The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13) by J.R. Ward
Published March 31st 2015 by NAL
Synopsis from Goodreads:Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.
Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on... except for his brother, iAm.
iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around... but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.
Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice...
What I Thought...
I know it's been a while since I've posted just a regular review, so I thought I'd start 2016 with a review over a J.R. Ward novel. The last novel I reviewed of hers was The Bourbon Kings, which I hated, so when I started this novel in July of last year, it took much longer than what I'd planned to finish it. However, my reaction to The Shadows was MUCH better than what it was to The Bourbon Kings. This material is the type of material I'm used to reading of Wards. It was powerful, it was sexy, and it was worth my time.
Though slow at the beginning, just simply because it had been over six months since I'd read The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12) and my memory was playing catch up, once I delved in I couldn't put the book down! The love story between Trez and Serena isn't told like most romantic stories usually are. Ward picks apart each character down to their bare bones to show the vulnerability found within. It is through this bareness their true passion is brought to light.
The Chosen daughter Serena is a warrior. Battling an fatal illness that has plagued her ancestors for generations, she knows she doesn't have much time before her time is up. However, that doesn't stop her from living her life to the absolute fullest. After pledging to be nothing but honest with Trez and her feelings about life, Serena embarks on a journey of healing, not just for her body, but for her mind and heart as well.
Trez has always been my favorite Shadow brother, so when I realized the main proportion of this book was about him, I could hardly contain my excitement! We are introduced to the Shadow Brothers in the BDB #7, Lover Avenged. Trez and iAm trickle through the series because they are key components of the S’Hsib feud that's brewing. Trez is the "Chosen One" of his people and therefore must marry the S'Hsib princess to complete their mating ritual. Fortunately for Serena, Trez has been running from that position for years and doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. He finally gets the girl and wont let anything interfere with their future plans. Trez is different than most of Ward's male characters; he isn't afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve and be romantic and mushy. That is what really set this novel apart for me.
Usually, Ward focuses on two main characters in her novels, with supporting minor characters to go with. However, here she throws a curve ball; while Trez and Serena are busy trying to fight fate, iAm is trying to fight the ritual that has his brother ensnared. Little does he know, the Princess of the S'Hsib tribe also has a curve ball to throw, and when the two finally collide....its nothing but a hot mess!
The only negative thing that I have to say about this novel, which it really isn't negative but more questionable, was that I hated how Ward ended it. For now, there is no talk of a BDB #14 in the works, which is good, because I don't have any idea how Ward would come back from where she ended this novel. I'm sad, too, because the ending is so real, it sucks everything positive out of the air and just basically ends. However, if this truly is the end of BDB, it was a great way to go out. Overall, I give it a solid 4 stars. If you're a fan of the series, definitely read it! If you've never read the series, start it!