Comment: Since I've discovered this author, I've been a fan of the BDB series. I've also read her romance work as Jessica Byrd and I have one book missing in her angel series. I still need to read her most recent series but I'll leave that for later. What I mean with all this is that, basically, I enjoy entering the worlds the author has created (some more than others) but I can understand why others have lost their interest. Nevertheless, it still works for me.
In this second installment of the BDB legacy spin off, we have Axe and Elise story as well as a continuation of the Rhage and Mary's family situation we've seen developed in the previous BDB book.
Axe comes from a modest family and he carries a lot of guilt with him and he dealt with it with drugs and alcohol but now that he is in the Brotherhood program he wants to feel he can help and that he can battle what killed his father. He wasn't counting on Elise, his fellow program trainee Peyton's cousin, someone he meets by chance. He ends up being her bodyguard but can they really maintain a distance when they are so attracted to one another?
This series was apparently thought to offer readers romance while the original BDB series focuses more and more on world building and interactions outside a story that in the beginning focused almost 90% on the main couple's relationship. Personally, I've felt the difference but it didn't bother me completely because there is still romance. On one hand it's sad because we aren't in the characters' heads as much but at the same time it allows us time to glimpse everything around them and to me, it makes it look like there's a world besides the romance and sex. I liked it even if I'd wish to see more romance at the same time.
But of course this bothers those faithful readers from the first 5 or 6 books, that expected PNR in its full power. I guess this book might have been disappointing for many because of this; the series is giving as much air time to secondary stuff as it does to the romance which means the romantic relationship between Axe and Elise doesn't feel strong. I can understand and I agree but I don't feel as bothered. There's a HEA, there's some emotional connection and I liked it that both Elise and Axe couldn't help it, the same way the heroes from all the BDB series couldn't when they found their mates. I know their story is not perfectly presented but overall, I liked knowing them, knowing some of the things they were feeling and the HEA felt good even if the lack of a sweet epilogue made it look rushed, as many people say.
As for Rhage and Mary and Bitty, we learn some new interesting things and a new character shows up. I'm soooo curious about him and the way another character seemed to react to him makes me even more eager to read more. Will they show up in the next book, I really hope so.
The drama that these characters face is difficult to imagine in real life but the way things happen seems believable for the type of characters and plot that has been developed. Part of the interest is precisely the emotional level the author has portrayed here and how that can reach us, the reader. It's not pure romance but t offers impressive details on psychology and human behavior (even if the characters aren't all human).
All things considered, this is not the best book ever, and not the best in the whole series if we think about them globally. But it's trademark Ward and I enjoyed reading it. Probably, now that it's out and reactions are being known, the author could have divided the focus more and instead of the practically 50/50 romance, Rhage and Mary, the romance between Axe and Elise should have gone up to 70% or something, that would suit everyone better. Again, I don't feel much bothered but it wouldn't be a bad thing. And maybe more people could have more positive opinions....it's just difficult to see things we love so much through negative eyes but...that's life. For me, it worked again.