The Beast by J.R. Ward
Description: 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…
When I read romance novels, I do so with the expectation of the story ending and the couple living happily ever after for ever and ever. In most series, when the previous couple shows up again, they are living happily and everything is sunshine and rainbows. However, that doesn’t work in the world J.R. Ward created with her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Her characters are larger than life and just because their book is over does not mean their problems stop. In fact, one of my favorite things about her series is being able to revisit previous couples. But instead of just being stagnant, they continue to face real issues that cause problems in their relationship. Over the course of the last few books, there have been hints of issues Mary and Rhage need to face. Needless to say, I was extremely happy that they were getting another book. And only partly terrified for what that would mean for their relationship. I think after reading The Shadows, that would be a common fear. J.R. Ward really pushed the envelope in The Shadows in terms of emotions and what the characters in her books go through. In fact, I think she even opened up the discussion to what is a romance novel (mental note, future post discussion!).
That being said, this book was truly all I wanted it to be. I adored revisiting with Mary and Rhage. The plot around them focused on Rhage’s emotional health and how their relationship could move forward. The issue of children was a big discussion. Both wanted kids but their being together was actually because Mary can not have children. However, neither let this drive their relationship apart too far. Part of this is because of Mary’s therapy background. Although, I think their foundation as a couple also played a role. The plot for the side characters included the usual cast of Assail and his issues, Xcor and Layla, and an introduction of a new human receptionist turned investigator who is questioning the strange goings-on in Caldwell. What I also liked is that the Lessers weren’t really a big part of the book. After the first book, I tend to skip over the scenes with the Lessers. They don’t really seem to change as an enemy and I’m more intrigued by the threats in the glymera. Overall, another excellent book by J.R. Ward. Can’t wait for the next one!
Rating: 4 out of 5!