Review: The Chosen by J.R. Ward

Review: The Chosen by J.R. WardThe Chosen by J.R. Ward

Series: #15 Black Dagger Brotherhood
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Ballantine Books on April 4, 2017
Pages: 544
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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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 Delight

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.

Review

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.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #97 PNR
Literary Pickers #90 Mints
Bad Boys #13
New Release #51

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • Debbie Haupt

    Wow I was hesitant to read your review Sophia Rose because I actually pre-ordered this book (which as you know I NEVER pay for books) and the only thing I can guess is what happened to Trez but we’ll see. I have it on audible so I’m interested to see how things play out as I listen.
    Great review!!!

    • I was working really hard not to say anything that people couldn’t surmise from past books or the blurb. It was tough. I wanted to talk all about my impressions. LOL

      Oh, I do hope the audio version is even more delicious. I’ve heard good things about the narrator.

      • Debbie Haupt

        I have to admit reading your review made me start it today LOL

        • Only fair. I’ve leaped into stories after reading your posts, lady. 🙂

  • Oh boy, I didn’t realize it was already on book 15! Glad to see you’re still enjoying it even though there was a few things that wasn’t perfect. Lovely review, Sophia Rose!

    • Yeah, this series is getting up there and I don’t see it slowing down any time soon. There are at least five more potentials to get their stories already in the picture not to mention ongoing storylines with the existing group.

  • that is a lot of books, but at least they seem to be going strong, maybe when I am in the mood I’ll give this series another shot

    • Its a tough series to power through. I’ve had some books that nearly bored me to tears in areas or made me mad. I think its just going to be a mixed bag for me every time I pick one up. 🙂

  • RO

    My goodness! Sounds like we get a lot of deep emotion, struggle and feels in Ward’s latest offering, and I love that the lead female is called Layla (granddaughter’s name-lol) It’s got to be super rough to keep writing a series with this many books and characters and to keep a great storyline, but Ward gets it done. I’m adding this to my pile of JR Ward novels even though I have a lot of catching up to do with a few I haven’t started. Great review! Hugs…

    • Oh, now that is fun that she shares your granddaughter’s name.

      I can’t imagine keeping track of all the characters and plot threads she must have going on right now. All I can see is a huge spread sheet or a wall of Post-It notes or something.
      Yeah, these are so many now, but its no big deal to take your time and get to them when you can.

      Thanks, Ro!

  • I need to get caught up on this series because it’s a favorite of mine and this book sounds really good.

    • Yeah, it’s tough to keep up with all the new releases in all the favorite series. It was pretty good, Mary. 🙂

  • I am so glad that you enjoyed this one. I really need to get caught up with this series. I am not even sure where I left off but I know I have some work to do. This does sound really good!

    • I go into each with great anticipation so I have to be careful not to expect way too much. But this one yes, had me nailbiting for the main pair.

      Whoops, maybe you’ll have to do some re-reads (travesty, right, Carole? LOL) to figure out where you left off. 🙂

  • One day I will get caught up!! Glad you are still enjoying them.

    • I know what you mean. I had to make a big push to get caught up last year. So hard to keep up on all the great series out there.

  • One day I’ll really have to try this author. I have the 4 or 5 first books in French to read but well it’s been years!!!!

    • Ha! I have no room to talk. I have so many unread books on my shelves that I need to get around to and start or finish a series. Hope you get the chance to start them, Melliane. 🙂

  • Oh boy, I need to check if I have one of her books in my TBR. Great review as always Sophia Rose 🙂

    • Thanks, Vanessa! Hope you get a chance to try this series someday. Maybe book one is even on your pile. 🙂

  • I’ve heard good things about this series, but it’s not one I’ve read myself. I haven’t read a series as long as this one in a while. I think the furthest books in a series I’ve read this year so far is a sixth book in a series. But if the author can keep things interesting long series can be great, it’s just hard to stay up to date with them. It does sound like this series is still going strong.
    Glad you liked were the story with the main couple went, even though you weren’t as content with some other plot lines. It does sound interesting how you keep getting parts of other characters their stories as well in this one. Great review!

    • I started this series and never gave a thought to just how long it would go. At first I thought it was winding down near book ten, but then new dangers and villains came as well as new couples and suddenly here we are with the possibility of a ton more.

      I do still enjoy the series so it’s great to see all the new installments come year after year.

  • I know not everyone has enjoyed the story line of Xcor and Layla, but I have really enjoyed their connection for the same reasons you have mentioned. I like that Layla sees the good in Xcor and I like those plots where a couple has to face some unbeatable odds like this. Can’t wait to pick it up, especially since The Beast was amazing. Lovely review.

    • I think you’ll really love this one for Xcor and Layla. The other threads are interesting choices to say the least. 😉
      Oh yeah, The Beast was hands down awesomeness.

      Thanks, Renee!