Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Shadows Audiobook Review

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’Hisbe 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... 

Release Date March 31, 2015
Black Dagger Brotherhood #13
Penguin Random House Audio
Narrated by: Jim Frangione
22 Hours 8 Minutes

I'm a huge fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books by JR Ward. I was lucky enough to get a review copy of the audiobook for The Shadows. I am an equally big fan of listening to audiobooks, so I was super excited to get started with The Shadows.

First of all, I believe this is some of Jim Frangione's best work with the audiobooks in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. The names were all pronounced as I've heard Ward pronounce them at her Q&A sessions each year. He pulled every single emotion from me as I listened to him read The Shadows.

I honestly liked The Shadows better than the last few books. I openly admit the Black Dagger Brotherhood books are like crack to me and even when I have issues with them, I won't give them up. That being said, I loved that with The Shadows Ward went back to her earlier format of the story. Yes there are multiple story lines in The Shadows, but unlike in The King, I didn't feel like I had ADD trying to keep up with 500 different point-of-views.

I loved that Ward included the romance for both Trez and iAm in one book. As I've always kind of seen the 2 characters as a team, it only made sense to me that they would share a book. Trez and Selena are one of the sweetest couples in the series. Yes there is much drama surrounding their relationship, but I sighed so many times when they were together. They also had some pretty hot sex scenes along the way. Selena showed me she was one of the strongest characters in this series during this book. I won't even lie and say this isn't an emotional read. I cried so hard at one point I had to turn off the audio as I couldn't pay attention to what was being said. However, the emotions The Shadows wrung out of me are part of the reason it was such an amazing story. I also felt like Ward gave enough "it's fate" clues to make it easier to handle what happens, and I completely agree with how she wrote the story.

iAm's romance while not as emotional for me as Trez and Selena's was every bit as satisfying. Since iAm has always been the more in the background of the two brothers, I was glad he had the focus on him finally. I really loved his mate once we really got to know her and loved how hard she worked to right a wrong in the s'Hisbe. 

There was some Layla, Qhuinn and Blaylock time in The Shadows. I still love how this group of characters have become their own little family. We also got to spend time with Layla and Xcor, though she is still keeping their time together a secret. I will be interested to see what happens between Layla and Xcor after she gives birth. 

We also got to spend time with the Band of Bastards and even got to know a little bit more about the dynamics with that group. I have to say the Band of Bastards story line, Assail's story line, and Abalone's daugther's Paradise's story lines added rather than detracted from the current book. I'm especially excited to get Paradise's story with Blood Kiss, the first book in the Black Dagger Legacy books in December. Things are shaking up in Caldwell and we see it with various events in The Shadows.

While I enjoyed the romances in The Shadows, I have to say part of what made it such a great book was the time we were able to spend with the original brothers. That's right, we had time with the brothers and it was like the books from the beginning of the series. I honestly think that dynamic is what has been missing from the last several books and I hope Ward continues to give us time with the brothers in the future Black Dagger Brotherhood books. The brothers are the reason I love this series and continue to read the books. 

The Shadows renewed my faith in this series and has me chomping at the bit for the next Black Dagger Brotherhood book. Sadly we will have to wait a year for it, but are lucky enough to have a Black Dagger Legacy book to help get us through until the next release.

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