Book Review: The Shadows (A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novel) by J. R. Ward

Posted April 1, 2015 by @Angelized_1st in 2015 Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge, Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

Book Review: The Shadows (A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novel) by J. R. WardThe Shadows by J. R. Ward
Series: The Black Dagger Brotherhood,
Published by Penguin on March 31st 2015
Genres: Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 592
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

The #1 New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood as two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the s’Hisbe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer for years. On the run from a destiny of sexual servitude, he’s never been able to rely on anyone...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 Selena 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. Now Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others—or abandon the female he loves. When tragedy strikes and changes everything, iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice....

“I know what it’s like to not have hope,” Qhuinn said roughly. “But destiny can surprise you.” 
― J.R. Ward, The Shadows

The Good…:

J.R. Ward finally delivered the book I’ve been waiting for! Not only did the 13th book in her ever-popular The Black Dagger Brotherhood series hit stores this past Tuesday, but it lacks the narrow focus so many of her other novels in this series have had. In the past BDB books, there was always one main story surrounding the romance of one of the main characters, usually a member of the BDB, a secondary story of another main character, and a tertiary story with one of the BDB’s many enemies. As nice as this is, the narrow focus of the writing usually means a character the reader has grown to love in the previous book has fallen by the wayside.

In The Shadows, author J.R. Ward spent more time with her world building. Instead of leaving me annoyed about loose ends either disappearing, or being put on the back burner, the Warden has made sure to include them all in her new book, as well as giving page time to all of our beloved characters. This made the world of the BDB, their friends, and foes feel more like a world than it has ever before.

The Shadows, Trez and iAm, have always been two of my favorite characters in the series, so it was nice for them to have their own book. Not only that, but it meant tying up the loose ends of their respective stories that have coasted through the background of several previous books in this series, and gave Rehvenge many good scenes. I loved the females the brothers tangled with, and thought that Ward upped the ante on romance in this selection, which seemed dialed down in the torrid sex department. However, romance was what was needed under the circumstances.

Rhage and Mary also got page time this time around. Rhage is one of my Top 5 characters in this series, and after his own book, Lover Eternal, he’s been regulated to either comic relief that pops up to utter one line or makes an appearance when his dragon goes Godzilla on some Lessers before disappearing into the woodwork again until the next book. Based on what he went through emotionally in The Shadows, I’m willing to bet that Rhage will be the main character of the 14th novel. *fingers crossed*

The Bad…:

By incorporating all the characters in this story, the Warden gave me the one thing I’ve wanted since arguably the fifth book in this series. However, there is still one more need that has yet to be satisfied…

One of the loose ends the Warden wove into The Shadows is that of Qhuinn’s brother Luchas. He’s still recovering from what he endured at the hands of the Lessening Society, and remains quite suicidal over his mutilated body. While Qhuinn has tried to force Luchas to live, his brother wants to give up the fight. Been there, done that. What hasn’t been done, however, is that Qhuinn hasn’t talked to Luchas about anything. Lucas doesn’t know Qhuinn is a member of the BDB, mated to Blay, or about to be a father. Even though I have come to the conclusion that Qhuinn has kept mum, because he doesn’t want to rub his happiness in his brother’s face, nowhere in the book is this revealed. These two men were raised in the same household, but were never allowed to form familial bonds. Qhuinn may view Luchas as his big brother, and last surviving member of their murdered family, but does Luchas? Don’t know! Maybe these guys will have a heart-to-heart in the next book. It’s not like I’ve been waiting for a brotherly heart-to-heart for several books, or anything…

The Ugly…:

Sadly, the Warden is still beating readers over the head with her pairing of Xcor and Layla. Zzzz… Instead of them, she could have focused more on Blay and Qhuinn. Maybe then we would have gotten more sex, and brotherly heart-to-hearts. Instead, we get Layla endangering her pregnancy and life over that ugly, murderous fool. Ugh!

Do I Recommend?

YES! Despite my complaining above, The Shadows was practically perfect. As I stated, all the characters got to come out and play this time around, many loose ends were tied up, and though this book was super sad in many parts, I has happy with the resolution. Everything happens the way they were supposed to (except Qhuinn and Luchas). The novel also nicely set up the new spin-off series, The Black Dagger Legacy, by introducing some new young bloods into the mix that will be applying to the BDB’s training program. Let’s just hope the Omega doesn’t have another Lash stashed among them. I give The Shadows 5 out of 5 stars, because I absolutely loved reading The Shadows, and could hardly put it down, the fantastic world building, and the main story. 

About J. R. Ward

J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times and USAToday Best Selling author of erotic paranormal romance. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. After graduating from law school, she began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.


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0 responses to “Book Review: The Shadows (A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novel) by J. R. Ward

    • It’s actually pretty good reading. The series is full of action, and has loads of romance and sex, so you can get through them pretty quickly. I actually re-read them this past December to get ready for the new book. Glad I did. I actually forgot many things, or wrongly believed other events happened differently. I usually can read three to four BDB books in a week. Summers coming. They’d make great beach books. If you decide to check them out, let me know what you think!

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