Author: JR Ward
Reviewer: Jen Twimom
Hello. My name is Jen. I am a recovering BDB addict… Yes, I was one of the many who felt betrayed by JR Ward when she wrote and released the previous Black Dagger Brotherhood book, The Shadows. I wanted to read The Beast because 1) I love Rhage and Mary, and 2) I wanted to see if I was finally over my obsession with all things BDB. In the end, I’m glad I read The Beast, and I probably would have enjoyed it more had The Shadows never happened.
Generally, The Beast is a fun story and it brought back some of the old school fun the series has been lacking for years now. Most of the page time is dedicated to Rhage and Mary, telling the story of how they relate as a couple, and to the outside world, after a few years of mating and living with the BDB. Additionally, there are sidestories that follow the continuing path of Layla, Assail, the Scribe Virgin, and the Lessers. And per her usual, Ward tosses in new characters that don’t even interact with the main characters in any way. Here are my thoughts about each storyline:
Assail storyline: Assail has been around for a while, but he’s not really making any forward progress. Back a few books ago, I liked his story, but then it dragged on and on. Now it looks like he may have hit rock bottom, but I don’t seem to care. I found him to be pathetic for most of the story. Ward has set him on a path for redemption, which began in The Beast, but I felt the reason for it, and the sudden 180 turnaround in his personality, was too abrupt for his character. He felt like two completely different people from the beginning to the end of the book, and it didn’t sit well with me.
Layla / Xcor / Bastards storyline: Ugh. Layla has turned into an idiot again. I had hope for her character there for a short while in earlier books, but alas, I don’t like her again. She lacks any real personality and personal strength. She’s whiny, even in her own head. Her love for Xcor is ridiculous and childish because it was never really given much time to develop. Then we have the defunct Bastards with Throe up to something, but we don’t know what. Meanwhile, Xcor is present during most of the entire book, but a non-factor. And then, when it looks like he’s finally going to be part of the story, Ward drops his character and storyline from the book completely. Not. Happy. It’s not even a cliffhanger, it’s just an utter lack of storytelling.
Jo – New storyline: Jo is going nowhere in her life and when a stoner/loser friend insists he has video of a giant purple dragon, Jo decides to investigate. Is she on to something? Are there vampires in Caldwell? Again, Ward brings in new characters and side stories, but doesn’t complete them. I will admit, that while I mostly figured out her connection to the Brotherhood, it still was a somewhat interesting twist; however, I fear that Ward will spin Jo off to her other series, leaving this BDB reader frustrated. Again. Maybe she won’t. We’ll see.
Other various characters: I loved Lassiter in this one. He’s one of my favorite characters, and enjoy when he’s around. Additionally, there are some wonderful pranks played in the mansion, involving Rhage – old school BDB, which was fun. V had a lot of page time, and I’m not sure what his internal conflict will be when he gets his own “redo” book. A major event shakes V’s life, but nothing has come from it, yet. I felt the revolution of this event should have been a concern to Mary and Rhage, but it wasn’t discussed, so I just let it go. The Lessers and Omega show up, but it’s a token appearance.
Now on to the best part of The Beast: Mary and Rhage. If their story was the only one in the book, I would have given it a B+. I loved the pair together. I loved that their internal conflicts didn’t get dragged out or blown out of proportion. They TALKED and loved, and had an adult relationship. Their love strengthened and grew. I felt that Ward handled their storyline wonderfully, albeit a bit too happily. In fact, this entire book is almost too feel-good. It’s a make up for The Shadows, but maybe it went too far? There really is nothing that brought me down in this one at all.
Overall, The Beast is a beast of a book. At over 500 pages, it should have been edited down. I got bored and disinterested at multiple points and had trouble connecting to the various characters and parts because of it. Is this a “must read” for BDB fans? Probably. I’m glad I did read it, but I’m wondering if it’s time for me to let the Brothers go.
Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…
For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…
And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world…and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from…
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) #14
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): hardcover (508 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher
Reviews in the Series:
Lover Mine by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #8)
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #9)
Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #10)
Lover at Last by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11)
The King by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12)
The Shadows by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13)
Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Legacy #1)