Reviewed by: Candace
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
When I first started reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, the dark, brooding, pressure-keg-about-to-blow, Blind King Wrath, hooked me. There was something there waiting to be discovered. Beth Randall, his new-found shellan (mate for those not familiar with BDB speak), unraveled layers of complexity. But, like someone too far underwater struggling to get to the top for air, Wrath just needed to breathe.
Years—and 11 books—later, Wrath is even more pressured. And we get a better understanding of why. J.R. Ward provides incredibly visual flashbacks to Wrath’s parents, Wrath and Anha. Through these flashbacks we see Tohr’s relationship with the elder Wrath, and through current events in the book, the relationship that the Brother now holds with the son.
In true Ward fashion, we see aspects of all of the Brothers. We see their contributions to the current hero and heroine’s storyline. Ward has always respected her readers enough to keep us informed on the happenings of characters.
That being said, she also has a lot of storylines going at once. In the past, I have defended this, comparing Ward to a conductor of a massive symphony. She is great at this. Every component of the music that she directs is played flawlessly. It is just that there is too damned much.
The King would have been better served split into two books, because there are multiple main story arcs played out. Assail rescuing Sola, Sola humanizing the drug trafficker, Trez banging every human woman he possibly can, falling in love with Selena, Selena falling in love with him, Selena’s *cue the elevator music, because she has something going on that is a spoiler*, Layla’s pregnancy, Xcor’s love for Layla and feelings of unworthiness, XCor’s sacrifices, Throe’s…well, just Throe. And the Glymera. God, if there ever was an English word that could sum up the sound that indigestion, disgust and pretension makes, it would be Glymera. Speaking of which, poor Saxton. Anywho…
What we basically have is a story about the rebirth of Wrath and the woman who brings him to this place. Wrath and Beth are the backbone of the BDB-verse. Seeing their love grow stronger is what makes The King one of the best books in the series. There is intense emotional upheaval (go get your Kleenex before you start reading), cold-shower-inducing sex scenes (seriously, sales of bed frames with no headboard will skyrocket within the month), and vengeance. This book is a winner, even if it does challenge my underlying ADD a bit.
Long live The King.
Sexual content: Graphic sex