Author: J. R. Ward
Title: The Beast
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 14
Pairing: M/F, M/M, Bi
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website:
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...
The first books in this series followed a predictable and cliche pattern: a strong man fighting a powerful enemy for the very survival of his race is brought low by love at first sight when he meets the woman that changes him from a scary he-man to a gentle pussycat. Every single story followed the exact same route, almost without even a page-by-page difference. It got repetitive very quickly, but there was enough unique additions that I continued reading this series. For example, the world-building is exquisite, with the different powers the vampires have, the gods they worship and fight against, and the different types of creatures they run into in the battle against evil. Even the writing was well done, with each character having an individual and distinct voice. Yet, the similarities between the plots of the books did get a touch boring. Then Ward broke the mold.
The Beast follows the first story focused on Rhage, during which he was essentially unmanned, yet still made infinitely stronger by meeting the one woman he would spend the rest of his life with. Their lives have continued since their first bonding and now he and Mary have to struggle with the difficulties their choices back then have since brought to their lives. It's a story that delves into the psychological issues in their relationship, giving their marriage a level of depth that it previously lacked due to the cliched nature of their first story together. It made their relationship feel believable, and not only that, it also gave a touch of realism to some of the other characters' relationships that also needed that little kick of depth.
I can't deny the fact that this story still has the vestiges of the cliches that brought it this far, but the plot-building Ward has accomplished since then is remarkable. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series.
I do recommend this book and this series. Yes, the series starts of with the cliche and sometimes difficult to endure strong man meets perfect woman and changes himself for her plot device, however this book moves far away from that and instead reads as a unique and interesting novel.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.