Book Review: The King

Book Review: The King (Book 13 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series) By: J.R. Ward

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I give this book three out of five stars.  Since this book released at the start of April 2014 I have been anxious to read it. It’s like an addiction to a bad television show, I just “had to know” what other stupid plot decisions Ward was going to make in her latest volume.

This is the thirteenth book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Funny but true story, I read the twelfth book first. I’m not offended if you are a fan and you’re laughing at my admission. I know-it’s funny! The Quay book was my first Black Dagger Brotherhood book. I was able to navigate the Quay book just fine, but Wards “vampire world” makes more sense when read from book 1 forward. The twelfth book was much smaller in scope. It talked about Layla, Xcor, Blay and Quinn, and the lesser conflict was very easy to follow. This book has several plots running at once: Layla and Xcor; iAm, Trez, and Selena; Beth & Wrath; Ahna & Wrath; Assail and Marisol. I don’t recommend reading this before enjoying Wards earlier books in the series.

It was an okay read. It was not one of her best books, but it was much better than some of her others. To read most of this entire series you have to unplug your brain and set common sense aside. Normally I have to just roll with the gratuitous, never going to happen like that in a million years, sex, but shockingly there was not a lot of that in this book. Wait, I take that back.  There was that one scene where Mairsol had a gunshot wound to the leg and was getting it on.

What I liked:

1) The full circle Wrath took about being King, his fathers legacy verses his own, and how this whole drama ended. It was good that this was the main plot. I thought it was the most relevant, since we have seen Wrath grappling with being King since the first book.

2) There was a whole 2 chapters of vampires killing lesser. Awesome, I am so sick of the lesser plots. Apparently Ward has run out of steam on them, it’s about time. Much less non-plot moving nonsense for me to skip over.

3) I like how Assail and Marisol was not a happy-sunshine, rainbows, and unicorn ending. I will not be shocked to see these two in a future volume. There were at least two time Marisol “thought to herself” about not using protection with Assail. Let me guess, more baby drama? I know I am not the only one reading about the drug trade and seeing this as a future replacement for Lesser conflict? Who’s got money Marisol’s going to get in hot water again? I loved laughing when his cousins were fighting over the food Marisol’s grandma left them. That part, and iAm falling for Boo the cat, were my favorite moments in the book.

What made me a little nuts:

1) Xcor and Layla, he’s giving up his run at the throne for a woman who admits she would not be with him if it were not for the situation with Wrath. I think Ward forgot how she had Layla fall in love with Xcor in the last book. Why wasn’t Layla saying all that stuff about Wrath being a good King to Xcor in the last book? Who knew crazy, raised by the sword Xcor could be castrated so summarily. Talk about anticlimactic. The whole chapter of him clothes shopping, what was that?

2) I hated all the flashbacks to Wraths parents. The Prologue was just ridiculous and honestly I don’t see why any of it was in the book? I fail to see any deep connections or revelations these scenes provide. Give me a break, in the prologue she’s a virgin thinking about her new husband taking her to their marriage bed and hoping he will “pound her”? Again, I remind you-unplug your brain before you read these books.

3) Trez and Selena, what was all of that about? Selena gets over the “tens of thousands of women” Trez has slept with, but she gets hung up on his pimp occupation? Whatever, what does she think the freaking Primale role is huh?  Ward likes to make a play out of character names, but the Shadow executioner with the name s’Ex? That’s right, not kidding here it’s in her book, a character named sex.

Oh wait, I didn’t talk about the baby conflict between Wrath and Beth. No, that’s right I didn’t. It should not be necessary to talk about something you can see coming a mile away. Did I really pick this book up thinking Beth was not going to get pregnant? Big shock-none of it was. The whole “human tradition” thing I found kitschy and wrong. Was that scene really supposed to be funny and endearing? My mantra reading these books, “just read for the ride” had to be used a numerous times in this book. I used it on all of the speed bumps pertaining to how Wrath is King, then not King, wait no he’s the King, now he’s not, but hold onto your hats-“gasp”-he really is the King, or I don’t know. All of that business bugged me, because in a previous Black Dagger Brotherhood book, there was this big to-do with the Scribe Virgin and Wrath deciding to take up the reigns as the King of “Her Children”. If the Scribe Virgin blessed him as the vampire King, does anyone else really get to say otherwise unless the guy is dead? Wait, sorry that’s me thinking again about why Ward does not adhere to her own cultural rules. There’s plenty of figurative sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns dancing around at the end to keep the Wrath and Beth fans happy.