The Beast by J.R. Ward

the beastTitle: The Beast
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood bk 14
Author: J.R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal

Blurb: Rhage and Mary return in a new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a series “so popular, I don’t think there’s a reader today who hasn’t at least heard of [it]” (USA Today).

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.Thoughts: With every book of Ward’s I read I’m always a little leery of where she’s going to take us, how she might screw us over or let us down. That being said, I was especially nervous about this book for a lot of reasons, the main one being I simply adore Rhage and Mary. 

Based on Rhage’s behavior in the last couple of books what was going on with him could have been anything. So when it was finally revealed that his issue stemmed from their infertility (this is not a spoiler as it was discussed at length in Lover Eternal) everything made sense to me.

It also made sense Mary’s behavior lately.

This review is going to get a little personal for a minute… as someone who has had this same struggle I have to say that this story line was done excellently and really showed how this impacts not just the woman but also the man in the relationship. So many books in romance land focus on the woman/heroine dealing with it that they forget there are two people in the relationship and that the men/hero also have emotions, a lot of them deeply, about it as well.

The fact that we get to see Rhage’s emotions and watch him deal with their infertility was one of the best parts of this series. Not just that but we also see Mary finally dealing with it as well. For those readers who have first hand infertility experience their story line won’t make you all ragey.

There are three other story lines happening in The Beast as well…

Layla and Xcor and the babies play a HUGE part in what happens next in the series. If you’ve read the transcripts from Ward’s Q&A you know some of this. Layla has the babies and there are some complications which result in V having to pay his mom The Scribe Virgin a visit. What he tells her, and her reaction set up events that will happen in the next book.

Assail, man this guy has grown on me. In the past few books I admit I’ve skimmed his parts, but now I’m thinking that I’ll go back and read them, because OMG what happens with him…and Z are really good.

The third story line will impact Butch and Manny in a way that I can’t wait to see.

Overall this was a really good book. Probably Ward’s best in a long time. Hopefully it means she’s returning to what made us love this series and these guys in the first place.

Grade B+

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