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The Shadows: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Hardcover – March 31, 2015
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Praise for J.R. Ward’s #1 New York Times bestselling novels of the Black Dagger Brotherhood:
“J. R. Ward’s unique band of brothers is to die for. I love this series!” —New York Times Bestselling Author Suzanne Brockmann
“Utterly absorbing and deliciously erotic.…The Brotherhood is the hottest collection of studs in romance. I can’t wait for the next one!” —New York Times bestselling author Angela Knight
“J. R. Ward’s urban fantasy romance series is so popular, I don’t think there’s a reader today who hasn’t at least heard of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.”—USA Today
“It pulls the reader in and will grip your heart.”—Night Owl Reviews
“Tautly written, wickedly sexy, and just plain fun.”—New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner
“A raw, gritty tour de force.”—Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
J. R. Ward is the author of more than twenty previous novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-five different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.
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Top Customer Reviews
It was a good story in that a lot of the background stories moved further along and some new storylines began. The Layla and Xcor business is starting to drag, but even their relationship progression was interesting. It was delightful to see more of Rhage and Mary - that's something that has definitely been missed and maybe there was some indication that these two are going to have more of a story-arc in the future? That would be fabulous!
But mostly, my thoughts on this book are: HEAs are under-rated. It was a seriously, completely freaking depressing read. Any happiness I would feel for iAm and Maichan is totally obliterated - I genuinely don't even care about them - and that's part of what really sucks. Their storyline was great, but it all happened in less than half of a book and all in the background of this epic tragedy. Literally the fastest relationship of any of the couples in the book even thought it had such great elements - political intrigue, mistaken identities, entwined destinies. Like - damn - that would have been a great book.
I disagree that it was necessary for Selena to die. Totally disagree. Vehemently disagree. But even saying that she did have to - why in hell does Trez now have to continue living? He had a crap life before Selena, a short shining respite with Selena, and now just .... what exactly? A lifetime of being a third wheel to his twin brother and his mate? There was talk of how the brothers are able to be together forever now and all I could think is: "WTH iAm? You spend your entire life taking care of your brother and now when he really needs it you're being all selfish with the 'live for me' junk?" You know what would have been a great scene? iAm whispering to Trez - "Brother? Is it time? Are you ready to be free?" I wish - honestly - that Trez had died also and he and Selena ended up together in The Fade. iAm and Maichan still could have gotten together - that would have been part of iAm's progression from perma- baby-sitter to a free life with his lady love. But instead, Trez gets to live without his mate while watching his twin and his mate live HEA. Seriously, WTH? It makes me bitterly regret the wasted 9 months between the previous book and this one for Trez and Selena. Which is another sucky, sucky thing - now The King is mostly ruined for me because that's where Trez and Selena really get their beginning.
And good grief - poor freaking Tohr. After everything he went through, he's now having to be supportive while another hellren/shellan have a son and Trez loses his mate. I'm sure that's giving him nightmares and August is having to support him through all of this - and oh yeah, they're still newlyweds.
I guess I should have known when it started with the infant dying at the very beginning. I kept hoping that the baby had been rescued and would re-appear at some point just like I kept hoping a miracle would happen or a cure would be found and save Selena. I'm just planning on doing a massive re-write in my head. I might be done with the BDB after this - I will definitely be reading any damn spoiler alerts she posts before buying any books in the future. Life is too busy and too sad on its own to not get a HEA when you want one.
But The Shadows? I cared. A LOT. It was such an amazingly romantic book. Full of love and living and being all about the moment and carpe noctem. It was all about living before dying so there would be no regrets. About growing and enduring...and then the ending came. And I wanted to send the ashes back to Ward in a pretty pink box. You see, this is the issue with novels like these. I don't mind at all if the heroine or hero of the book dies, I really don't. Read plenty in my time and still enjoy reading those books over again. As long as there's closure and understanding, I get it and I accept it.
But Selena and Trez's book? It was NOT one of those books that made sense to go that route. Killing the heroine? Crippling her bonded mate for life? THIS IS NO HEA. If you're looking for a romance novel, THIS BOOK IS NOT IT. How are you going to be that author who sized up these two amazing characters from books ago, and when we finally get to their conclusion, we realize THEY DON'T GET ONE. There is no closure. Just a gaping wound that won't heal in my chest.
With this novel, Ward has seriously punked and insulted me. I've been a loyal fan and reader since the beginning. Since before the BDB was born and she was just Jessica Bird. I've dealt with so much unresolved situations and holes in the BDB series and despite feeling some sort of way about some of the novels, I always grew to love it for its entirety. But The Shadows? The Ends DO NOT justify the Means. And there are reasons surrounding the novel that explain why.
In the beginning, when Selena has her attack and nearly dies from it, Trez somehow does this cloaking magical thing that manages to save her life. That right there already told me, HE WAS HER SAVIOR. He was the solution to her disease. The CURE for it. It was THAT obvious. This is a vampire/fantasy novel. I expect things like this to go down. And I was all for it.
But all of a sudden, it was like I felt the author's personal pains and writers block syndrome. and instead of being creative, instead of taking a life experience and molding it to fit her characters accurately, she straight out KILLS the heroine because she's reminded of the death of her dog. She all but explains it in a spoiled blog on The Shadows opening release day. Don't believe me? Go to her facebook or account on Goodreads. She basically wrote the death of her dog in the book. And before anyone comes at me, realize that honesty is sincerity. And right now, I'm a pretty ticked off reader who saw and smelled the BS in the binding of this novel. I've dealt with sh*t in my life too, but that doesn't mean I'm going to put all my pain on the world and make people feel sorry for me, and end up loving my book for all the wrong reasons.
Harsh much? Of course. But I'll say it if no one else wants to. She killed Selena the same way the vets or pound would euthanize an animal or in this case, Ward's dog. She basically said it. She saw her pet Jonah in this darn scene and rewrote HIS death in place of Selena's and POOF. End of their romantic ride. Just like that.
Despite having soooo many things at their disposal. So many people and loopholes that could have saved Selena. *AHEM* Trez's magical misting blanket*. Despite having even the Scribe Virgin present and bringing Trez to Selena in the first place, or having Payne's magical healing glow, or all these chances to cure Selena, Ward brought the Vampire down to Human. Too human. To the point I had to turn the book around and make sure I was reading a BDB book and not one of Nicolas Spark's.
And before anyone comes at me and says I don't have a heart, how could I say that, blah blah blah. SHUT IT. It's because I care WAY too much that I am saying all this. I'm tough love when it matters, and this book mattered. It meant so much because there was so much life in this novel alone. None of the other ones had that. Not even Mary's. This book mattered. I cared. I loved it. Still do. But that ending? IT WAS WRONG. It was so undeserved of a long time couple and their strides to be with one another. For people who are defending Ward, you seriously need to stop making a fool of yourself and start being honest with you as well as J.R. Ward. Start asking questions. It really is an eye opener.
Did Trez get his HEA? Did Selena? NOPE.
Was the ending satisfying? Did it answer all the gaping expanse of questions we had? HECK NO.
If there was one thing I can take from this book, what would it be? THAT SELENA IS DEAD AND TREZ IS NOW A WALKING ZOMBIE GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS AND ONLY ALIVE BECAUSE IT WAS SELENA'S FINAL WILL TO HIM, NOT BECAUSE HE WANTS TO.
How would I rate this novel? WELL, IT NEEDS TO BE MOVED FROM THE ROMANCE SECTION AND INTO THE BONFIRE.
Any final thoughts? HAPPY APRIL FOOL'S DAY?....OR NOT.
Keep in mind, despite the bitter hatred for the outcome, it is because I care immensely that I am ranting this hard. Love is hate as hate is love. The one thing I can't deal with, that I am selfish for, is Trez. Selena is dead. That's it. He is forced to live a half existence without his HEA. Every time he is mentioned in the future, I'm going to wince. Because I know he's not going to be all right. I know he deserved better and he didn't get what we all selfishly wanted for him. That was the whole point of reading The Shadows to begin with. For Trez and Selena. Each time he sees the brothers with their Shellans, I'Am with his female, it is going to kill him each time and render him nearly unconscious from the basking pain of his dead lover.
What happened in this novel, as it does with all the other novels, affects the future of this series. How is she going to present Trez without contradicting the mate bond? Without flip flopping from Vampire/fantasy to Human/her reality? Without sugar coating the pain and grief? I hope J.R. Ward is happy with herself for killing off a favored heroine and crippling a male of worth. And if she dares tries to make him into a Tohr 2.0, she needs to stop while she's ahead because that's only going to add salt to the bleeding wound.
Man, Trez and Selena deserved so much more than this. So much more.