Apr 8, 2014

Posted by in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: The King by JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12)

theking3 star

Paranormal Romance
April 1 2014
Hardcover
573 pages
NAL

Yummy Man – Wrath
Kick Ass Chick – Beth

From Goodreads –
Long live the King…

After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle–with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything–and everyone–at risk.

Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response–or the distance it creates between them.

The question is, will true love win out… or tortured legacy take over?

———-

I have no idea what to rate this book.  In order to decide, I am doing something I don’t think I’ve done before while rating a book from a long-running series:  I am going to Goodreads and looking at how I rated past books.  While looking at each book’s rating, I am asking myself “Did I like this one more or less than that one?”  Hopefully with that, by the end of this review I will have a rating I feel comfortable sharing.

The King is the twelfth book in JR Ward’s hugely popular Black Dagger Brotherhood.  This series has been called ‘crack’ because of it’s addictive qualities but I am left to wonder if many will ‘get clean’ after this book and settle on a non-BDB life.  I am telling you now, I am not one of them.  I will read the next book, but I may skip some scenes because there are a few characters that I really don’t care about.  They are unlikable and flat in my opinion and I just…don’t care.  This is also one of those series that people either love with a passion hotter than the summer sun or hate with the same passion.  A good example of this:  I once asked Jason to read the first book, Dark Lover, to review it for the blog.  I thought it would be amazing to get his point of view on it.  Well, he never made it past the first 6 pages!  Couldn’t get into the slang and found it too violent.  *snort*  But I, after discovering this series shortly after the release of Lover Avenged (book 7), stocked up on boxed meals for my family the day a new BDB book came out so I could just read read read.  The butterflies the morning of a new release were intense!

And because there is tons to talk about in this latest book, this review will be long.  Just a heads up lol.

The tone of the book.   Let’s start here.  This is a very different book for this series.  There is some fighting, yes, but it’s minimal and not extra exciting.  That means the tone is not as ‘high-octane’ as most of the other books.  I actually didn’t mind that.  I was starting to feel like the fighting was getting the same from book to book.

“Advertising”/name-dropping.  I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to fancy brand/designer name things so most of Ward’s ‘product placement’ went way over my head.  But it was there and it was abundant.  I know the reason is to make us see that a) these guys are wealthy and can get whatever they want and b) to make the World even more vivid and real.  Easier to relate to and envision.  But there is a limit and Ward pretty much reached it by the 50% mark of this book.

Plotlines.  This time we have the Warth and Beth and the kingship thing, we have the Trez and Selena and the Shadow queen’s daughter thing, we have the Xcor and Layla thing, we have the glymera and Band of Bastards doing annoying things thing, we have the Assail and Sola and her kidnapping continuing from the last book thing, we have JM and the seizures thing, we have the Wrath’s parents thing and to top it off, we have a little bit of iAm and a little bit of Lassiter.   *takes deep breath*  So yeah…just a few things going on.  (see 573 pages)

The slang.  I didn’t find it as annoying  this time which is a good thing.  Except for ‘abso’.  Do people actually say that instead of ‘absolutely’?  I don’t think I’ve ever heard it.  Maybe it’s a U.S. thing…

The prologue.  I was quite confused at first but then the twist is revealed and bam!  I found it quite smart.

Now, let’s get into characters.  Let’s start with one that actually surprised me –

Wrath.  I have always liked him but I can’t say I ever absolutely adored him.  But after this book, he has grown on me a lot and the reason is that he has finally matured as a character and grown up.   I loved watching him evolve.  Were some of these scenes a bit boring?  Yup.  But the end result was great.  I am actually looking forward to seeing if he sticks to this ‘new Wrath’ in the next book because this is a good guy and a great king.

Beth.  She’s cool.  I like her.  She is a good match for Wrath – I have always found this.

JM.  What.  The.  Heck?  He is in quite a few scenes and something is happening to him but it is never revealed WHY!  Why not?  Why have him go through all this only to drop it completely by the end of the book.  Didn’t get that.  At all.

Saxton. I really like him. A lot. I wasn’t even a huge fan of his in past books (I was indifferent I suppose) and I even thought he was being mounded into a problem-guy but all thoughts along those lines are gone. I like him.

Layla.  I like how she has grown balls but she still has a way to go for me.  Not sure how I feel about her and Xcor (still) but by the end of this book, I like how he is with her.  I’m curious to  see if he will continue to soften and if she will continue to un-soften.  Maybe then I’ll actually picture them as a match.

Xcor.  He is actually the subject of my ‘giggle worthy quote’!  Who would have thought?!  Also, he makes a decision at the end of this book that I’m happy with because really, it was getting tired.  Hopefully he will stick to his decision and that it won’t just become someone else’s thing.  Someone such as…

Throe.  *sigh*  Not sure I’m liking where his character is going.  This worries me.

s’Ex. Yup. She went there. He’s…nothing new for this series. All sex and evil but is he really…you know the drill. He is undoubtedly be in the next book and I can’t seem to care either way. But ‘s’Ex’. Really?!

Assail.  I just don’t care about this guy.  He interested me a bit in the last book but in this one, not at all.  I don’t understand why people are so in awe of him.  And I don’t understand why Ward has him snorting up the coke.  It cheapens him as a characters, if that is even possible.  I like that he goes all macho alpha when around Sola, that is one thing about this series that makes me giggle in a good way, but after two seconds I’m over it and I’m back to ‘I don’t care’.

Sola.  Same really.  I don’t dislike her but I don’t enjoy her either.  Can’t seem to find the love here.  All I am curious about here is how Ward will make her and Assail able to have a HEA.  I don’t care how they will get there, just how she will become immortal seeing that she is human now.  And I like her grandmother.  She’s fun.

Trez.  I do like that he is maturing by the end of the book but…*sigh*  I have always liked him in past books but in this book I didn’t feel much for him.  Maybe the next book will change my opinion seeing that it’s about him and his brother.

Selena.  Very curious about this one.  I was wondering how Ward would make her different from Layla and we see how in The King.  I find it very interesting and I’m glad that in the next book we’ll see it all play out.

iAm.  OMGILOVEDHIMINTHISBOOK!!!  There wasn’t much of him but when he was on the page, I paid attention.  I smiled more for him than I think any other character in this book.  And his scenes with Beth, aww….

“Goddamn Cat”.  LMAO!  Love it!!!

Lassiter.  As usual, his scenes are memorable and hilarious.  I didn’t like him much originally when first meeting him in this series because I found him to be just another character who was too full of himself but he has grown on me.

The scene which involves Lassiter.  I can’t say much else without giving anything away, but let me tell you, this is the scene that made me both remember why I used to love these books so much and why I don’t seem to be feeling them as much anymore.  The answer for both is the same:  the Brother’s camaraderie.  The Brothers and how they interact with each other, their loyalty and respect for each other, is what made the first few books in this series go great.  That chemistry is hard to beat.  In this scene with Lassiter, you see that friendship and bond again and it totally made my day.  But it also reminded me how we don’t really have that anymore in this series.  In order for this series to grow and keep going, Ward had to, of course, introduce new characters.  Some, such as Qhuinn and Blay, fit it perfectly where others, such as Assail and the Band of Bastards, not so much.  And the reason in my opinion is that these new characters – and their sidekicks – don’t have the same chemistry as the Brothers do.  So that magic is missing from the characters that are carrying this series forward and that means from the books themselves.

So there you have it.  My looooong review of The King.  I didn’t dislike the book.  I was not as cranky as some after reading it – but I didn’t love it either.  I had to put it down once in a while, you know to eat and sleep and such, and found it was quite easy to put down.  I remember reading Lover Mine and refusing to stop reading for anything.  And I remember going to see Jason after I was done with it sobbing because the book was so great and I just couldn’t get it out of my head.  Not so much this time around.

I will read the next book, The Shadows, but I will be honest with you:  if I read a scene or two with Assail and Sola and find them as meh as in this book, I am skimming their scenes.  And when I skim a book, it’s an automatic ‘less than 3 star rating’ from me.  And I really hope it does not come to that because it would make me sad and I would miss this series if it gets to the point of feeling like work to read it and I’d have to give it up.

3 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“‘And here is your change and receipt.  You want a bad for your old stuff?’

‘Yes, please.  Thank you.’

A big white bag with a red star was passed over the console.  ‘Thanks for coming in – my name’s Antoine, by the way.  If you want to come back for shoes.’

After  shoving his former clothes inside, Xcor found himself bowing at the waist.  ‘Your assistance has been much appreciated.’

Antoine raised his palm, like he was getting ready to do a clap on the shoulder again.  But once more, he caught himself and smiled instead.  ‘Knock her dead, my man.’

‘Oh, no.’  Xcor shook his head.  ‘That’s shant be necessary.  This one I like.'”

Books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series –
Dark Lover
Lover Eternal
Lover Awakened
Lover Revealed
Lover Unbound
Lover Enshrined
Lover Avenged
Lover Mine
Lover Unleashed
Lover Reborn
Lover At Last
The King
The Shadows (2015)

p.s. Later this morning, I will be sharing some of what JR Ward posted on her Facebook page about this past weekend’s signing/Q&A about the next book, this book and other BDB stuff. 🙂

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  1. I just answered this week’s question, and now I’m trying to type-up my review without having to write one quite as long as yours. LOL For me, this book kinda felt like a bunch of short stories with a Beth/Wrath novella at the end. I’ll read the next book, but I’m not going to download it on release day like I did for The King. Great review Julie!

  2. I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head. I feel the same way. The product placement is getting way out of hand. As far as the ghetto speak, I’m not sure it is a US thing. I’ve never heard most of the slang that is used and I’ve live in the US, but I liven suburb, not urban, so that could be the difference.

    I will read the next book, but I’m going to try to remember that this series isn’t what it used to be and just deal with it. I hope that if I remember it will not live up to the hype, it will make reading more enjoyable.

  3. Carmel – Can’t wait to see what you come up with for a review 😉

    Melanie – I like what you’re going to do for the next book and I will do the same. Knowing it’s not the same as it used to be will probably make things easier to take 🙂

  4. I do agree with a lot you said, but I don’t know if the is the audio, but I did enjoy it a lot more than you did, I gave it 4 Stars. And that’s a not as good as the other books, I’ve always rated most of them 4.5 or 5. What bothered you bothered me too, but I love the narrator, he made it a lot easier to listen, but what bothers me the most is the lost potential 🙁
    Thank you Julie 🙂

  5. Great review! I just finished The King last night and by 80% through I was so anxious to find out what would happen with Beth and Wrath that I completely skipped all the other character’s passages just so I could get to the end! I could seriously do without all the back and forth between story lines – I would appreciate only needing to follow one at a time!
    Xcor and Layla were never my favorite pairing, but Xcor’s decisions endeared him a bit more to me this time around. And his shopping trip seriously made me laugh! Layla, though, I’m still not on board with her.
    For some reason I like Assail. I don’t like his coke habit, for sure, but I liked his protectiveness over Sola. And I actually really liked the cousins and Grandma. She had some of the other laugh out loud passages for me.
    Right on with iAm and Goddamn Cat. 🙂
    Also right on with the brotherhood bonding stuff. I love when that is present – it makes the books for me. I’ve skimmed the fighting/lessers/band of bastards scenes for the past few books because they were the most boring part for me.
    And lastly, I live in a major city in the US and I went to middle and highschool in what could be considered “inner city”, but I’ve NEVER heard anybody talk like this. Abso? Are you kidding me? No way! The worst I’ve heard (and thankfully it’s stopped being used!) was “gorge” for gorgeous.

  6. Lupdilup – I have Lover Mine on audio but never listened to it. I might have to change that to see if the narrator makes the series different for me 🙂

    Lizzie – Loved Xcor’s shopping trip! I also like Assail’s protective streak towards Sola but not much else lol. I too have skipped the fighting. Don’t blame you there. And ‘gorge’…eek! lol

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