All hail the King !
Long live the King !
Another amazing masterpiece from the goddess of paranormal fantasy series J.R.Ward. The twelfth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, "The King", is every bit as splendid as its predecessors.
I feel very emotional now so this review might not be up to my standards but I simply cannot wait to share my love for this piece of art.
Front and center we have the royal couple, Wrath and Beth (are back). Beth is feeling very lonely and a bit left out due to her hellren's line of work. She feels empty, not complete and... different. Since Layla got pregnant, Beth couldn't hide the fact she wanted to be too. That was all she was thinking about. When her hellren dismissed that idea without a second thought, Beth felt further away from him than ever. All of their problems started to surface and Beth felt like she was drowning in her own sorrow. On the other hand, Wrath started to hate his life, his job, Beth's emotional absence and feeling like he was shackled in his own blindness. The idea of losing Beth in childbirth was the last straw that drove him over the edge.
Marisol was kidnapped at the end of the last book and now she is being taken into the cabin far away into the woods. Assail is an a rampage trying to find out where she was taken. Sola manages to defend herself, for the time being, from the brute posing as her guard while Assail leaves a trail of dead bodies behind him. Securing her grandmother, Assail with his twin cousins finally locates his Sola and is on his way to her.
Trez, one of the Shadow brothers, finds himself in an inescapable predicament. His parents sold him to the Queen as a child and now he has to surrender himself to the daughter of the queen as her male half to service her living secluded from the rest of the world. If he disobeys any longer, his ungrateful, dead beat, undeserving parents will be killed along with his beloved brother, iAm. The Chosen Selena is a further complication in his already over complicated impossible life. Not to mention that it seems she hasn't got much time left to enjoy the feeling of being desired or even loved.
The beautiful Layla, pregnant with Qhuinn's child is facing an impossible revelation. Is she really drown to the enemy of the King, to the male who tried to kill her ruler? And if so, what will she do with him because Xcor seems to like her just as much. Will she go with him and face the despise of her friends and her King?
John Matthew starts having seizures again. They occur every time something big is happening with Beth. Xhex told him he looks like there is two of them inside him, like he has one more aura around him. What happens when Darius emerges on occasions? Will it last?
Surrounding all these stories, there is a bigger plot going on. The ghlymera is trying to vote the King out of his position. Their scheming seems to stand on a solid legal ground. Even though the Band of Bastards have driven some members to pledge allegiance to the Council and their fraction, their seals and signatures still stand and carry weight. What will transpire once the throne is left without its rightful ruler?
The lessers are not a big part of the story but they are still there. In the shadows. Trez accidentally finds out that they are dealing drugs given by someone of their own race. The alliance of lessers and vampires? Unfortunately, with so much going on, this seems to be the minor issue that's going to have to wait a bit longer.
Wrath, the former King, Wrath's father and his mother, Anha form a separate story that we see on occasions written as a flashback. Their story follows their lives since they met and all the way to the point when Wrath was conceived. His father's actions, behavior of the court, transformation of the Black Dagger Brotherhood is given to us for the better understanding of the problems of today.
I believe this book brings to us the most complete set of stories we've had so far. Plotting and rebellion that are constantly growing in the shadows are beautifully mixed with personal problems of a great number of characters. Even though the main story is about the royal couple, their relationship and dealing with the everyday reality of Wrath being the King, the problems and predicaments of other characters actually bring more focus on them. They all act like one big family. When one has problems, even when one doesn't speak of them, the rest of the household feels the change and unrest. Consequently, that problem affects all the members of the household. The King is no different. The book also brings to us a new character that I have a feeling we will see much more of even though he doesn't seem to be on the good side (so far).
The book is quite long so it is hard to read it in one sitting but I really did try. Zombie like tried. Stayed up 'till the late morning and eventually passed out. But as soon as I awoke, I continued with the book. It clenches your heart and then it is a matter of life and death if you will be able to continue reading or not. The action, the suspense, the romance, the thrill of the chase, the heartwarming love, beautiful eroticism, images from the past, drop dead gorgeous deadly characters... this book truly has them all, and more.
I loved the appearance of Nalla. She was a sight for sore eyes, so to say. That miracle baby girl is what made my eyes moist early in this series. Since her it happened on a few more occasions but it was really good to see more of her here. Same goes for that splendid cat, Boo. She has found herself a good companion (nope, I'm not spoiling this part :) ).
World building is incredible as always. That is the world I would love to be a part of. Without any hesitation.
J.R.Ward has a unique style of writing. And I love it. She makes me laugh so much I dare not read her books in quiet places. That includes her engrossing erotic scenes. She mastered that trade, alright, even though I would love more of that in this book. It seems that the main concern here was the plot against the King and the inner turmoil of both Wrath and Beth and not so much intimate relationships of the Brothers. The ending was just as emotional as the last one. Happy tears are not common with me and they really surprised me. But I guess when you love those characters like your own flesh and blood, this will eventually happen.
The one thing that annoyed me was Beth's behavior for the first half of the book. Her inability to understand her husband and her unwillingness to reason with herself and her unexplainable desire to have the child right now like she doesn't have centuries ahead of her where a setback. I just couldn't understand why would she be so dead set in her ways without thinking of how this might affect already overly complicated situation. Later, though, I did realize why she acted like she did and I understood but it still left a bitter taste in my mouth. Same goes for the scenes from life of Wrath's parents. They were quite dull even though they shed some light on the present situation.
Despite anything and everything others might have said about this book, I loved it. I enjoyed every single word. I felt strongly connected to the characters and their life choices. I laughed with them, cried with and for them, they brought me comfort and unrest, they made my heart warm and my smile firmly planted on my face. And I am damn sure they will bring me awesome dreams tonight. I can't wait for the sequel. There are so many things left open, unanswered, unsolved. But that makes it all the more enticing, doesn't it?