The Shadows by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
***SPOILERS*** I enjoyed reading this novel much more than I liked the previous volume in the series, The King. That said, I'm pretty disappointed in the ending. We, the readers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, had a deal with J.R. Ward. She would do her best to keep the main character and his lover apart as much as possible, up until the very end, and then - somehow, miraculously - all their obstacles would be removed and they'd end up together, forever.
This is the typical romance novel formula, and some of the fun of reading romance novels is the promise of a happily-ever-after. Well, J.R. Ward has busted our deal. Selena and Trez do not get to be together forever - through a bit of authorial sleight-of-hand, another pairing (one that we readers did not anticipate coming into this volume) instead gets that fate. Does it ruin the book for me? No, but I still think it's a little sneaky and underhanded on Ward's part. I suppose I should have guessed from Ward's John Green reference that she intended to go the The Fault in Our Stars route. Have the facial tissues ready.
The other thing that keeps this from being a 5-star BDB installment for me? Layla is still pregnant. Layla, y u no have your twins already? I know vampire pregnancies are supposed to last much longer than human pregnancies, but I'm tired of waiting for Layla and Xcor to get their own HEA. It better happen in The Beast - and none of this bait-and-switch nonsense, Ms. Ward.
A couple of small things I like: Vishous now has a tongue piercing. (H-O-T.) Also, Paradise hears Butch's Boston accent and thinks "Ben Affleck accent."
As for Paradise, it looks as though she will get her own adventure when Ward begins her BDB spinoff series in 2016. I'm actually looking forward to starting the new series. I like that Paradise is a daughter demanding to be treated with the same consideration that would be given to a son. I think her story will be a good one.
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