[663]: The Beast by J.R. Ward

25293695 The Beast by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #14
April 5th, 2016 | NAL
Urban Fantasy | Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4 out 5 Stars


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…


Life has been relatively quiet for the Brothers of the Black Dagger. With everyone settled in their marital bliss, and threats from the Band of Bastards have been temporarily neutralized, it seemed we’re all heading into a state of freedom from chaos and disturbance…or so it seems. And so the novel opens with the Brothers at an all-out, no- holds-barred fight with the Lessening Society. For a time it looks like it was a fight that will end all fights – with the Brothers at the losing end of the stick. But the lessers didn’t account for Rhage’s beast.

Rhage, however, was distracted. Life is supposed to be perfect now that he’s got his shellan by his side. But he finds himself in a state of panic and anxiety for reasons he couldn’t pinpoint. It’s not that his feelings had changed for Mary; it’s the opposite, actually. He’s still madly in love with her and couldn’t see himself without her. So why, then can’t he shake off the feeling that something was missing?

I’ve been trying to capture the same excitement I’ve had for this series but it seems to have momentarily disappeared. There’d been so many books, it seems, but I’ll always remember why I looked forward to each instalment. It’s great to see the characters we’ve come to love but it’s hard to get excited about them nowadays. It’s not that I’ve grown tired of them, it’s just I found myself complacent and the plots have gone stagnant. Sometimes, I think this series will be best served with an introduction of new characters. But on the other hand, my loyalties lie with the original crew and so I don’t know if that would help. As it stands, I could’ve gone without the Shadow brothers. I didn’t think it added any value to the series. Right now, I can’t name a series plot point that has me interested enough to keep going.

At the same time, I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. Because the truth is, it gives me pleasure knowing that I’m up to date with a series that presently consists of 14 books. It’s my badge of honour. But I keep fervent hope that things will get exciting again.

I do like that we’re finally moving forward with Xcor and Layla. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for the next book to see it all play out. Rhage’s feeling of ennui worried me a little bit. I was worried that he was going to be a whiny little b*tch the entire time. Bemoaning about how his life sucks and what not. In the end, I like what happened to him and Mary. I still didn’t get the relevance of his beast, though. Perhaps it’s a…metaphor?

  • I understand what you mean. I’m a couple books behind in this series now. I just don’t have the time (books are huge) or the eagerness to read them. Good to see you get to see all the characters you’ve come to love though!

  • I stopped with The King, which I have on audiobook but for some reason(Bad reviews?)I haven’t started listening to-it’s like 25 hours or something.I loved this series so much, but I just haven’t continued.If I could continue without having to listen to The King I might but not sure what I would miss from that book. I get where you are coming from though. When a series goes on and on, than it better deliver continuously or you are right, it gets stagnant. But 4 starts is good so I am glad it was at least that good for you 🙂

  • I actually liked Blood Kiss (the first of her spinoff) a little better than this one, because of Butch and Marissa’s story was a better marriage in crisis story to me. Also, I’ve only read up to book 4 (I’m currently listening to book 5) so I didn’t really get a bunch of the side stories. Layla’s story was lost on me, but I’m slowly catching up.

  • Jazmen

    One of these days I’m actually going to pick up a J.R. Ward book—one of these days…great review!

  • There are sometimes these series that you know are way too long winded to actually be any good, and don’t have specific characters you love, but are still so well written and somehow you always end up going back for another. This one sounds something like that 😀

  • Adriana C

    I´m so behind in this series!! And it was one of my adult favorites but when I read book 11 some of the new characters and stories where kind of meh for me and I still havent read The King, The Shadows and The Beast…maybe this year I´ll read The King.
    Thanks for your review Joy.

    • I feel like some of the books in this series have become fillers. But no matter how I complain, it’s not going to change the fact that I’ll never stop reading these books. Lol.

  • You just can’t let go. 😀 I wanted to start this series awhile back, but so many people have said the series has gone downhill. I’m afraid to invest in something like that.

    • Pretty much. It’s gone stale. Only Darynda Jones can keep cranking out those books without missing a beat. Also, Anne Bishop.

  • I read the third and enjoyed it, but when I tried to test out others, the multiple POVs wound up confusing me and made it feel a bit choppy. Glad you mostly enjoyed this one, though!

    • Yes. She tend to overpopulate her books. That’s why most of them are doorstoppers.

  • oh I had a fun time with this one as well!!! And I did love seeing Rhage and Mary again especially since they are one of my favorite couple of BDB.

    • Mine is Bella and Z. Oh, those two broke my heart. Thanks for visiting!

  • I love this one, I so envy Mary!

  • I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I haven’t tried it. I’ve been very frustrated with this series. I love the early books, but I think the series has run on too long and I’m not as much of a fan as I used to be. I feel that sometimes series go on too long and I think that is has happened here. Too many characters, plot lines, plot lines that have disappeared (Lessers and The Scribe Virgin). I do understand the need to continue with the series. I won’t say I’m completely done with this series. I will just say that I’m done for now. I might pick it back up eventually. Once again, I’m glad you enjoyed it over all.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • I feel the same way. The books have been long winded and I don’t know what the point is anymore. 🙁

  • I haven’t started the series yet, but I so want to sometime! I’m just not in the mood for urban fantasy, you know? But I miss reading about vampires so much!!

    • I hear you. I very rarely read UF – aside from this, Charley Davidson and Anne Bishop’s The Others series, I’ve pretty much stayed clear of them.

  • shootingstarsmag

    I haven’t read any of these. Sometimes series just go on for TOO long, unfortunately, but who knows? Maybe you’ll love the next one!

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

    • I won’t be able to say no, regardless. Lol.

  • Awesome review sweetie 😀 Yay for enjoying this one. <3 But ahh, so sorry you aren't loving it as much as you want to : but yay for having read all those 14 books 😀 That is awesome. <3

    • Oh well. I’m a sucker for these books so it doesn’t matter. 🙂

  • kindlemom1

    I’ve seen a lot of people say the same thing about this series Joy so you aren’t the only one. 😉

    • I know. It’s getting kind of tiresome but I can’t quit reading them!

  • This series used to be like crack to me, but then I started to lose interest. I think I got up to book #11? I might go back to it in the future, when I’m in the mood for some PNR!

    • Isn’t it, though? I just can’t remember being excited about them anymore. And 11 is pretty awesome! I hope you’ll continue someday.

  • Hm… I’m behind on this series but Rhage was my fave character. If he doesn’t revive it, I’m not sure it can be for me anyway. Darn.

    • You’ll love this one, Melissa. It’s all about Hollywood. 🙂

  • I fear I gave up long ago, I just did not like that it was not focused on one couple anymore

    • I know. You don’t have the patience for these books anymore. 🙁 Oh, well. I, on the other hand, am addicted. Lol.

  • Am I the only one not reading this series? I’ve been thinking of just borrowing the first few books from the library, but I can’t make up my mind. I do want to try her Bourbon Kings series since it’s only two books in. Great review!

    • Yes! Do borrow them and see if you’ll like the series. I think the first few books are the best the BDB has to offer.

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    You know, the only other series I’ve read that has such a large host of characters and so many books is the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep, and that I flew through so recently. I can see how it’s easy to grow complacent with a series this long, though, especially when you’re reading them as they release and not necessarily as a binge-read (the way I did with Elemental Assassin). Anyway, I hope this series improves for you, Joy! I’m not sure it’s my cup of tea since I tried a Ward novel or two awhile back and just couldn’t get into the Brotherhood, but I’m glad you’ve stayed loyal to the series for so long! 🙂

    • I hope so, too. Although, I can complain all I want but it won’t change the fact that I’ll buy them regardless. Lol.

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    I LOVE the early books in this series, so I was hoping since Rhage and Mary were the focal point we’d return to the style of those first few books without quite so much bouncing around. I feel like we just follow too many characters in the later books. Do we follow a ton besides Rhage and Mary in this one Joy? I adore them, so I’ll want to read this one anyway:)

    • This is probably about 70% Mary and Rhage. So if you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy this instalment.

  • Series with so many books seem so daunting to me. I remember starting this series when I first got into blogging, but I can’t remember the books at all or how I even felt. With all the praise around for it though, I might one day pick it up again, but I can’t say I’m rushing to though. I’m glad this was still a good installment for you despite not being as excited as you used to be.

    • I felt the same way when I picked up the first book! Especially when I picked up book 8 instead of 1. Lol.

  • I think I read the first 5 or so books the last time I was in a huge PNR binge. So part of me is freaked out by this synopsis, lol. Not Rhage and Mary!

    • Right? I felt the same way when I read the synopsis. At the same time, I’m like, who cares? It’s not Bella and Z. Lol.

  • Ninnie G (Bookaholic Babe)

    I feel the same with this series. I love the BDB boys and even though the series sometimes feels stagnant I keep going because of my love for them.

    Saying that though, this was the first book for a while I really enjoyed. It seems like the Warden has heard people’s pleas and it felt to me like we had gone back to the early BDB books.

    I was on the brink of giving up but this one has kept me going with it.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I think you’re one of the first people who appreciated these books right along with me on Twitter, so yay! I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Lol.