The Shadows by J.R. Ward

the shadowsTitle: The Shadows
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood bk 13
Author: J.R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

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.

Thoughts: There has been a lot said about this book over the last week, and on Saturday at her book signing Ward took a lot of flack for this book and what happens. Several people have said that Ward broke their trust with this book and they weren’t sure they could continue the series.

When I was discussing this with a friend I told her, Ward couldn’t break my trust with this book because she broke my trust a long time ago when she killed Jane in Lover Unbound, V always has been and always will be my boy, and then with the crap she pulled in Lover Enshrined, and I was done, like never reading her again done, so Ward could only go up with each book after that.  (If you’re curious about how I came back to the BDB you can read that here and here.)

Which I’m glad to say she has. Because as much as she pissed me off with those stories I still read each book in this series and almost always end up loving them, even the books I didn’t think I was going to like.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t expect a lot of cray cray in her books, this is Ward after all… plus V (have I mentioned how much I love him?) and there was a lot of that in this book not V but the cray cray, not as much as you’d expect, but still a lot. I’m going to break down each of the plot lines by couples otherwise this review will be all over the place.



Trez and Selena ~ From the beginning of the book you know that things aren’t going to be good for these two. First they aren’t together after something’s happened in The King. Trez is basically going through the motions of life, he has this whole mating thing with S’Hsibe that he wants as much as he wants brain surgery with no drugs which is to say not at all, and missing Selena whom he doesn’t feel worthy of.

Selena knows that she’s on borrowed time as the disease that is fatal for The Chosen is in it’s final stages…something she has managed to keep from everyone in her life. With the end of her life drawing close she has one last thing she wants to do, tell Trez that she loves him.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, this story line isn’t an easy one to read because you know what’s coming, and yet its probably one of my absolute favorite story lines that Ward has written. Even as you’re hoping Ward pulls something out of her magic bag and has a hail mary in the final pages like Rhage and Mary and V and Doc Jane you know she probably won’t because this is Ward. What makes it one of my favorite story lines is the raw emotions we get from not just Trez but everyone around him and how comes to realize that while he’s always assumed it was just him and iAm and Rhvenge in their family.

The scenes with these two are heart breaking and fun and bitter sweet.

iAm and maichen ~ As the brother’s rally to help Trez make Selena’s last days the best of her life, iAm does what he’s done his entire life, try and save his brother’s life because he knows what no one else does. When Selena goes Trez will do everything he can to join her in the Fade as soon as possible. When s’Ex comes to iAm that Trez is out of time and has one week to return to the S’Hsibe iAm tells him what is going on and asks to be smuggled back into the S’Hisbe so that he can search their library for a cure for his twins mate. iAm has dedicated his life to being Trez’s savior and can’t let him down now, just when he’s found the one person that can change the self destructive path that Trez has been on for years. Aside from his restaurant he’s never taken anything for himself, not even a woman. So finding himself attracted to the maid who helps sneak him into the library is the very last thing he wants or needs.

I’m still not sure what I think about maichen. On one hand I really liked her, but on the other I don’t feel like I ever really discovered a lot about her, other than from the moment she started dealing with iAm and how he changed the direction of her life. It isn’t until he gets mad at her and vomits his feelings about what is going on with his brother and how the S’Hsibe queen is the most horrid person in the world and she realizes just what she’s done to iAm that makes her question everything and decide to do something about it.

Of course this doesn’t happen until after her and iAm have started on a course that will bring them nothing but heartache but which makes you hope that of the two brothers one of them will get a HEA.

Layla and Xcor ~ wow this story line went all over the place and then some…the only thing I’m going to say about this story is there is a major LACK of communication between these two which I get because after The Beast (the next book in this series) these two will be the main couple and isn’t that going to prove interesting. Especially with her carrying Q’s young and the crap that Xcor pulls but then again I have to admit that I get why he does it and that none of it would have happened if Layla had just opened her mouth and told him what she was feeling. Like I said a major lack of communication.

Rhage and Mary ~ knowing that their story is next I get she needed to create issues with this formerly stable couple and considering what is going on with Trez and Selena and how it’s errily similar to what went down with them I can see where issues would crop up. My only problem was we never saw Mary’s POV in this story line, it’s all Rhage and to be honest it kinda pissed me off. I get that because of her job she felt like she needed to be at the shelter, but she should also have known how watching Trez going through losing his shellan would affect her mate. I forsee lots of fireworks and trouble for these two.

Assail ~ Dude is seriously messed up. Like a train wreck you can’t help but watch messed up. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with him and Sola.

Throe ~ I can’t even…

Paradise ~ Now she was a surprise and one that I’m super excited about. Her story will kick off the new series and I can’t wait to see what happens there.

If the book had been titled The Shadow and was solely about Trez and Selena I would have been super pissed off about the ending, but because it was titled The Shadows and was about Trez AND iAm I can tell you that I was happy about how the book ended. I get it, one of the brother’s doesn’t get his HEA AND this is supposed to be a romance book with a HEA but honestly if you’ve read all of the books with Trez and iAm including this book, you know for a fact that unless Trez had gone through what he did iAm wouldn’t have his HEA something that Trez recognizes at the end. Yes it sucked, and I cried, but like I said earlier this is one of my favorite books in the series.

All of that being said, if you’re a fan of this series, and really how can you not be, especially with characters like V (had to get his name in there one more time) you won’t want to miss this book. Just make sure have a box of kleenex by your side when you read it.

Grade: B+/A-



1 Comment

  1. Jeananna

    I LOVE YOU!! and your reviews! and your passion for books! and all the great ones that you have led me to over the last couple of years!! I stopped reading at your warning because I still need to catch up on the series but I skimmed your breakdown by plots and had to giggle! “Throe – I can’t even…” I am hearing the same chatter about The Shadows and Ward too…We both know she lives for the angst!!
    thanks for the tissue warning! you know that I am a crybaby so I always appreciate the heads up. and Yes HL I have no doubt that V knows you are his biggest fan!!


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