REVIEW: The Chosen by J.R. Ward

SYNOPSIS: Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

GENRE: Paranormal Romance

SERIES: Black Dagger Brotherhood #15


RATING: ★☆☆☆☆ / 1 unfortunate star.

REVIEW: I recieved this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

You're probably wondering about that glaring single star listed above. It's harsh, I know, but I just didn't like this addition to The Black Dagger Brotherhood. It was an unfortunate list of frustrations mixed with apathy...not a good combination.

I had been looking forward to Xcor and Layla's story for a while now. Not because I was particularly invested in their romance or even that I especially liked their characters, but because it was TIME. I wanted to know how it all played out after teasing the trainwreck that was sure to come over so many books...and I say trainwreck in the way that we hope it will be a dramatic portrayal of enjoyable crazy...spoiler, it wasn't enjoyable. I disliked nearly every character in this book, even the ones that I love from previous books. The choices that the author made created a whirlpool of "what-the-hell" seemingly out-of-character(s) situations and reactions that left me shaking my head.

I'm going to try and give a rundown without big spoilers (but it may only make sense to those who have read it already) so maybe I should just bullet point my grievances:

  • Xcor and Layla- Their entire romance fell flat. There was no heat, it was just boring. I don't know how it ended up being so "meh" but after books and books of buildup, I found myself just not caring.

  • Quinn and Blay- The drama here was ridiculous. The going gets tough and he just shuts down (purposely leaving this vague so as to not spoil too much). I mean, way to stand by your man through thick and thin...that's what "mating" is. It made no sense to me.

  • Quinn and Everybody else- Seriously? The absolute lack of empathy from anybody was baffling. These are warriors with a strong sense of right and wrong and a very high level of testoterone... of course there's going to be an over-the-top outburst. No it's not okay, but it's understandable. So why is no one understanding? Brotherhood doesn't mean much I guess.

  • Tohr- I'm sort of over his internal drama but I see why the author added it in, because it needs to piggy-back on the main story arc. But this led to another case of the Brotherhood essentially kicking a man when he's down.

  • Layla and the Women- I can't stand any of them in this book. I truly do not understand how they just swept treason under the proverbial rug.

Basically, it all just felt out of character. It's like every character just forgot everything that came before and started to rewrite history. And there were a lot of characters that were absent in this book too. I know that everyone can't be fully included, given that by book 15 there are a lot, but the lack of John (without any explanation given for his absense), in a very Quinn and Blay heavy book, was confusing. Probably because if John's character was around he would have been reasonable...and there was no room for reason in this book apparently!

So now I have to talk about giving my time and energy to a series that, at book 15, has disappointed me so greatly. It's hard to explain, but I'll probably still read the next book. This is one of my guilty pleasure series, so I don't place a lot of weight on what I'm reading, but also, by book 15, I know I'm not going to love every moment and I'm okay with that. Because there were also some teasers and set ups in this book that I'm curious about.

  • Lassiter's character is going in an interesting direction.

  • Trez has something new happening that I want to see play out.

  • V and Jane have drama coming up (not surprising really, the author has never been really gung-ho on this relationship and it comes across in her writing for the last 10 books). And I find the new turn of events more intriguing.

  • There are still the spin-off books that I am enjoying the heck out of, but it usually crosses over so I need to keep up with the original canon.

And now I'm waiting on the next book...maybe not as eagerly as before, but I'm not done with the Brotherhood yet. ...But if the next book is a one star rating, I might say good-bye for good.


Review by The Literary Llama

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