This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Gallery Books
Released on August 18, 2020
Pretty much any story set in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world will capture my fancy and that includes a prison camp. I had no idea what I was getting, but I was all in and my faith was not disappointed.
The Jackal is the first of the Black Dagger Brotherhood: Prison Camp spin off series and also is classified as the fifth of the Black Dagger Legacy series. Chronologically, it falls after the release of The Sinner, but I think it could be read any time after The Beast since the main characters aren’t directly involved in the BDB.
The Jackal is told in a split time line with one line in present day and the other around 1914. The present day narrative is split between Jackal and Nyx with an opening scene by Rhage while the past is narrated from Rhage’s perspective. They don’t seem related at first, but in the end, the past time line does explain how things came to be in the present.
The Jackal is a mysterious prisoner in the Glymera Council’s hidden prison. He is not like other prisoners and has the attention of the Command. He knows that he will never see freedom and might even die horrifically, but he is a planner and keeps hope alive by learning the underground prison so well that he has the guards, shifts, layout, and resources memorized and plotted. His plottings are interrupted when a female from the outside arrives in the prison with more guts than good sense and threatens to blow his plans wide open while getting herself captured and tortured in heinous and interesting ways at the Command’s whim.
Nyx is a commoner living on a small farm in Upstate New York with her grandfather and bubbly younger sister. One night, she is out on a grocery run with her sister when Posey hits a deer in their car. Only, it’s not a deer, but a pre-trans who is near death after the hit and out of his mind babbling about escaping prison and churches. Nyx goes on the alert. The prison! Her oldest sister, Janelle was incarcerated fifty years before for murdering an aristocratic vampire she worked for and they never heard from her again. Nyx has been looking for the prison all that time so she could at least see her sister. Thanks to the ramblings of Posey’s latest wounded stray, she knows where to look. Getting in was the easy part and her bold bluster to one of the prisoners that she’ll be fine is just that, but Jackal gets her back up and that is NOT attraction sizzling between them. She has to find her sister and get her to freedom. Janelle was innocent no matter what others believe and Jackal and his chilling prison mate friends are her means and opportunity. Though now, she wants desperately for Jackal to escape with her.
The Jackal is a curious side bar to the Black Dagger world. I enjoyed both seeing Rhage and Darius in the Caldwell of the past when they first meet Jackal as a gifted architect helping Darius plan what would become the future BDB HQ. I also enjoyed exploring the gritty, new setting of a vampire prison where terrible things are happening in this forgotten place since the raids and Wrath broke up the Council’s rule. The author even introduced a new class of vampire, Wolfen, and a couple other subspecies types.
Like the Legacy spinoffs and earlier BDB books, The Jackal is focused on a few main characters and storylines. The plot was tight and suspenseful. There are little mysteries, but the action plots- both the object of get in and get out and the romance kept moving.
As to the characters, Jackal has lived over a century in an underground prison for a crime he didn’t do and been abused in ways that left him a complex person. He is methodical and deep, but he hasn’t lost his humanity. His patience and understanding are amazing particularly when paired with a volatile Nyx. He sees her flaws, just as he keeps back his own shame and reasons for what he does letting her think what she’s gonna think. He respects her and thinks she deserves better even while he experiences love and loving sex for the first time in his life from someone.
Nyx was not my favorite person for much of the book though I understood a good deal about what got in her craw. She has a dreamy-headed, but stubborn younger sister who isn’t all that practical, a reserved grandfather who seems to have kept back secrets that hurt her. She has an older sister that she hero-worshiped and misses particularly because she is convinced of her innocence. But… yeah, Nyx for all her jaded practicality is a loud-mouthed, impulsive, and often demanding person. She is convinced that she knows best and has to buck against everyone. She goes into a prison she knows nothing about trying to push Jackal around and insist on her own way. TSTL moments abound with her, but, I’ll give her this, she does have some skill and isn’t a hopeless, fluttering ninny. She does eventually get a clue and owns her mistakes so I was back in good feeling with her.
The twists were great though I confess that I saw them coming so I wasn’t stunned out of my pants like poor Nyx. I enjoyed the little surprise for Rhage and look forward to seeing that developed in the future. After meeting Jackal’s quirky friends inside the prison, I am totally onboard with getting further prisoner stories.
All in all, I had a good time with this first Prison Camp story and can’t wait for more. Those who enjoy sexy, action-packed, strong charactered Paranormal Romance should not hesitate to delve into the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the spin off series in that world.
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