A good chunk of you, like me, bought THE KING the day it came out, and not necessarily because we expected awesomeness, but rather just because it’s J.R. Ward. I actually downloaded it to my Kindle at 3 AM on April 1st—not because I’m a die hard fan (well ok, I kinda am…)—but my dog woke me up, and I figured “why not?” Well, it took me five days to finish the damn thing, and for me that’s saying something. That point aside, the book prompted this week’s Question, and before you quit reading for fear of spoilers, this is just a general discussion post about the BDB; I’ll save the good stuff for when my review posts tomorrow.
THE KING was a pretty tame installment in comparison to its predecessors; the action was minimal and the stakes weren’t overly high which leads me to my first question: Is it ok to have a novel here or there in a long-running series that is used as a buffer? Personally, these “filler” books never rank high on my favourites list, although I do understand the necessity of them at times. After a series has exhausted all of its main story arc options, authors are left with little choice but to create a segue to a new plot line or call it quits. All of the brothers have now had their tales told which leaves Ward with an interesting dilemma—how to make future installments feel like BDB novels without featuring these warriors as main characters?
Are our expectations too high? Is it right to expect awesome-sauce-ness this late in the series? For me, it’s no and no on both fronts. There are several series out there that are way further along than BDB that are still delivering 5-star reads. Personally, I think Ward owes it to her fans to continue to put out quality books, and if she can’t, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate her game plan. Do you like the direction the series seems to be going now? Again, I’m a resounding no on this one. I’m not a fan of the Band of Bastards nor do I enjoy the Omega and his gang. The only characters whose stories haven’t been told yet that I wouldn’t mind reading about are Trez, iAM, and Lassiter.
I was actually rather happy about Ward revisiting Wrath & Beth; it’s been a looong time since they’ve been front-and-center, and I thought that seeing this couple again would help reignite the BDB spark. And, for the most part I did enjoy reconnecting with these two, I just wish that they’d been the focus. Would you like more novels about other main characters from past books? Absolutely! The cameo appearances in recent installments haven’t been enough for me, and I think they all still have plenty of story to tell. Part of my frustration from reading THE KING stemmed from the lack of updates. I jumped for joy at the first official glimpse of Qhuinn & Blay as a mated couple only to not encounter them again the entire novel. One measly mention, that’s all they got.
What makes a series capable of keeping their readers engrossed and STILL wanting more?! And, does Ward and the Black Dagger Brotherhood have enough staying power? I think the author achieved that “magic recipe” in earlier installments, and I believe her capable of doing so again in the long-term; I’m just not sure whether her plan and my hopes match-up. THE KING was a borderline DNF for me, and I’m not confident that the next novel will be much (if at all) better which leads me to my last question. Who is your favourite Brother? This is like asking me to pick my fav book, and could probably turn into its own discussion post, so for the sake of brevity I’ll give you three: Zsadist, Rehvenge, John Matthew.
Alright, so there you have it, this week’s questions. Plural. Your turn…