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.
Romance Roundabout #134 PNR