The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12)
New American Library (Penguin Group)
Read from my local library
Oh Lordy. I’m not even sure where to start here.
So here’s the thing about me and the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I don’t really buy into the hype that surrounds them. I read the first 10 (I think? Maybe it was 9) and I liked probably 4 of those. The rest bored me or drove me nuts with vapid, wimpy women and repetitive storylines. However, one of the books I did like was the first, Dark Lover which was about the Blind King of the vampire race Wrath and his half human love interest Beth. So when I heard that book 12 was revisiting that couple, to explore what happens after they get their happy ever after, I thought yep, count me in there.
WARNING: There be ***SPOILERS*** ahead.
So on one part, The King is about Wrath and Beth two years on. Beth has been spending some time with the Chosen Layla, who is pregnant, in order to bring on her needing. She’s decided that she would like a baby, despite the fact that Wrath shows no interest in it and has said point blank that he doesn’t want to risk it because his concern as a bonded male is primarily for the health and safety of his shellan and vampire women have quite a high fatality rate in childbirth. However Wrath also resents the hell out of his duties as the King and no way does he want to bring a child into the world that will inherit his position some day and have all of those responsibilities foisted upon him.
I was interested in that because having a child is an important decision and it’s a lifelong commitment basically. You both have to be all in, or at least feel positive about it. Wrath is super negative but Beth’s answer to that is to just leave for the night. And then she goes into her needing anyway and although she demands Wrath drug her, he loves her so much that he decides to service her anyway. It’s all for nought really because it turns out Beth was already pregnant before she went into her needing.
What? Yeah, I don’t know either. I think J.R. Ward just vaguely explained away that weirdness as being part of Beth being half human. Her pregnancy also progressed like a normal human pregnancy if you totally ignore the fact that she just woke up one day with a stomach like a basketball. And of course we couldn’t have a delivery without her almost dying.
The rest of the book (and that adds up to quite a large portion) is devoted to people I really have no idea about. Last I remember Trez and iAm were some sort of offsiders to Rehvenge or someone? Now they’re living in the BDB mansion and Trez has some sort of promise his parents made hanging over him that he’s really not down with and I don’t even really know what makes iAm tick. He kind of just drifts around looking after Trez and making spaghetti sauce. Trez has something going on with Selena, a Chosen but of course it’s complicated, because when isn’t it? There’s also a lot of scenes devoted to people named Assail and Sola, I don’t even know who they are, why they’re around or where they came from. There’s also Xcor and Layla. Xcor I remember from when the Band of Bastards were introduced (they wanted to dethrone the King which sort of happens here in this book) and I think they could almost be interesting (I find the Chosen pretty much devoid of any interesting qualities whatsoever) except I feel that their scenes together were just the same scene, repeated several times throughout the book.
Also, who is s’Ex? J.R. Ward really has gone to a new low with that name.
This book is nearly 600 pages and I read it in basically a few hours and I think that probably says a lot as to the substance of it. I have to admit, I skipped the snippets from the past (easily identifiable as they were in italics) about Wrath’s father (also named Wrath) and his mother. I read the first couple but then I realised I really didn’t care about them anyway, mostly what I wanted was the present Wrath and Beth and those interactions mostly disappointed me. I didn’t feel as though their discussions were all that deep and meaningful and that the decision was made on a knife edge. Wrath was semi unprepared, with Beth going into her full needing and I’m not sure a blind person is the best option for delivering a dose of morphine by syringe anyway. And all of it was really for nothing because Beth was actually already pregnant. Why did she have a needing then? I feel as though there were no real answers, just a vague wave of the hand and an ‘oh well she is half human’. The political stuff – Wrath’s hatred of the throne and all it entails, the glymera wanting him out etc all seemed to be resolved incredibly easily and without much in the way of effort. Is the rebellion over now? Xcor seems uninterested in taking the throne now that Layla has said he can have her. I only actually missed 2 books out of this series but it feels like about 10. Does anyone even care about the lessers anymore? Are they even still around?
I know it’s difficult to maintain a series with a smaller cast of characters but I miss the interaction between all of the brothers. Most of them barely even front up for a cameo these days and Mary seems to have vanished down some sort of black hole. This series has strayed far in some ways and I feel as though the huge cast of characters doesn’t always serve it well. People come and go, I can’t be bothered caring about them that much. But I like the brothers (except Phury, Phury is boring). I wish we had more of that old rapport, it seems somehow missing lately.
This was so-so. It’s not a series I feel compelled to continue with although I may read random books if they focus on characters I have previously enjoyed.
Book #113 of 2014