Blood Vow – Black Dagger Legacy #2 – J.R. Ward

I had kind of given up on this series when it became Black Dagger Legacy, a continuation of Black Dagger Brotherhood, for a few reasons. The first and biggest was because I am not a fan of revisiting couples from other books who had already had their time in the spotlight and I would have liked to think of them as living happily ever after. I didn’t want to think of them ever struggling or having relationship problems again. The only one I ever wanted to revisit was Assail and Sola who didn’t get a happily ever after. The second reason is because I didn’t know the new protagonists who were young and didn’t have hundreds of years of tortured history like the Brothers had. They hadn’t been around as background characters like the other protagonists had to build up my curiosity and anticipation about them. It was almost as if J.R. Ward had lost interest in this series and had thought about ending it so she didn’t bother introducing these new guys before but then had to invent them to finish up the series. And the last reason I was giving up was because I didn’t like having two couples sharing a book. I was really just waiting for Layla’s and Xcor’s story and I was going to quit the series.

But I missed this series so I decided to give it another try. I read this book and am now invested in these new characters, the trainees into the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I didn’t realize until after I finished the book and went to J.R. Ward’s website that this book was supposed to have been read before The Chosen. Oops!

I immediately judged Axe to be a dickhole but changed my mind later as I empathized with his plight. He had a sad childhood.

I liked Elise but she was a little too much of a goody goody for me.

I also had a problem with the whole rich girl with a poor bad boy storyline because the last storyline between Craeg and Paradise was the exact same thing.

Besides those things, the book was intense. There was one part in the book where I was so engrossed and tense that I didn’t even know it until I got up and realized I had my muscles clenched.

This is why J.R. Ward is still one of my favorite paranormal romance writers.

The Beast – Black Dagger Brotherhood #14 – J.R. Ward

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.