Release Date: April 1, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance
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've been MIA because as you all know, I took a short trip to Caldwell, New York and visited my favorite vampires, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. It was a great vacay with a few mishaps but overall it's something I would recommend PNR lovers take.
Now on to the meat of things and I'll make this succinct because I know reviews have already started mushrooming and I don't want to give y'all a long winded redundant feedback. It still might be a long-ish one considering the book is 600 pages packed with the good stuff only J.R. Ward can deliver. I'll start with my mini-gripes so I can spend more time on the good stuff.
For the past couple of books, J.R. Ward's been playing with shifting POV weaving a story not just about a featured brother but with side characters as well. In THE KING, Wrath's story is told side by side with Assail, Trez and Xcor's later on. I didn't care much for Assail's storyline, skimming through chapters and chapters of his ill fated love match with Sola and all that drug dealing business. I know that Assail has a role to play in the overall scheme of things but I didn't feel that his storyline should it be as detailed plus his plot isn't that relevant to the main plot. It felt more like a filler than anything. Trez is more or less the same but as he's closer to the Brotherhood, his fit a bit better than Assail's. I have a feeling that Trez's will continue on to the next book as his tale has a few loose threads that needs tightening up. Xcor's is the exception as he is currently Wrath's nemesis and his motives and decisions impacts the series. I was hoping that THE KING would be similar to Lover Avenged where Wrath's storyline would run side by side with Xcor. That would've made for a better flip-flop than Assail's and Trez's IMO.
I know a lot of you are not a fan of this storytelling device and so am I. I find these side stories anti-climactic and at times irrelevant to the story. Wrath's chapter would end in a climactic high only to be followed up by a chapter or two of Assail, Trez's and/or Xcor's, very anti-climactic on some parts. And this shifting POV is the reason why I didn't give THE KING a full 5 cauldrons, in all honesty, I was even this close to rating this 3 cauldrons because Assail and Trez's chapters put speed bumps in an otherwise fluid story. My two cents is, The Black Dagger Brotherhood could benefit from novellas so these non-Brothers won't have to compete and interfere with the main novels.
The past is safe because it is indelible.
Now on to the main plot. Wrath and Beth's story per se is awesome, I'd give THE KING 5 solid cauldrons if not for the extras. Quintessentially Wrath and Beth's storyline is after the HEA and despite being royal, these two encountered normal couple issues. Beth wanted a baby with Wrath on the other side because childbirth with vampires is one of the leading causes of death among its females not to mention the constant threat to his life which would make Beth and their young targets similar to what happened to him. These two navigated through this decision painfully but in a heartfelt way, it ended happily but not without a lot of bickering and Kleenex moments. On top of this domestic dispute, insurrection amongst the glymera against Wrath is imminent thanks to the Band of Bastards and their mission to thwart Wrath from the throne. There's not much combat in THE KING but the politicking made up for that. All of these main issues were eventually resolved thanks to Beth's crafty mind and a few key players.
The theme of family was very much felt in THE KING. The flashbacks dating back to Wrath's parents from how they met to the older Wrath's transformation to a Warrior King. This trip back in time not only showed us important pieces of Wrath's past but also how the glymera's rebellious ways go way back. Another familial thread is John Matthew and Beth's, their "sibling" relationship was beyond touching, I found myself having misty eyes on a lot of their scenes.
He's your brother. If he'd do it for anyone... it would be for you.
A lot of the Brothers also made cameo appearances in THE KING and once again, I'm simply floored by their love and loyalty for each other and their fealty to Wrath and Beth. I have to say, the dialogue isn't as snippy and funny as in the previous books, rather it's filled with more poignant and heartfelt moments. Usually, my ereader would be lit with funny quotes and it's not the case with THE KING. There are still a few comedic moments with Rhage getting teary, Lassiter going pop culture silly and Wrath getting hysterical with Beth having to bitch slap it out of him.
I'll stop here as I'm sure there are other reviews worth checking out. My final verdict is THE KING is a great and crucial installment to the series. As far as Wrath's regency is concerned as well as the Brotherhood's relevance in their world, The Black Dagger Brotherhood 12 is an important book. Xcor's Band of Bastards is getting more and more formidable while the Brotherhood maintains its offensive stance for now. I'm hoping that BDB and BoB will have a face-off in the next book, this shit between the two groups has been brewing for so long, the tension has to be eased somehow. I've also observed that the books are getting more and more romantic and less and less paranormal and combative. I don't know yet how I feel about this because it's that romantic paranormal suspense element that made me fall in love with the series. Here's to hoping that THE KING "resets" the series and hopefully we'll have more of the original elements in the succeeding books that made us fall in love with BDB in the first place.