I am not quite sure what I think about revisiting the couples who have already had a book of their own. While I realize couples go through problems, I would rather read about couples first getting together. It holds more intrigue for me. That being said, I did like this book. I just hope this is not going to be a new theme where J. R. Ward is going to revisit each and every one of the couples. It will get monotonous.
Rhage and Mary’s original story was in Book #2, Lover Eternal, but now the couple is in some sort of funk and seem not to be able to tell each other what is on their minds for fear of hurting the other one’s feelings. I was a little disappointed in Mary in this book because she seemed to have cared for an orphaned child more than she did for Rhage.
Rhage has his alter ego, The Beast, which is what he turns into when he gets in a rage while fighting. Vishous, a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, has a vision about Rhage dying in battle. He tells Rhage just before they go into a fight with their enemy but Rhage charges into battle anyway. He gets mortally wounded and Mary is the only one who can save him. Mary has these thoughts go through her head and she saves him but not because of her undying love for him but because she still doesn’t want an orphaned child with whom she has become close to be alone in the world. I was a little disappointed for her reasoning. I mean, I was glad she saved Rhage and it showed that she had a huge heart for the child but it made me question her love for Rhage.
Rhage, in the meantime is having his own insecurities. He’s discovered that he would really like a child but knows that Mary can never have one. There is an intense scene where he holds Beth’s child and cries and I almost wanted to cry along with him. But his love is so strong for Mary that he would rather not have a child than to lose her.
I think I was more into the background story than Rhage and Mary’s story. I love them…I really do but I am so fascinated with what is going on with Layla and Xcor’s tale that I can’t get enough.
Layla originally met Xcor when she was brought to a field or meadow by Throe to feed him. She did not realize that they were the enemy until later but she instantly had a connection to Xcor as did Xcor to her. When she learned he was an enemy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the king, she tried to do the right thing and tell the Brothers and she did but she still had feelings for Xcor and she hated it.
Layla chose to give Quinn and Blaylock a child since, obviously, they cannot have a child together and because she felt empty and wanted something else in her life. She ended up being pregnant with twins.
When Layla discovers that Xcor has found the Black Dagger Brotherhood compound, she offers her body to him as a trade for him not to harm any of the brothers or the king. She starts meeting with him but Xcor seems to be honorable and does not want to have sex with her while she is pregnant. I think he just likes having her around even though he is awkward about it. It ended bad though. Xcor sabotaged it because he didn’t want to dishonor Layla and needed her to think he was a bad guy, which he is, but yet I can’t help but like him. He has sex with a prostitute, making sure Layla knew about it, and tells Layla to get lost. It was sad.
In this book, Layla is bedridden with twins and is having a hard pregnancy. Her life and her babies are at risk. The Brothers have captured Xcor and he is in a coma. He might not make it and if he does wake up, the Brothers will most likely execute him. Layla and Xcor seem doomed. I have no idea what J. R. Ward is going to do with them but I want them to be together and I want Xcor to be redeemed somehow.
There were other background stories going on also. Assail and his cousins have agreed to help the Brotherhood and are becoming friends with a female who is part of the glymera and all kinds of shady. Throe, Xcor’s former second in command, is also involved with this treacherous female.
Despite my misgivings about the Rhage and Mary story or rather the revisiting of past couples, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I cannot wait for the next book which will be about Layla and Xcor but, of course, I do have to wait.