This past week I had the misfortune of picking up the stomach bug. Yeah, the one that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. At least if I had to be home and feeling completely miserable, I had the nearly 600 page hardback copy of The King to keep my mind off my stomach. J.R. Ward’s latest release is book #12 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. In this novel, she revisits Wrath and Beth, who were the subjects of the very first BDB book, Dark Lover. Times have changed, though, since Wrath and Beth became mated. Caldwell is a different place. There are more Brothers, more matings, most of the Chosen now reside in a Great Camp in the Adirondacks, the Band of Bastards are wreaking havoc . . . well, you get the idea.
Here is the official description of 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 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?
Before you read further, please note that there are spoilers. If you have yet to read the novel, you may want to stop reading this post. Now. Just sayin’!
For me The King was good but not my favorite BDB book. I can’t believe that I’m admitting this, but I actually skimmed some storylines to get to others. There was A LOT going on in this book. The ‘Brother’ part of the book was very focused on Wrath and Beth. John Matthew was mentioned a fair amount, but if you were hoping to catch up on any of the others – you will be disappointed.
I did like learning more about Trez and iAm. The Shadows intrigue me. iAm cracked me up with Boo, oops I mean Goddamn Cat. Those parts were hilarious. Yeah. Sure. He totally does NOT like that cat. I was not happy how things were left between Trez and Selena. I was proud of the Chosen for going after what she wanted. The way Trez treated her, though, left a lot to be desired. If he wants to be with her, he has lots of making up to do!
For some reason, I found myself pulling for Assail in this one. I loved how determined (and ruthless) he was to rescue Sola. When the twins brought her grandmother to his mansion, I was cracking up – those two hardened guys bowing to this tiny female! That was another story line that I wasn’t happy about how it ended. Assail and Sola better have a HEA coming. Her being in Florida is way too far away from him. If she is going clean, he needs to do the same.
The Lessers played a very minor role in this book as well. It seemed like they (and the Omega) should have a larger part. Maybe that’s just me and BDB tradition. Got to have the Brothers prowling around Caldwell – on Trade Street – getting rid of the baby powder stink!
Beth and the whole pregnancy thing was very interesting and kept me reading. I had to know what happened with her young. Wrath’s turn around once he found out she was pregnant was amazing! Talk about some conflict! The birthing also had me tearing up. I can’t imagine writing that scene.
Some parts of the story were filled with way too much “street talk” and “brand dropping.” The King didn’t have the flow of some of her earlier reads. I felt like it was disjointed pieces strung together. Just in places. Also, she seemed to really like the word “alacrity.” Picked up on that one!
I’m on the fence with Xcor and Layla. We did see more of them in this novel, but again, their story is unresolved. Xcor shopping was a trip! I always worry about Layla meeting up with him when she’s prego. I doubt he would purposely hurt her, but the other bastards – not so much.
There were a lot of flashbacks to Wrath’s parents. For me, they were interesting in the beginning. Then I wasn’t as concerned. I would rather have had more about the other Brothers or Saxton. Now there’s a dedicated, dapper male who deserves a HEA.
Despite the reservations I had with this book, I’m still a diehard BDB fan and will be eagerly awaiting the book on the Shadows. All hail King Wrath!
4 out of 5 stars