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Review: Blood Vow by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Legacy #2)

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Blood Vow by JR Ward // VBC ReviewBlood Vow (BDB Legacy #2)
J.R. Ward
Published: Dec. 6, 2016 (Ballantine Books)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Jo

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will make reference to previous books in both this series and the Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Blood Kiss.

Much like Blood Kiss, the first in the BDB Legacy spin-off series, Blood Vow splits its time between the new recruits in the training program and the Brothers. Just to add in another warning, the Brother’s story is a direct continuation of a storyline from The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14), so if you haven’t read that, and don’t want to be spoiled, then you may want to hold off on this one.

Elise has been sneaking around for the last year, trying desperately to finish her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at a human college. After tragedy struck their high ranking gylmera family, her father forbade her to continue, something she isn’t prepared to do. When he inevitably finds out, he threatens to make her a sehcluded female, essentially a prisoner until she marries. When the King intervenes, they manage to come to a compromise: she can continue, but only with a bodyguard.

Axe is nearing the end of his training with the Brotherhood, and he’s more than ready to bring the fight to the lessers. In serious need of cash though, he agrees to take on a bodyguard job. He can’t decided if it’s a good or a bad thing that the ‘body’ is a female he hasn’t been able to get out of his head since a chance meeting.

Meanwhile in the Brotherhood Mansion, Rhage and Mary must deal with the fact that their adoption of Bitty may be in serious jeopardy.

Axe and Elise’s storyline in Blood Vow started out great, with not so much ‘instalove’ as ‘instalust’ and chemistry that was up there in the haaawt scale. I liked how honest they were with each other from the beginning, communicating through out the story. Elise was able to show Axe that not all of the gylmera are like those that betrayed his father, or like his mother. And, in turn, he was able to make her experience emotions on a visceral level, rather than through a textbook.

Elise is the cousin of Peyton, one of the other trainees, who is less than thrilled by their obvious attraction. And here lies my main frustration with Blood Vow. As far as conflict goes, this was pretty much it. Their romance was almost straightforward with very little in the way of danger or risk. I kept asking myself: Where is the Omega? Where is Lash? Hell, toward the end I would have taken another Billy Riddle! And if not from the outside, I would have loved to see more conflict between them as a couple. Axe is so emotionally closed off at the beginning, seeking out hardcore sex clubs rather than be in a position to let anyone hurt him like his mother did his father. And while this was dealt with in his relationship with Elise, it felt like it happened very quickly. When I think back to Zsadist’s or John Matthew’s books, I guess I wish there has been a similar level on intensity to Axe and Elise’s story.

For me, I think the reason for these issues was actually the inclusion of Rhage and Mary’s continued plot in this book. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it, I really did. It was emotional, heartbreaking and incredibly sweet at times, watching just how hard Rhage and Mary fought for what was right for this little girl. If this had been a separate novella, it would have been a 5-festive-star read. But included here it took up too much page time. Not only did that mean there wasn’t the space for a more involved plot between Axe and Elise, but it also had little to no impact on Axe and Elise either, making the story as a whole feel very spilt.

All of that being said, it wasn’t until after I finished reading Blood Vow that I actually starting thinking about these issues. At the time, I was once again sucked into the wonderful family saga that is the BDB. I came away just as obsessed with this world and characters as I’ve always been, itching for more, stomping round my house in Uggs (my version of shitkickers), talking in acronyms and saying ‘true’ at the end of all my sentences – it’s quite the sight to behold. And that is why BDB, and its spin off, will continue to be on my auto-buy list.

Sexual content: graphic sex, BDSM

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