On Friday night, I stayed up late to finish reading J.R. Ward’s 13th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood, The Shadows. And yeah, I slept like crap after I finished it. You’ll find out why when you read below.
Before you read further, if you have not read The Shadows and plan to, know that SPOILERS ARE AHEAD.
Here’s the scoop on the Trez and iAm’s book:
Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on… 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 Serena 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.
Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice…
Now…to my disappointment. And the SPOILERS.
Ward kills Selena near the end of the almost 600 page book. I kept reading and reading because even though I knew Selena suffered from a fatal disease know as the “Arrest,” I thought she would die and the Scribe Virgin would intervene. You know, like she did with Mary and Doc Jane. Well, guess what…there was a funeral pyre and no more Selena. How, as an author of a romance (paranormal, but still), do you kill off the heroine? How do you justify it when you’ve brought back other heroines in the series?
I know Trez needed to be there for iAm like iAm had been there for him, but that is NOT a satisfying ending. Not in the least. Not even an itty bitty little bit.
This book was typical Ward with a number of POVs. The Lessers were included, but had a smaller roll. There was a lot of focus on Rhage. While I enjoyed reading about “Hollywood,” Ward made him seem like a wuss, suffering panic attacks and getting stuck inside his head. She did his character zero favors. What member of the BDB suffers from psychological issues? Um, Rhage does. Seriously?!
What was the deal with Xcor and Layla? The Chosen finally wised-up and called the Band of Bastards leader on his shit, but then they fight and he tries to banish Layla from his mind by taking a whore? After Ward has gone to the trouble of showing that the Bastards aren’t in opposition to the Blind King? What was the point of that? So Layla doesn’t get an HEA either? Seems like there’s a lot of that going around in this book. What about the babes she’s carrying? Will we get to find out more about them?
Also, I’d like to know Assail’s motivation? What is he thinking with supposedly giving up the drug running business? Is he going to head to Miami to find Sola?
I feel like there are so many unanswered plot lines, so many questions I have. Will these be addressed in the new series? Will they just be dropped?
Maybe I’m being overly critical, but as an author, I would not end a romance without either a HEA or a happily for now. I would like to think I wouldn’t do that to my readers. Although, I am by no means a New York Times Best Selling author so maybe I don’t know a whole lot?!
Also, correct me if I’m wrong…isn’t this the last book in the BDB series? Will there be more? I checked her website and didn’t see anything there or on her Goodreads blog. I know she’s writing a new spin-off series (Black Dagger Legacy). We met Paradise and Peyton in this book. Their book will be Blood Kiss, with an expected release date of December 2015. As much as I want to say I won’t read this book, I probably will. Hopefully, enough time will pass between The Shadows and that book so I can kind of forget the stunt she pulled at the end of The Shadows.
Between anger and tears, I’m unable to rate this book.