TThe Beasthe Beast by J.R. Ward

Published by: Penguin USA

Format: Paperback ARC

Genre: Urban Fantasy of the Vampire Persuasion

Order from: Amazon

Reviewed by: Guest Reviewer, Ellen(!)

What to expect: Rhage and Mary, Mary and Rhage! Book…whatever of The Black Dagger Brotherhood offers a new installment of two of my most favorite characters (MARY AND RHAGE) + vampires from the Old Country who wear leather, tote guns, and speak in slang, and a look at what’s ahead for the Brotherhood…think GRAND SCOPE!

Plot: 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…

Review: For those of you who don’t know me, Hello! I’m Ellen, and I am lucky enough to have been bffs with Judith for quite some time (think double digits). Our friendship has always involved two important components: books and wine. You can’t have one without the other! Anyway, I’m guest reviewing today because Judith is the most amazing person in the world and she gave me the best present EVER: an advance copy of “The Beast” by J.R. Ward.

This is not only the 15th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, it is essentially a continuation of my most favorite of all the BDB books – “Lover Eternal”. How much do I love that book? Well, let’s just say that guessing I’ve read it 15 times is probably a conservative estimate. Why? Because Rhage and Mary are THE BEST! Not going to lie, it’s mostly because Rhage is my dream. He’s so hot and sweet and strong and open about how much he loves Mary. It’s not a simple romance novel, she’s been through too much for that, but when they do come together it’s magical and I can’t get enough.

Now, here is where I have to make a confession: while I was obsessed with the BDB books at the beginning, I stopped reading new books a long time ago. So there are a lot of characters and storylines in this book that I know nothing about and therefore won’t be touching on in this review. Sorry if that’s what you were looking for!

All that out of the way, let’s talk about “the Beast”!!

It will probably come as no surprise at all but I LOVED this book. Rhage and Mary have always been my favorite for a reason and this book reinforced that feeling. Rhage is still kicking butt with his beast ready to emerge whenever things get too dangerous, and evidently Mary is now working at a shelter for abused women run by Butch’s mate. Makes sense, as she volunteered at the suicide hotline in the first book. However, everything is not completely rosy in their personal relationship – evidently there’s been some distance between them of late. As Rhage puts it, they’ve been living a parallel life; they’re not completely separate but not together.

A big part of The Beast focuses on the two of them struggling to discover why this distance has come into their relationship and then, once they realize it’s due to their inability to conceive, trying to overcome it together. At first I worried that there was going to be zero communication between the two of them about their problems, but thankfully this was not the case. Of course there just happens to be a young girl, Bitty, staying at the shelter who has been recently orphaned, and who Mary has become emotionally attached to. The book focuses as much on the growing parental relationship between Rhage, Mary, and Bitty as it does on the romantic relationship between Rhage and Mary. AND I LOVED IT ALL!!!! Not just because the sparks still fly like crazy between Rhage and Mary, but that certainly doesn’t hurt.

All in all it was a great continuation of the story of two characters I absolutely love. It’s always nice to see what happens after a couple has been together for a while, to see all the “life bullshit” as Rhage puts it.

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