Review: The Beast by JR Ward


The BeastThe Beast
JR Ward
Jen Twimom
Rating: C+

What I’m Talking About:

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.

My Rating:  C+ Liked It, but I had issues; neither loved nor hated


About the Book:

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
Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) #14
ISBN: #978-0451475169
Paranormal Romance
hardcover (508 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:

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)

  • I think a lot of the last few books should’ve been edited down a lot. I’ve been reading a lot the reviews for this book. I’m not going to read it. I’m just over it. I’m tired of new storylines. I’m tired of old storylines that never go anywhere or disappear completely. Lessers, BoB, Scribe Virgin, Lash, etc. I will miss the brothers. Maybe one day, I will revisit the early books. Great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • Thanks Melanie. I agree about the editing. The last several have needed major cutting down. I think this may be my last BDB. It’s kind of sad. This was my first romance book/series.

  • Rummanah

    I’m still conflicted about The Shadows. Part of me was really surprised that Ward went there, but then the other part of me feels like it was a total set up for Rhage and Mary’s happiness in this book. I had a really hard time believing that nothing could have been done to avoid The Shadow’s ending considering how much we had to suspend our disbelief with how other dire storylines were fixed with the other brothers. I do plan on reading this still but it looks like I’ll be doing a lot of skimming and just reading the Rhage and Mary parts. Great review!

    • Thanks Rum. I told Nima just to read the Rhage/Mary parts and she’ll be happy. The book is very happy, so there is that!

  • B.

    I’m really behind on the whole series, but I kind of needed a break a little earlier, I guess. I’m really glad to hear that Rhage and Mary’s part was so good, at least!

    • Yes. For a long time now, I’ve had issues with the series – but I was always willing to overlook them because I still loved the core (snicker) characters. We all discussed the books so often, it was fun. But now, I’m just annoyed.

  • Hi I am Felicia and I will admit I have no desire to read this book. Eventually I am sure my turn in line will come around at the library but I wonder if I will read it. I didn’t when my turn came up with the iron druid series. I think I might be breaking up with a few series this year. I do love what you said about the Rhage /Mary part. I was worried she would drama them up. Glad she didn’t

    • I hear you Felicia. The fact that Ward did write Mary and Rhage so well is what saved me from DNFing the book. Honestly, their story was worth the read.

  • I gave up long ago

    • Haha! I just don’t see you enjoying this series at all!

  • DaVinciKittie @ GraveTells

    Great review! You hit the highlights of everything I wanted to know. I actually checked out of BDB a while back, just before The King (which was actually decent, but since my trust is broken, I can’t find the will to delve into another epic potential-train-wreck-of-a-book). I seriously dislike Assail, mostly because—during Blay and Qhuinn’s book, which was HIGHLY built up and anticipated—he was a c*ck-block every time they made any progress, and that irritated the snot out of me. I also dearly love Mary and Rhage, but not enough to wade through the sea of debris the rest of the series has become. 🙁 Which makes me really sad.

    Thanks so much for an honest review without spoilers. You rock, lady! <3

    • Thanks Sue! You really could just read the Rhage/Mary parts and enjoy their story, but I wouldn’t buy the book for that. See if you can check it out from your library!

  • I should not be commenting, as I still have a bit left to go in the book. BUT I did read the last page. So stupid. I wanted to make sure Ward didn’t pull a Shadows on me. The Assail thing has me totally confused and I have no idea where it is headed. I’m kind of surprised. Hopefully I’ll be more enlightened by the end. I hate to see people leave the series. There are things that I find annoy me, but others that keep me hooked.

    • Not sure you’ll be more enlightened but let me know if you figure it out. Haha. Rhage and Mary’s story is very happy and well done-a make up of sorts for the last book?!

  • Jennifer @ The Book Nympho

    Lover at Last still sits on my Nook unread. The idea of her recycling the couples into new books just puts me off.

    • I actually like the idea. I’d rather catch up with current characters than have her continue to add more and more meaningless characters. I liked the retelling of both Wrath and Rhage. But all the other stuff around it is lame.

  • UnaReads

    I’m an addict, I admit. Even with the mixed feelings I have over the last book, I’m still in. I am waiting to read this one. Who knows, maybe this is a make or break book for me but I doubt it since it is Rhage and Mary. The next book might be. I will say, I do like the spin-off she started. We’ll see what the second one in that series brings as I really did like the first one.

    • I have a feeling you will LOVE this one, Una. It definitely isn’t a make or break book. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

  • I really don’t feel bad about not taking this one now. I’ve not really enjoyed them since around 7ish and then totally bailed 11 I guess it was. I do like the old school feel of things but all the extra storylines…ergs.

    • Yep. I’m glad I read it, but I’m pretty sure it will be the last one. It’s sad, but it’s time.

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