[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?

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