Thursday, April 28, 2016

JR Ward - The Beast

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..

Comment: This series has been one of my favorites ever since I've started reading PNR. I still look for each new installment because the world the author created is so special and vibrant to me, I often feel like I could belong there somehow.
Yes, some plot themes aren't as interesting or well developed, but overall I still feel in love with the BDB world building and character bonds.

In this novel, we keep following the several sub plots on going but there's a focus on couple Rhage and Mary and some new facts about themselves they need to sort out and deal with. There are many situations to challenge not only their relationship but also their separate personalities..can the two of them work things out?
What about the impact any change can have in their lives?
At the same time war against certain people and the Lesser Society keeps escalating and all the Brothers must act and decide what is the best course of action...

I'm afraid I won't have much to say about this book. In a way, this was positive for me in ways the previous one wasn't (as many other readers must agree with) and it sort of restored my faith in the series. I can't tell if this was the way it was supposed to or if the author felt the need to present us with a book more in the lines of what readers expect, considering the mixed opinions of The Shadows. Anyway, for me this one worked well.

I think the best way for me to summarize my opinion if to say what I liked and disliked, in a list format. These things are the ones that caught reader's attention the most, I think, therefore it's what one can remember more and obviously caused the biggest impact in terms of plot development.
So, positive things:
a) Rhage and Mary's relationship is set in stone. I'm glad the author didn't add some weird twist to this and their main cause of problems was easily solved. I'm very happy with the way things went, but it wasn't such a big surprise, considering the tidbits from long ago pointing towards this direction of events. I'm even more relieved because they are the best example of how a couple can communicate and be happy and in sync with each other and it wasn't necessary to "play" with their relationship and bond. Some readers certainly thought everything was too easy, too predictable, too convenient but from the POV of someone who only wants them happy and has been invested in the community/family I consider them all to be, this was great.
b) again, the connections and relationships between all the characters. I'm a fan of this multi POV scheme of novels, because I love to feel everyone is part of a loving family, of a's good to see so many of them helping each other, trying to be there for others, whether to give a hand or to have a laugh with...we saw this in this book and it surely helped to give the readers another sense of them, after the more depressive previous book.
c) now, this would fall into spoiler category, but in a general idea, I liked how things are moving along with Layla and Xcor...apparently their story is next and I fully expect a HEA at the end of it all, even more so now that some wonderful news happened related to Layla and her pregnancy... and there was quite the huge surprise about Xcor's parents... I can't wait to read the next book!
We also learn a lot about Jo, a human character that has played a part in this book, someone unknown to us but that in the end was revealed to be quite important after all!
I'm proud of Assail as a character, and I really hope the step he took in this book to change to better will be achieved...I suppose he has a long road of challenges in front of him, but I'll keep the faith for him and his  - possible - HEA too...
d) Little scenes with our beloved characters have led me to think good things can happen or, at least, make me dream about it...namely V and Jane, Lassiter and even Saxton...

Of course not all was perfect... two things bothered me a lot and while I can understand the rational part of it because of the world and the settings and everything, I was still bothered when V and another character did something to Assail which I abhor. Eventually they helped him later on, but still...
I also didn't particularly like the path the character of Scribe Virgin is taking... after all, why was she necessary in the first place if she's losing so much importance? A bit weird this....

I guess one needs to be a fan to accept certain things without much fuss. I can understand how some things might look dismissive, easy fixes or silly to some, but overall, this still works for me.
I had a great time reading this book and wanted to keep having glimpses of the characters...I guess I'm fully invested in them and in seeing their lives and world develop. I'm very happy this was one of the "good" books by the author!
Grade: 9/10

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