Thursday, April 20, 2017

JR Ward - The Chosen

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.
Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.
As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

Comment: This is the latest installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward. I've said countless time before I've been a fan of the series since I found the first book and despite some less than good books for me, I still cherish and enjoy this world.

This is Layla and Xcor's book. I mean, nowadays, the away the series is, one can almost say each story isn't only focused on one single couple, the multi sub plots which annoy so many people, seem to have come to stay. Still, the focus can be given to this couple and this is their HEA at last.
At the same time, change is happening with the Scribe Virgin, the race's deity, and the enemy has a new member who will try his best to end the king and the BDB.
Among so many problems, can at least true love prevail?

Attention: mild spoilers!

I truly hated the last sentence in the blurb mentioned above: "nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone" because this is only the affirmation of what has annoyed and drove mad most faithful readers who know don't have many positive things to say about the series anymore.
One of the best things about romance, in all it's genres and sub genres, is the idea of HEA, of how that will somehow proof love conquers all. In this world, JR Ward has created, that was seen as more than a requirement by the rules the author herself has introduced since book #1. But the problem is that now the concept of HEA is constantly challenged in every book. What we painfully went through in previous books to see the emotionally journey each couple had to overcome to be happy forever, seems to be quite pointless, because all is put in question now.
This is what really lets people down. There are details we might not like, but this is like an attempt to al the patience and suffering we've been gone though.

The author has said or led to be understood that real life is made of challenges, changes and obstacles everyday people need to overcome. Life goes on after a HEA.
But this is a fantasy book set in a fantasy world. We still NEED the HEA to be set in stone. Now, personally I don't usually mind the way things happen and, as a whole, this book was still a positive one for me, but I do share the opinion things are being done in a way that is completely unnecessary and purposely negative. To fill up space? To increase the drama? To give different takes on the same idea? To add layers no one feels it's interesting?
I'm specifically speaking about the situation with Qhuinn and V and their respective (and separate) issues. Are they valid? Absolutely. Are they necessary for the plot? Definitely not. The problems they have here could still be presented to us without all the drama and silliness we need to endure now.

And how would that be? Simple: change the tone. Change the way we are given the information. An author has the power to influence our impressions using words. Having the two mentioned characters go through the same doubts and emotional issues but saying things differently or allowing them to express themselves differently wouldn't mean a lobotomy in any of their brains and we would see things differently. All is bleak and dire and bad. It doesn't have to be and still enough to occupy page space. Oh well...

I see things this way: this was bad, some previous decisions in terms of plotting haven't been the best but I always hope there will come something good out of it. Qhuinn's problem was solved somehow so we went through all that almost for nothing except drama. I assume V's issue will be the same. I get it, but I also understand readers and their lack of patience.

Personally, the positive things for m in this book were, as usual, the feel of this world, I just like the setting and the ideas within this world, I still love to see beloved characters, I liked Layla and Xcor and I did fantasize a lot about how they could be accepted as a couple and yay, for once, my fantasy ideas came true and their HEA was exactly as I hoped for!
Also very interesting was the Scribe Virgin situation. A new deity is revealed and I think it will be amazing!
There is a new clue about Trez's emotional situation. I think I understand why this is happening and unlike so many others, I don't mind if in the next books we will see it developing further along the apparent lines we were shown. Life is short, even for vampires, so... grab it while happiness is there!
I keep enjoying the multi POVs (I could do without the villain) because I LOVE this feeling they live together, they are all part of a family, of a community and just thinking that makes me smile and wish I was a character there (I bet I could be an upbeat one at least). I still focus on the positive, even if the negative makes people talk more.

This book isn't my favorite despite my preferences and the things I liked more. Too much unnecessary confusion and stuff that end up influencing out enjoyment. I hope the next is better. But this we always hope for. I see why people are giving up but the same way we don't all see things the same way, there will always be readers who still like this, so... up to now, I still see the good above the rest.
Grade: 7/10

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