BOOK REVIEW: The Shadows by J R Ward

The ShadowsTHE SHADOWS (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13)
by J R Ward
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication Date: 31st March 2015
Format: Hardbook (572 pages)
Source: Review Copy

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 . . . (Goodreads)

DividerThe Shadow Twins, Trez and iAm were never characters who I wanted to read their story nor was I that bothered about their race or culture. The fact that I gave up this book a year ago should have indicated how deeply I felt. So, in an effort to clear some of the books clogging up my TBR, I decided to give some of the books that lay unfinished a second chance and The Shadows was the first book I tackled. And I genuinely say that the book was OK. Yes, it had a difficult job of rivaling my favourite in the series, Lover Mine, but it was entertaining enough.

For me, The Shadows suffers from the same issues that the previous few books had and these were, in my opinion the following.

The lack of a really good antagonist. – When the series first started, the Omega and his underlings, The Lessers were the big bad of the series, with the aim of eradicating the Vampire Race. Now, it seems that the Omega has gone the way of the Scribe Virgin and disappeared into the abyss. We have even had a revolving door of Forelessers who only just seem to start to bare their teeth only to be written out soon after. Ever since Lash had met his maker, there has been no really good guy to hate.

The couple whose book it is supposed to be about, don’t seem to be the main focus of the book. – Ok, so Trez and Selena do get quite a bit of “screen-time” compare to Quinn and Blay or Wrath and Beth did in their books, but it still didn’t feel as if it was their book. For me, there was a lot of setting up of plotlines for future books, especially for The Beast in which Rhage takes centre stage. I understand that this is to keep the books linked but I find it more and more distracting.

And following on from that, Too many plotlines in one book – Not only does The Shadows deal with Trez and Selena’s story, Ward also manages to give iAm a Shellan; develops Layla and Xcor’s relationship a bit more; create a massive division in the Band of Bastards; put Qhuinn through the wringer with the return of his brother and stages a coup in The Shadows compound. On top of all that, Ward also sets up the plot for Rhages book, though where this storyline is going, I’m not sure. Ward has created a complex world, with a lot of characters in it so trying to serve these characters is a massive task. It then feels that storylines that should have more time to develop are wrapped quickly, while others seem to languish for books at a time.

You may think that I didn’t like the book, but I found it to be ok. It wasn’t as bad as I had heard. What I do have to agree with is the fact that for all intents and purposes, the brothers are supposed to get their Happy Ever After with their True Love, regardless of the fact that the series has become more Urban Fantasy. For Trez to have found his other half, only for her to be snatched away so tragically seemed rather wrong.

While many would argue that Tohr lost his true love to only have her die so tragically was different because it was unexpected. It seemed cruel in Trez’s case, though his journey did show me a side to the character I didn’t expect. I thought it was really touching how Trez called in a favour to hire out an amusement park for Selena. It made me smile so much and I have to admit that this big gesture would be high up on putting a guy in my good favours, only second to a library.

By the end of the book, I felt my love for the series hadn’t diminished any, but at the same time there wasn’t enough to recapture some of the ground that it had lost as one of my favourite series. I still want to read more, but with each book its place on my auto buy list slips further and further down.

Although The Shadows is nowhere near as great as it once was, Ward still manages to dangle a carrot under her readers noses, enticing her to keep coming back. No doubt, it seems that very soon a few of the big storylines should be resolved one way or another and the series may evolve again. Ward is nothing if not an author who attempts to keep her series moving forward and I do think its commendable that she isn’t scared to take risks in her series.

3 star





1 Dark Lover
2 Lover Eternal
3 Lover Awakened
4 Lover Revealed
5 Lover Unbound
6 Lover Enshrined
7 Lover Avenged
8 Lover Mine
9 Lover Unleashed
10 Lover Reborn
11 Lover At Last
12 The King

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  1. Pingback: BOOK REVIEW: The Chosen by J R Ward - BOOK MOOD REVIEWS

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