Ehlena I liked from the beginning and her situation and father’s illness made me sad for her.  I couldn’t help but admire her guts and backbone which, along with her compassionate nature and ability to see Rehvenge through unbiased eyes, made her an awesome female character.  Their interactions were really well written and I found myself hope it would work out for them, even when I was sure it wouldn’t.

I also have to say, this book is almost a two in one.  There is a lot more side story going on with the Brotherhood and several threads that have been brewing over the last few books are resolved here.  The book itself is about twice the size the others are and I can only assume they were threads that needed to come into play but not enough on their own to be in their own novel.  Whatever the reason, it worked and while there were a lot of things being resolved, several new ones have been put into play and I can’t wait for the next one!

A special thank-you as well to J.R. Ward for Tohr.  I was in tears anytime he came up!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (7)
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Lover Enshrined

 Phury, twin to Zsadist is slowly killing himself.  His drug habit is spiralling out of control, he’s in love with his twin’s wife and he’s hearing a sadistic voice in his head.  It’s only a matter of time before he self destructs completely.  Having sacrificed his freedom already for Vishous’ happiness, he is now supposed to be the Primale, the Vampire race’s primary male to help refresh the gene pool with the Scribe Virgin’s Chosen.  Yet he remains celibate, as he has been since the vow he took when he went to rescue his twin.  Cormia is the Chosen who has been put forward as his primary female, having lived and grown up in the Scribe Virgin’s domain, never having been to the ‘other’ side, she is confused by the role that has been placed on her.  She finds she wants more than the simple life laid out for her but can Phury put enough of himself back together to fulfill his duty or will Cormia be sent back to the Scribe Virgin’s domain and resign herself to never living out her dreams.

I actually found this book very bittersweet.  Phury has been such a constant presence in the series and witnessing him slowly spiral out of control has been very sad.  Until now he’s always managed to pull himself back from the edge and I thought it would end up being resolved very quickly at the start of this book so that other events could take place.  I was wrong and it ended up being a very powerful and poignant journey with Phury and the fight for his life and mind.  Cormia is such an innocent having grown up in the scribe virgin’s realm and had never experienced life as we know it.  It was refreshing seeing certain things anew through her eyes, even such a simple things as colours.

At times I did want to shake both of them and point out the obvious but really, those parts were well done given what both characters had been through and their individual insecurities.  It’s easy to see what is right in front of someone else’s face, your own, not so much.

By the end I felt I’d read something special and been through an emotional journey that had sorrow, joy, sheer guts and above all, love.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (6)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)