Thursday, April 2, 2020

JR Ward - The Sinner

Syn has kept his side hustle as a mercenary a secret from the Black Dagger Brotherhood. When he takes another hit job, he not only crosses the path of the vampire race’s new enemy, but also that of a half-breed in danger of dying during her transition. Jo Early has no idea what her true nature is, and when a mysterious man appears out of the darkness, she is torn between their erotic connection and the sense that something is very wrong.
Fate anointed Butch O’Neal as the Dhestroyer, the fulfiller of the prophecy that foresees the end of the Omega. As the war with the Lessening Society comes to a head, Butch gets an unexpected ally in Syn. But can he trust the male—or is the warrior with the bad past a deadly complication?
With time running out, Jo gets swept up in the fighting and must join with Syn and the Brotherhood against true evil. In the end, will love true prevail...or was the prophecy wrong all along?

Comment: This is the most recent installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by author JR Ward and it seems it was the end of the arc. At least, the plot seems to indicate so.

In this book we have the story of Syn and Jo, as well as the concluding events that lead to the final battle against the enemy that has plagued the brotherhood since the first book.
Jo is a character that has been referenced in the past books, she even got page time here and there and we finally understand how she is connected to the main characters apart from the obvious fact she is about to reach her transition.
Even before that, she meets Syn, one of the members of the Band of Bastards who has joined the battle a few books ago along with his fellow "warriors" but who also gives in to his need to kill by accepting contracts on the side.
As these two bond over common traits and an attraction not that easy to explain, will it be possible to finally reach the peace everyone has wanted for so long?

I'll include some mild spoilers!

I have mixed feelings about this book. I have said many times, probably on each new book's release, how I am such a fan and how I have been devoted to this series since book #1, which I stumbled upon around 2008, when there were five books out and the next one about to be released.
For these past twelve years, I've been dedicated to the series, to the amazing world and the characters, even when the stories went towards paths I was indifferent to but many were not fans of.

Now this book arrives, it's clear it's meant to be the end of an arc, if I can say so, because it finishes the main plot that had been on going all this time which is the fight against the lessers and the Omega.
To be honest, I don't really mind this as I've felt this part of the story was completely unnecessary. I think the series would have had a lot more to gain had it been just a story on the vampire life, culture, dynamics, all the things we already had besides the fighting. The bad guys, the lessers could still exist in the world, after all the warriors would have needed a purpose, but in an abstract way somehow.
Anyway, so this is over. 

At the end of the book, though, we have a new enemy coming out and I really dislike who that character is. I don't think it's a surprise to say it's a character already seen in another series by this author. I think to myself, was this really the way to go? Why? Why this enemy, why like this, I dislike how things are going. A villain that has more protagonism than the main characters? No wonder so many have been critics the series was no longer a romance.

This brings me to this book's main couple, then.
I liked Jo and Syn as a whole, I think they had a lot of potential to be a strong team but to me it was really a pity we see them before Jo's transition and not as much after. I understand why, after all the focus would have had to be different but I love these books for the world, for the family/community relationships. I'd have preferred to have more scenes with them getting to know each other than villain moments.

Were the first books in the series better in this regard? I have to say yes based on how the balance between plot and romance developed. I've also said this didn't bother me and it's true, I don't mind having less romance pages to have other types of interactions between the characters. But to replace them with the bad guys' POVs? Then, I don't think it was such a good idea.

This book feels like it had a goal: to finish the main idea, to tidy some of the loose strings (why was Bo special, for instance) to prepare things for a different approach.
There were several scenes that reminded me of the god old days, when the books were so emotional I couldn't help being emotional myself. Of course I liked the references to all the other characters although, like many other readers, the constant emphasis on the special relationship between V and Butch gets on my nerves. I think everyone already got it and maybe more scenes between V and Jane would not be enough to counterbalance this now.

I don't know what's to come, I'll still read this series no matter what because what I felt with the first books cannot just disappear but, sadly, for me this book was not the wonder I expected and wanted to have, being it the last of an era (of sorts).
I hope the author can have better ideas for the next ones and not giving in to silly stuff.
Grade: 7/10

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