Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Shadows by J.R Ward

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on... except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around... but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice...

It's been a long time since I've actually been engrossed in a book. A very long time. I'm happy to say that The Shadows was such a good read, so good it reminded me of not only why I so much adore the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but also reading. I was drawn in by the very first chapters, with the simplistic and enjoyably gangsta writing of the Warden. The references to pop culture, the brothers!, especially Rhage. The set up for Ward's upcoming spin-off series, Legacy, centering around the training of new recruits and more of the brothers, as we knew them from the earlier books. 

I was excited that there was a new book coming out, because it was a BDB book and not so much because of iAm and Trez. I liked these characters before, but I didn't like the set up in The King (DNF). However, I was very surprised by The Shadows. I loved how there wasn't too much of a spotlight on the back-story, it was done in even portions spread throughout the book. Trez and Selena's story was already set up in The King ( I think), so things pick up very fast and progressed nicely. Although, if this was solely a Trez-Selena love story the book wouldn't have been as enjoyable. It would have been your cliche lover-dying-of-deathly-sickness-story. There was a lot going on in the background with the other characters and, iAm, which made this so amazing.

There was less Lesser-centered conflicts. I like the Lessers as the main villains in the BDB universe, but I found them to have had a too much of a big role in previous books. I'd rather focus on the Brothers than have to be in the minds of dumb evil Lessers, because clearly they're less fun. The Shadows has successfully used the Lessers as a villain without having to give them too much attention.

We also see a mutiny take place in the Band of Bastards (BoB). A failed mutiny, Throe tries to undermine and take over the BoB by arguing that their leader, Xcor has become weak. I.e. Xcor has become whipped, because he has become infatuated with a Chosen (layla). Xcor is very impressive when he tells his men they can choose between him and Dumbass Throe, which to his surprise they all choose to stay with Xcor. This was a nice scene, because maybe it means the BoB are turning into good guys ( anti-heroes?). Seeing as Xcor now recognizes Wrath as a democratically chosen leader and no longer wants to take over the throne.  Throe on the other hand defecting means we have a new villain (which I highly think is a possibility, the dude is up to no good).

Hollywoooooodddd yeah! Any self-respecting BDB fan loves Rhage. Dude can turn into a dragon and I bet since Lover Eternal, you haven't looked at a tootsie roll the same way. Rhage is experiencing panic attacks and what I think could be PTSD ( then again I'm pretty sure they all have PTSD). What made this all the more interesting was that Trez and Selena's situation resembled his and Mary's. and V and Jane's situation, but could end up like Tohr's and Wellsie. Rhage is having difficulties dealing with all of this and feeling guilty. Feeling bad that this is happening to people he cares about, wishing they can also have a miracle happened to them as it did for him and Mary. But relieved it's not him, which makes him feel guilty. This is great! horrible, yeah for Rhage, but great. I felt like the other similar stories were addressed, because as a reader I felt like Trez and Selena's story had already been done. However, I didn't expect the ending to their story.

In the end it seemed more like iAm's story, even though the bulk was focused on Trez and Selena's romance.  It was a sad ending, I didn't cry but I was moved.....a tiny bit.

Note, Lassiter !! I luv him! He's amazing and the banter between Lassy and the brothers delivers as always.

What are you doing ? Go read this one now!

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