The Beast by J.R. Ward #Review

The Beast by J.R. Ward #ReviewThe Beast by J.R. Ward

Series: #14 Black Dagger Brotherhood
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by NAL on April 5, 2016
Pages: 528
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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For the life of me, I have yet to figure out how to review the books in this series.  I sit here now wondering what I can say and just how thorough I should be with my review.  Yeah, that last part is the real troublesome part.  I mean, I write loooooong reviews with normal length books and this one is like twice that.

But I will try.  I will try not to give up the goods and not write the Gone With the Wind or War and Peace of all reviews.

A new Black Dagger Brotherhood novel.  *shivers with anticipation*  A return to Rhage and Mary as the focal pair.  *give it to me now*  True fear after the last installment. *chills*

But I have straight up respect for an author willing to be true to her muses whether it is the gamble of a reprisal of characters who already got their HEA or killing off a well loved character.  She goes there and that means anything can happen.  Not a bad thing really.

So, this is book fourteen.  Long standing series that really should be read in order.  I know people who have skipped about and did alright, but personally, best done in order.

Alright, so this one follows some pretty traumatic stuff in The Shadows.  And there was some heavy foreshadowing that there is something up with Rhage.  The author doesn’t keep the reader waiting since scene one dives right into the heart of things with Rhage and with Mary even while the Brothers are in the thick of things with a bastion of Lessers and a surprising new complication in the presence of humans with cell phones and conspiracy theory noses.

There is a distance forming between Rhage and his Mary that they both feel, but are helpless to fix.  Work keeps them apart, but it is more than that.  Rhage feels something wrong inside him, but only a surprising epiphany brings him understanding what it is.  How does he fix such a thing?  What will it mean for him and his mate?  He doesn’t want her to know what is bugging him, but she finds out anyway.  And Mary, a death of a woman at the center and now a grieving child leave her at a crisis point and doubting her skills and what she knows even as she yearns to get little Bitty, the abused child who just lost her mother, to open up to her.

Weaving around Rhage and Mary’s story is the conspiracy going on in the Glymera involving Throe and his new lover, but surprisingly the King talks Assail into getting involved to be his man inside the Glymera.  And Assail, still battling his addictions and a need for redemption, gets the job done.  His biggest discovery is horrific beyond what anyone expected.  New twist there.

New plot line involves a human story line with a woman who doesn’t take the vampires are among us too seriously, but yet, how to explain some of that unexplained stuff in the old news stories and on You Tube.  Whew, that final reveal at the end of the book with her story promises some interesting times and I can’t wait to see when her story intersects further with the hidden world she doubts is real.

And Xcor and Layla’s story gets a brutal jump start from where it left things.  Probably makes me an oddity, but I do feel such pity for Xcor.  He was born under an ill-fated star, made some bad choices, made some good choices, but he never catches a break when he makes the good choices.  I so wanted him to be redeemed and still do.  But things are in a pretty bad place for him now.

Layla is close with her babies coming.  She has doubts, regrets, guilt, forbidden love, but she is all about her babies.  Cute to see her with Quinn and Blay anticipating parenthood.

But the tantalizing story here was Vishous.  He and Jane got some strong page time.  He struggles with his mixed feelings about his mother.  But now he starts to really look at himself, his relationship with Jane, and the other relationships around him.  I really hope there is more to come.

So, this one has several story threads, multiple narrators, and tugged a lot of things forward with the only ‘closure’ going to Rhage and Mary’s story line.  Not unusual.  I actually don’t mind the ongoing feel just so long as there are significant advances.  I could have used more advancement with the Glymera plot, but, on the other end of the spectrum, the Xcor and Layla storyline really felt like it is coming near a crisis point.

The pace was good and I enjoyed the variety of fast and furious fight scenes, tense suspense stuff, passion for the lovers, humor and camaraderie always for the Brothers- the pranks were a hoot, and even the sweet scenes involving Rhage and Bitty.  Those are can’t miss for Rhage fans.

Speaking of Rhage- and Mary.  I liked what the author did with her revisit to their story.  Much like what she did for Butch and Marissa in Blood Kiss, a long-established couple finds themselves struggling in the long term.  They must figure it out and fix it.  The difficulty makes sense to their unique circumstances and the author didn’t blow up trouble just for trouble’s sake.  And the way this pair handles it- just as you want to see in a loving established pair.  They talk *gasp*.  They deal and they fix.  And in the doing so, there is excitement, passion, and what we love about this pair all fresh and like a present to the fans because Rhage is…well he is himself and I couldn’t stop smiling and going weak at the knees.

Sidetrack thought- that cover.  Ugh, yeah.  Perfect.  Nailed it.  And it’s even better when that blue rain and titles shimmer in the paper copy.

So in summary, this book going back to a settled pair was needed and wanted.  The ongoing story lines were engaging and had good reveals and twists.  The new storyline which isn’t as out of the blue as it seemed will prove good stuff, I think.  Fans of the series will appreciate and enjoy this one.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #134 PNR

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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.
  • I’m really glad you enjoyed this. I think I’m done with this series. I feel like Ward keeps bringing in new storylines without closing old ones. For example, BoB and Lessers. They just go away, but without any closer. I haven’t been as happy with the past few books. I’ve decided to stop reading series that are no longer living up to my expectations because there are too many new ones I want to try and I don’t have the time for both. For people who are still enjoying this one, I’m really glad that they are, but I can’t any more.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • No sweat, Melanie!
      It is hard to see so many story lines and get impatient for them to finish off. You’re not the only one who is just…done. 😉

      I’ll keep you updated with my reviews. LOL

  • Shari Delighted Read

    I have been debating if I should read this one. With The King, I only read the main story line and skipped the rest. I skipped The Shadows totally until this morning. I started it on audio this morning during my walk. It’s 22 hours and I am thinking at this rate, I will get to the end of it in about 50 or more days of walking. I just can’t take much more of the 10 different story lines going in 10 different ways. Maybe i am simple, but I just don’t want to follow that many different stories and jumping around.

    • Oh man, yeah, that would be months worth of walking for me, too, and no way to skip to a different story thread if you wanted.
      There are a boat load of story lines and it is hard to keep from being distracted. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I felt like this one was tighter and not as distracting than the last two even though it has a half dozen threads, too.

      • Shari Delighted Read

        Well, I made it a whole 30 minutes in today. Maybe when my husband travels I will have my Amazon Echo read it to me while I clean house. With him home, I hate disturbing him with all my sexy stories, lol. I don’t own the ebook, so I will just take my time to do it all. I have The Beast in hardback and I am dying to read it, but I am afraid once again there will be too many threads and have me screaming at Ward over it.

        • While there are I think are five story lines, I think you will love that Rhage and Mary really get a huge chunk of the book so it will be worth it when you get to Beast.

          LOL, yeah, I wouldn’t treat my hubby to such a pleasure either especially when his idea of reading material is manuals and occasionally a biography.

  • Debbie Haupt

    I want, I want, I want. I LOVED The Shadows and I’m in the middle of listening to Blood Kiss, in that one she spotlights Butch and Marissa as well as the two kids the book is about. I have always been in love with Rhage and I too feel for Xcor. God I hope she gives him and Layla a HEA. GREAT review!

    • Oh gosh, you are going to melt into a puddle of goo over all the Rhage in this one. He loves on his Mary, but there is another facet to his love that a little orphan girl brings out that you will find adorable.

  • I am getting so behind in this series. I have The King on audio but just can’t make myself listen for well over twenty hours. And I heard it wasn’t good so there’s that. So I am stuck. And then I read your review and I want to read this so bad but I can’t because I want to read them in order. A problem! Great review!

    • The horns of dilemma. LOL. Poor Lorna. Melanie and Shari are in the same boat. They are such huginormous books. Whew!

  • Eh, I like the early stuff, I will stay with those 🙂

  • I’m going to read this series one of these days. I am, I am, I AM! 🙂

    • I came to them late, too. I got the first one at the library finally and then ended up binging the next four, I think. So, the moral of the story? Be prepared to clear your reading schedule if you end up liking book one. 😉

  • I really want to read this one, but I am waiting to pick up Blood Kiss first. I love Rhage and Mary…the only downside is the multiple story lines since that was the reason I didn’t continue with the BDB after book 9. So hopefully I will like it when I get it.

    • I like getting them in order even the spin off Legacy series, Blood Kiss. Hopefully there won’t be too much craziness for you since you’re skipping a few after book 9