A scorching forbidden love threatens to tear a rift through the Black Dagger Brotherhood in J. R. Ward’s newest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.
Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.
As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.
The build to this book for Xcor and Layla’s story was one I greatly anticipated. The fact that Xcor is not a Brother didn’t matter. He has fascinated me since he came on the scene several books ago and Layla has slowly been growing on me particularly when she saw something in Xcor that he didn’t even see in himself. Naturally, there’s so much more going on- some paths more appealing than others. But oh yes, another irresistible book from the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
The Chosen is book fifteen and it does assume the reader has already been following along through the whole series. This is one I wouldn’t recommend jumping into as main figures represent an earlier couple from near the beginning, a couple from the middle of the series, and Xcor and Layla who have been coming on stronger through several of the later books.
So yes, things have come to a make or break point for poor Xcor and Layla. Xcor is a prisoner of the Brothers and slated to die a traitor to the King. Layla holds a secret that may complicate what seems cut and dry to the Brothers, but in so doing, she’ll expose her own connection to a traitor. She’s a mother now and is presented with the untenable choice of the male she loves or her babies. I thought this story line was handled fantastically. I was already one who was on board with Xcor’s change of heart and redemption story, but the backstory that came through his memories in this one and his tender words to Layla solidified that. And Layla, girl came into her own after being something of a damp rag through the earlier part of her story.
As to the other developments in this one, this is where I was not as content. I don’t want to spoil things for folks and I think even mentioning names is an iffy thing so I’m sorry if I’m vague here. There were three other plot paths for established characters who already got their stories earlier in the series.
One crisis couple (and the crisis was one of those types where I was twitchy to smack heads and lock folks in a closet until they got it dealt with) was wrapped up here in this story, but the other two need resolving still.
I’m crossing my fingers that the oldest couple will see some action in the next of the spin-off series, The Black Dagger Legacy, and I’m keen to get that because it’s a favorite couple that has me so worried right now. I’ve seen this one fracturing a little at a time and the gaps are getting wider.
The other situation is a real struggle. I’m all for giving someone their happy-happy (it’s why I read romance after all), but not sure I’m in line for what is seemingly in store for Trez (there, I let one name slip out). The new angle was more of a distraction for me compared to other plots in this book and also felt like a cop out- would rather it have been something different.
Lassiter has a big update here, too, and it’s a doozy (there, another name slipped out).
And, the one minor character that really has me growing curious is Qhinn’s brother dealing with his inner demons and health struggles.
This book was one where I pretty much knew what couple was getting the spotlight, but I have to be honest and say, I have no idea what is coming next. I can make some guesses. I do know a more powerful villain is emerging to tweak some tails and, as I said, there are a few new conflicts for established characters, but as to who will take front and center? We shall see…
My thanks to Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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