I have never hidden my unabashed love of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Lover Awakened is probably the book I re-read most in life, at least four times a year and Zsadist is my go to answer when asked about a book boyfriend. However, after last years The Shadows and my downright anger at the ending – WTF Ward, I read for HEA’s not for me sobbing at the total unfairness – sorry tangent over, I headed into The Beast with a bit of trepidation. Praise all, J.R. Ward is back and The Beast was amazing. Rhage and Mary are my second favorite BDB couple and I loved going back into their heads. They are at a point in their relationship where the everyday has overshadowed the extraordinary and they are stuck in the average. Then a series of events introduces a new person into their existence who may have the power to change everything. In addition to Rhage and Mary’s story, many subplots abounded including Layla’s pregnancy, Assail’s continuing journey, surprise family members, and my favorite – a super touching series of scenes with my man Z.
I really enjoyed the plot of The Beast. It further explored the lives of the vampires and humans surrounding the BDB and created many new avenues for the storyline as a whole to go down. J.R. Ward’s writing was great. She finally stopped most of the annoying brand/name dropping that had become so pervasive in her writing, and allowed the emotions to rise to the top. There were a few too many hashtags in the conversations for me, but that is a small issue. The pacing was spot-on and the action was continuous. The world building was minimal as this is number 14 in the series and as such, does not really need it. The characters were mainly old friends and they built off of what we knew of them. I really enjoyed the interplay between everyone and I am intrigued by the glances we got of a few new players. Now on to the emotions. So, I cried and more than once, but there were all good tears. The emotions J. R. Ward created in The Beast were spectacular. Most would not think a paranormal romance about vampires would be a heart wrenching, life affirming, love fest and with The Beast they would be wrong.
I am always worried when I love a series and it starts creeping up in numbers that it will start losing steam and become tired and boring. The Beast is number 14 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but thankfully instead of dragging it down, it seemed to breath new life into the series. New emotional ties were explored, new paths were opened for the future and new additions to the fold have me anxiously awaiting next April and book 15. J.R. Ward exceeded my expectations with The Beast and I am glad she continues to expand on her world. The Beast was a one sitting, ignore everything else read for me.