Release Date: April 5, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rhage and Mary return in a new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a series “so popular, I don’t think there’s a reader today who hasn’t at least heard of [it]” (USA Today).
Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…
For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…
And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world...and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from.
I've slowly lost interest in The Black Dagger Brotherhood after Lover Unleashed. I appreciate J.R. Ward's efforts to expand our view of this amazing vampire enriched universe she created, but I wasn't a fan of the new formula: too many people talking, sharing their lives at the same time on top of whatever crisis the Brothers are faced with currently. It got noisy and loud for me with the character and plot development suffering IMO; The in-your-face brand name dropping was more distasteful than classy; Then there's the unnecessary angst which, I'm guessing, is the series' way of keeping up with the current book trends; And lastly, the novels started to shift away from the Brothers.
THE BEAST is a going-back-to-basics kind of installment and I can't help but think that this book is an effort bring interest back to the series and also the revitalize its stagnant plots and arcs. Now I'll keep this review simple and spoiler-free just in case you do decide to read Rhage's new book.
The many angles and POVs of THE BEAST:
- Mary & Rhage: these two gave me the feels! THE BEAST isn't a marriage-in-crisis story like Butch and Marissa's Blood Kiss. It's more of a "next chapter" kind of thing for Mary and Rhage. It's very emotional but not angsty, I love Mary's no-drama-momma attitude and how Rhage handled this bump in the road. There's a lot of touching, sweet, sweeping, and swoony moments that made my heart melt and my belly warming with excitement which sent my ovaries into overdrive and my dying eggs an adrenalin rush. If you love Rhage, then reading THE BEAST is a must for you. Warning! Tissues might be needed.
- BDB: We get sneak peeks in all the Brother's lives. All is well in Wrath's domain and the mansion has come a long way since Dark Lover. Everyone is bonded, kids are now part of the landscape, and every Brother is now a family man to some degree. Have I mentioned it gave me The Feels? Yup. P.S. I won't be surprised if Vishous and Jane are next on the block.
- BoB: Are nowhere to be found. Well, something happened to Xcor which wasn't dwelled upon but I'm sure Ward will develop later on. It's a game changer for sure.
- Humans: Someone has sniffed the presence of our Caldwell vamps. It teased more than pursued yet it promises complications down the road for everyone. I wonder if the Brothers are "coming out" anytime soon...
- Etcetera: There's a lot of new storylines that are introduced here. Some are chill, some might be impacting, and there's one that simply shocked me. I don't know yet if the last item will play a bigger role later on because it surely skewed and screwed up the Mythos of BDB.
- I haven't read the book before this, The Shadows, and I probably won't ever. That said, I didn't have a problem diving into THE BEAST. I'm sure I've missed certain events, but from the bits and pieces of brief recaps here I was able to piece together the important parts.
Overall I'm glad I read THE BEAST. I'm even gladder Ward decided to write this book and follow this direction. There's a few notable changes like the label drops weren't as obnoxious and the multiple POVs aren't as loud which helped Mary and Rhage's story shine through. For what it's worth, THE BEAST is 80% romance and family, and 20% action and paranormal. This is the formula that made me fall in love with The Black Dagger Brotherhood and I'm hoping Ward keeps it this way from now on.