Reviewed by Nikyta and Susan65
Title: The King
Author: J.R. Ward
Narrator: Jim Frangione
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #12
Genre: MF Paranormal
Length: 22 hours, 4 Minutes
Publisher: Recorded Books
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Available at: Amazon and Audible
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Long live the King…
After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle—with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything—and everyone—at risk.
Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response—or the distance it creates between them.
The question is, will true love win out… or tortured legacy take over?
Nikyta’s Review – Book: It’s been a while since I read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series (last one I read was Tohr’s). So when Susan started listening to them, I figured it was a good time to finally catch up on the series and then tackle the few I still hadn’t read. One of the reasons I didn’t read The King is because Beth and Wrath are my least favorite couple. I don’t know why but I just don’t like Beth as a female and Wrath is just average on my scale of brothers who I love/hate. He may be the king but he’s not memorable or even lust-worry, IMO, which is why it took me so long to get to this one.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much. More of the “I don’t want to be king” and the “we need to kill the band of bastards” situations that were in previous books. But when I started to listen to this one, I was drawn in and I really got into the story. Whether that’s because I was listening to a book I haven’t read before (up until now, I’ve only listened to books I’ve previously read) or whether the story was just that good, I have no idea but I really, really. enjoyed this one.
I liked the little twists throughout the story such as how the issue of Beth’s human half was finally brought forth and how it related to having kids. How the band of bastards make an astonishing move, how the Brothers scramble to find a solution and how, beyond all else, things change so dramatically that I’m still wondering if these things really happened! I don’t want to go into too many details because I feel like so much happens that are best discovered by reading than by getting spoilers (although I admit I begged Susan for spoilers while we were listening lol). But I will say one thing – the ending MADE this story. I was shocked but so pleased with how it ended and it made me like Beth and Wrath a little more. So sweet!
I enjoyed this book a lot compared to the last few in the series but it wasn’t without its issues. For one, I found it unrealistic and inconsistent that anyone on the glymeria could vote to dethrone Wrath but only the eldest of families were able to vote to seclude females. I found it absolutely ridiculous that they didn’t have the same pull in voting. Dethroning a king should have more stipulations around it when it comes to voting than mere FEMALES. Like come on!
With that said, the whole Sola/Assail situation was going absolutely nowhere. Yes, it was a tad entertaining and I did slowly warm up to Sola (and freaking loved her grandmother) but I found Assail horrid. I hate druggies and that is exactly what he is now. I can’t imagine liking him even though he’s sort of a gentleman. Aside from that, I ADORED Xcor but I fucking HATE Layla. I wish that Xcor would find someone else to obsess over!
Nikyta’s Review – Audio Book: As far as the audio itself, I like Jim Frangione as a narrator. He has a deep, soothing voice that made me actually want to pay attention but didn’t lull me into a trance or disinterest me. He doesn’t exactly do a good feminine voice but he really got into parts that needed the little extra umph and he does an amazing job of voicing the brothers. I can’t imagine anyone else narrating this series and I’ll definitely be looking into any other books he may have narrated.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
Susan65’s Review – Book: No big secret that I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and those who know me best understand that they are real to me and I will cut you if you try to tell me that Zsadist is not all mine, mine, mine. I can’t imagine NOT waiting a whole year for the next book in this series to be released, and it will undoubtedly be a very poignant moment for me when it all finally comes to an end. Hopefully that’s a long way off.
But with that being said, this series has taken a detour from the style that I fell in love with initially. I treasured the times when each couple were the main characters in their own books and not relegated as a shared side story with others…in this case, too many others. It was most evident in Lover at Last, but it carried that trend here with The King. Considering this is a reread, er…an audio listen, I admit to fast forwarding at times.
Wrath and Beth are well known throughout the series and so no history lesson is needed to get to know them. You easily start reading and recognize exactly how they will act or react…and that familiarity is what I love about this series. The original Brothers are what made the BDB a huge success and I miss them. I missed them terribly in this book, and I am afraid of what won’t happen in the future. I don’t want them pushed to the back burner; I want them front and center with their off-the-wall humor and antics. I feel that we no longer have that and it makes me sad.
Fortunately, I am a fan of Trez, iAm and Xcor so I was perfectly happy reading their stories. I have a huge space in my heart just waiting for Xcor to fill it, so if I can’t have one of my original Brothers, then I want him to have his own book. And I want him to become a bona fide Brother, and I want him and the original Brothers to work hard for it, and kick each other’s asses, but in the end, I want him to finally find peace because that man has suffered enough.
Now, can you imagine Xcor playing the step-daddy to Qhuinn’s child…that will be awesome to watch play out. I doubt it will happen until after The Beast, so I have at least a full year to wait…and hope.
And Trez…lordy that man has some serious issues to work out. I was not a big fan of his slut puppy ways in the previous books, but I began to understand and glimpse the real him in this one. He was screwed royally (pun intended) from birth so I give him a pass and offer him a chance to straighten his ass out. And holey-moley…the sex scenes with him and Selena…now that was hot and I know it continues in The Shadows, so I look forward to listening to that next.
I still hated Marisol (Sola)….yes; it’s harsh, but she’s human and Assail isn’t a Brother, so I am not in a least interested. I skimmed every part of her and if the next book is hers then I will not read it…Point. Blank. Period. I did not hate Assail and even read some of his scenes, as long as they did not relate to her. Why did they need so prominent a role in these last two books? I guess we will find out eventually, but I seriously hope they do not get a whole book.
Another thing that I need a conclusion on is the Darius/JM reincarnation and the recovering-memory-inducing-seizures. I don’t know how that can play out, but I really want the Brothers and Beth to know that Darius came back. I’ve heard that will never happen, but still, JM has all but proven that he is Darius and it’s gotta be messing with him big time.
But the stars of this show were, without question, Beth and Wrath. The sex across the floor at the beginning – the emotional mess in the middle – and the completed First Family at the end was just beautiful. The only thing that would have made it better was if Marisol didn’t keep jumping in the middle of my high…
…Go Away, Chica Sola…enjoy Miami and stay awhile, please!!!!
So my review is pretty long and I still have thoughts, many thoughts, on this book and the BDB series, but I will stop here because I already feel like I’ve read an encyclopedia length book and don’t want to write an encyclopedia length review, so I will end it here with this: Stick with the Black Dagger Brotherhood and keep reading, but prepare to spend a lot of time skimming the parts that, to me, bring no value to the series. Others may disagree, but for me, that was not the case. This book was a labor in love…loved it enough to keep going, but sad that it’s starting to lose that which made it so special.
Susan65’s Review – Audio Book: Jim Frangione will probably dream about the Brothers in his sleep for the rest of his life. He rarely misses a beat and after eleven books he is still the only voice I can fathom narrating this series. He still speaks very slowly and I still listen at 1.25 speed, but that works for me. I’ve already loaded up The Shadows and pre-ordered The Beast so I have no plans on stopping now.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*We purchased our own, personal copies of this book for review.*