(The Brotherhood is Back in Black!): The Beast by J.R. Ward

(The Brotherhood is Back in Black!): The Beast by J.R. WardThe Beast by J. R. Ward

Published by Penguin on April 5th 2016
Genres: Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 528
Format: eBook
Source: Bought for Myself
Rhage and Mary return in a new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a series "so popular, I don't think there's a reader today who hasn't at least heard of [it]" (USA Today).   Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself...   For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect--or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can't understand--or control--the panic and insecurity that plague him...   And that terrifies him--as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities--and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world...and Mary's. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from...

I would consider myself to be a huge JR Ward fan. Since I first discovered the Black Dagger Brotherhood (and devouring the first six books in a week!), I’ve been a devoted reader and I anxiously look forward to each new instalment. Whereas the first eleven or so books in this series were mostly devoted to a single couple, there has started to be a trend where Ward has been writing books revisiting a couple from the past. It happened with Beth and Wrath in The King and now seeing Rhage and Mary in The Beast. It’s nice in theory. I loved these characters when I first read their happily ever afters and it’s great to see them again now in the future and see just how happy their ever afters were.

I was excited to read The Beast. Rhage and Mary from Lover Eternal have been one of my favourite BDB couples. There was just something so fun and romantic about their meeting and falling in love which keeps me reading and rereading their book. I was curious as to how things went for them after everything the Scribe Virgin did for them and how they were dealing with the price.

But in so many ways The Beast is a bit of a filler book. The kind of book which doesn’t really add much substance to the overall series and would probably have been better if it was just a couple of novellas instead. One focused on Rhage and Mary. Possibly one of Layla’s storyline.

Why do I say this?

Because I felt like Rhage and Mary’s plot was predictable. I loved how the novel started for them. Action and angst and all that delicious kind of stuff I read for. But after the initial scene I found my attention waning. The sexfests between them were red hot and love reading them but the whole dealing with Mary’s infertility storyline was just boring to me. There were just no surprises at all. Not just in terms of how things ended with them but the whole flow was exactly what I was expecting. The Rhage and Mary part of the book took up the most pages but I really think the entire story could have been summed up in 50 pages.

Layla’s story was fairly slow moving but did add some rather important things of note for the series as a whole. And I wanted her to have more interaction with a certain BOB leader.

There was a few points of interest with a new character I’d not read about before but her side of the story felt like a lot of pages with nothing much happening. I am interested to see just how her path intersects with the Brothers but I’m not convinced she needed this much screen time considering how much her part of things impacted on the plot as a whole.

The best part of this book for me was the Assail side of things and that did surprise me. Normally I kind of gloss over anything bits concerning him but I loved reading his emotional turmoil, how his addiction was plaguing him and a few other bits and pieces I don’t want to spoil. I’m excited to see how his part in this book affects the future for the Brotherhood.

Overall, The Beast was a little slow moving and not what I was expected from a Black Dagger Brotherhood novel. I loved seeing how Rhage and Mary’s relationship had matured since meeting and falling in love but it didn’t deliver in terms of excitement and drama I was hoping for. There were a few things in this book which I think will be relevant in the future but I think I could sum up anything important in a four sentence paragraph. This book was a nice way to pass the time but not essential for the series as a whole (and yes, I do understand how arrogant that makes me seem considering I have no idea what comes next in the series yet).

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