Review: The Jackal by J.R. Ward

Posted March 22, 2021 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 16 Comments

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I received this book for free from Library in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Jackal by J.R. Ward
The Jackal

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three-flames


Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood: Prison Camp #1
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Gallery Books
Released on August 18, 2020
Pages: 416
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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The Delight:

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.

 

Review:
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.

 

Challenges Met:

Library Love #4

COYER Community #19 Library RAT

About J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward is the author of over thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. There are more than 15 million copies of Ward’s novels in print worldwide and they have been published in 25 different countries around the world.

After graduating from law school, Ward began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.

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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.

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Iza
Iza
21 days ago

I’m glad you enjoyed it so much, I’ve never taken a liking to the BDB like so many readers, but there are series for everyone in this world and loving what we read is the most important point 🙂

Sophia Rose
21 days ago
Reply to  Iza

So true! We all have those series that really do it for us and some that never grab our interest. I enjoyed this side story though I do need to get caught up on the main stories. It just happened to be the one on the library waiting list that came first. 🙂

Rachel
19 days ago

I didn’t know there was a new spinoff. I’ll have to look this up and expect some frustrations with TSTL moments.

Sophia Rose
19 days ago
Reply to  Rachel

Yes, this was a nice surprise. Fortunately, the TSTL stuff was minimal so there is plenty to love.

Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books

It has been so long since I read JR Ward that I am not sure where I left off in the series. I do want to get back to it someday and this sounds like a great book!

Sophia Rose
19 days ago

It was like one of the older ones in the series where it focused mostly on one couple and their story. As long as you got past Rhage’s second book, The Beast, you’d probably do fine with this one.

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
19 days ago

Great review and well you know how I feel about the BDB and the Warden xo

Sophia Rose
19 days ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Yes, fellow fangal! This was a wonderful side story in the series, right?

Mary Kirkland
19 days ago

This book is on my wish list to read at some point. It does sound good.

Sophia Rose
19 days ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

I was on the library waiting list for it and might have squeed with excitement when it was finally my turn. I look forward to seeing what you think.

Mary Kirkland
15 days ago

I still need to get caught up on all of these books..

Sophia Rose
15 days ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

I’ve got last years’ BDB, The Sinner, and then the Christmas one to catch up. Hopefully, I’ll get my turn on the library list soon.

Carole Rae
13 days ago

” I wasn’t stunned out of my pants like poor Nyx” that had me snorting!

Sophia Rose
13 days ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Hehe, glad to give you a laugh. 🙂

RO P
10 days ago

My goodness, I’m out of touch(lol), because I’ve never heard of this new series. It sure sounds like an interesting idea to have a secret vampire prison, and I definitely want to know more. Too bad about Nyx though. Don’t you hate when you don’t love the character all that much, even tough the story is good? Perhaps her sisters’ stories will provide more likeable characters. Thanks for such an awesome review, and Happy Easter to yours and Shari’s family! Hugs, RO

Sophia Rose
10 days ago
Reply to  RO P

LOL, it is hard to keep up with all the new ones in the Black Dagger Brotherhood now that there are a few spinoffs plus the original series. At least the spinoffs tend to be standalone or can be read even if one isn’t up to date on the main series. 🙂

Yeah, she annoyed me, but not enough to hate the whole story. 🙂

Have a great Easter, Radiant Ro!