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Review: The King by J.R. Ward

Review: The King by J.R. Ward
The King by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #12
Published by Penguin
Published on: April 1, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 592
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Long live the King…

After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle--with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything--and everyone--at risk.

Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response--or the distance it creates between them.

The question is, will true love win out... or tortured legacy take over?


@!-# trendy snoozer


Before I start my rant review I’d like to put things into perspective; last year when LOVER AT LAST came out I called in sick, and finished it the same day. Now, I didn’t LOVE it, but it was still a 4 star read. For THE KING, I woke-up at 2:30 AM—patiently waited until it was actually available for download at 3 AM—and dove in. I’d anticipated a long day of uninterrupted reading, but after a couple of hours I could barely keep my eyes open, and gave-up. Ok, so if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a BDB fangirl. I’m also no virgin to all-nighters, so the fact that Ward put me to sleep after two hours was a very bad sign. THE KING felt like a short stories anthology with a Beth & Wrath novella at the end. I enjoyed the latter, but unfortunately I had to push through 400 pages of meh first.

The BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD series is renowned for its gangsta slang and shameless product placements, and never have the two been as apparent as in THE KING. The author went a little overboard with these two elements in my opinion, and I found this book a more difficult read because of it. But, those weren’t the only reasons why I struggled to finish this twelfth installment; there were also too many side stories, not enough brother moments, and too much “filler”. It took me FIVE DAYS to finish this novel! Need I remind you that I devoured LOVER AT LAST in one, and it too was pushing 600 pages. Reading the first 3/4 of this novel was a chore, I was dangerously close to do-not-finishing it on several occasions. And, what exactly is Ward’s problem with Miley Cyrus!?

I found the multiple story lines very confusing because not only does the POV change from chapter-to-chapter, but there were subsections within each one with even more character perspectives, and none of them really went anywhere. I enjoyed the flashbacks to Wrath’s parents, and the way that the author connected them to the present king’s circumstances. iAm and Lassiter were a-m-a-z-i-n-g in this installment, and I liked Beth and Wrath’s story once I finally got to it. As for the rest—Trez and Selena, Xcor and Layla, Assail and Sola, and… s’Ex(!?!)—I couldn’t have cared less. There’s very little actual brother action in this book, in both the fighting and the cameo appearance departments, which I found hugely disappointing. I was so psyched when Blay and Quinn made their first post LOVER AT LAST debut—only to not see them again for the duration.

I haven’t DNF’d a book in years, I’m too type-A to be able to leave anything unfinished, but THE KING came dangerously close which pretty much says it all in my opinion. I still plan on reading the next installment, however it will not merit a sick day this time around. In fact, I might just wait until it’s available in paperback because this one definitely wasn’t worth the inflated price tag.


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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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64 Comments

  1. Great review Carmel, I will wait patiently for the paperback I think. Too many characters spoil the plot …

    • I debated whether I should buy this on release day or wait for the PB. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

  2. I started this series years ago and then gave up. Yeah, I know, you’re gonna yell at me again. I really liked the first couple of books and then got bored with it. Sorry.

    I had to stop by to see what you said as you and others have been all over twitter about this one. LOL

    Right now I can’t read anything. I’m still trying to come down from my Kate Daniels high. ; )

    • Nah, I’m not going to yell at you on this one. You read Kate Daniels, that’s all that matters. LOL

  3. THIS!!!!!!! Seriously it is the last one for me unless I get it for free. I just can’t do it anymore 🙁 (Unless there is a novella about i.AM and the cate LOL)

    • I’m very tempted to call it quits, but once another year has gone by and I’m not thinking about The King anymore I may have a different opinion. So, I’m not ready to go there. Yet.

  4. I started being disappointed with this series a few books back. Like you, I’m a huge fan girl of BDB, but for some reason, I’m just having a really hard time with Lover Reborn. Mind you, I can’t wait to read Lover At Last, because I’m just so curious about how everything will unfold, but there’s something holding me back a few book away from it.

    I will read The King, but I won’t buy it now. I want all my books to match so I’ll wait until in comes out in paperback, or maybe check it out of the library.

    • I have them all in paperback too, but I’ve bought the last two on Kindle. Not sure if I’ll buy them a 2nd time so that I can complete my collection.

  5. Oh wow, so sorry the pov and shifts were confusing and was hard to keep up.

    • I had a bad feeling about this one going in. I actually debated reading it out loud. # 1 can vouch for that. LOL

  6. I think almost having to label this one as a DNF pretty much does say it all. Sorry you were so disappointed with this.

    • Yup. And, I know that I am not alone in this despite what the reviews on Amazon say.

  7. Bummer. I’ve heard amazing things about this series, but it doesn’t sound so amazing. The confusing POVs and detachment to the characters won’t bode well with me. Great review, nonetheless, Carmel!

    • I’m proud of myself. I didn’t rant too much. LOL

  8. I think I enjoyed this book more than you, but not by a whole lot. I don’t like to DNF a series or a book and I hope that it doesn’t come to that point with this series, but I do think it needs to come to an end soon. Lassiter is great and I can’t wait see where he goes next. Great review.

    • You listened to it though, and that can make a difference. I’m not a fan of the narrator of this series, but reading it didn’t work for me either.

  9. I just caaaaan’t. I gave up after Rhev

  10. *sigh*

    I’m so disappointed Carmel! Aside from Blay and Qhuinn’s book, the past 2 or 3 books have been huge let downs for me for all the reasons you listed. The slang is getting worse and the number of storylines in addition to the main couple’s is just distracting. I don’t care about those other people until it’s time for their book. I’m sorry, but I’m reading for Wrath and Beth (and the Brothers) so it’d be great if they were actually front and center:) And there’s a new character named s’Ex? *snort* With each new book I keep hoping she’ll return the the style of the early books, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.

    • YES! s’Ex. LOL I’ve enjoyed Ward’s creative character names in the past, but this one is a little too obvious.

  11. You already know what I think and feel about this. I think skipping and skimming the side stories helped me enjoy the book more. Assail and Trez’s were blah! Those should’ve been novellas

    • I’m not big on skimming; I’m always afraid that I might miss something important.

  12. *eyes first book in series that i recently bought* Hmm, this sounds awful. I am not sure I want to read 11 books to get to this.

    • The earlier books are SO MUCH better Kimberly. Read the first 7 and then quit. Hehe

  13. I’m surprised you still gave it 3 paws! I guess those few good moments really were fantastic. I recently listened to book 1 and had mixed feelings, but I know that I want to read a few more of them because I’m interested in the other brothers. But I may not keep going all the way through to this one – yours isn’t the only disappointing review I’ve read. Sorry it didn’t live up 🙁

    • I personally don’t like Jim Frangione’s narration of this series, so the audiobook might have something to do with it as well… However, I know of other listeners who love him.

  14. Ah, you already know how I feel about this one, most definitely enjoy it more than you did 🙂 But I totally understand tour feelings. It seems that your’e not alone.

    • Are you going to be reviewing this one too or only Melanie? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

  15. Yes! Yes! and yes to all you said. Wrath and Beth’s book would have been perfect as a novella. Sadly this book was a waste of time and money.

    • Shortly would have definitely been better in this case. Oh well, we’ll know for next time I guess.

  16. I admire your loyalty, I have never stayed up all night and called in sick from reading a book though it would be tempting. I am to the point where I rarely buy books when they release anymore because I don’t want to pay the inflated price tag and I rarely can get to them right away. I am still one of those readers wavering on whether to try this series or not. I am sure that there are some strong installments but after so many books can it still be going strong or is it getting to the filler point?

    • It’s not loyalty so much as that I need the occasional “mental health” day. LOL But yes, 75% of this book was filler IMO.

  17. You haven’t DNF’d a book in years?! Geez, I DNF books every single week! I guess I just have so many and I’m willing to TRY just about anything. Which means there are a lot that end up not being my thing and I see no point in continuing.
    IF I ever get caught up on this series then one day I’ll find out if I like this book. For now I guess I’ll have a goal of reading at least a few more of the books since I think I’ve only read the first two (maybe three). Sorry it was so disappointing though.:(

    • I’m pretty strict when it comes to picking my books; I won’t just read everything. They have to have certain key elements, or catch my eye with their uniqueness. What can I say, I’m picky. I wouldn’t be in a rush to get caught-up in this series if I were you.

  18. The last few books have definitely been splitting off into too many directions for me to keep up. In Lover At Last, during Assail’s parts I was like “whoa, who the hell is he”. Too many people to remember all their stories. I am nervous to start the King after so many negative reviews.

    • I just can’t bring myself to care about Assail; I don’t know what it is about him, but I just can’t manage to connect with his character.

  19. I was so excited when this series first came out, and I’ve probably read over half, but I just got bored or something. It’s to bad this one was a let down, Carmel. Thanks for sharing though 🙂

    • Someone has to do the dirty work. 😉 I’m just surprised that I haven’t received hate mail from anyone yet to be honest. LOL

  20. I am SO behind on this series it would take me a bit to get to this one. Sorry that you didn’t overall enjoy it, but at least you got the good bit in the end. I think I’ll continue to library book these even though… so far… I’ve been enjoying them.

    • I’ve only rated 2 BDB 3 stars. I think. So 2/12 isn’t too bad IMO!

  21. I still have Lover at Last to read before I can read The King. I have to find time to read both back to back. I may end up listening to them both since I enjoy the narrator of the series.
    Although, I may hold off a littler longer after seeing some of the reviews of The King. =( I can’t stand reading a book that has so many side stories to it, instead of having the main characters take center stage. *sigh*

    • I’m glad you enjoy the narrator; these books are too long in audio for me. Anything over 12-ish hours, and I start to get distracted.

  22. sorry this one did not live up to what you expected. I have not read the series myself, struggled with book 1 but I guess after 12 books things like this happens to even the best of the series.

  23. Oh my goodness — I love this rant…erm… I mean review! While I haven’t started this series yet (I know, I know… I did buy the first one recently, though) I’ve been there. I can’t DNF a book either, and pushing through even with a favorite series is tiresome. You mention several things about this series that have me intrigued so I’m definitely going to start the series… I just might not read this particular installment. Awesome, honest review! Have a fabulous weekend 🙂

    • Ha! I’m relieved to hear that I am not the only one who’s incapable of DNF’ing books.But yes, this series is definitely not all bad. I hope you find time to start it soon.

  24. I am going to skip this one and pretend it isn’t even out there. I have a few of the books I need to catch up on. It think I’ve read through book 9. Sorry this one disappointed you but I’m glad you saved me some $. 🙂

    • Always happy to help! And, that’s more money in your pocket to spend on other, better books. Hehe

  25. I still need to read Lover at Last but once it was announced that the next book after LaL was going to be about Wrath I was like PASS. He’s had his book why have another? I guess since V got another book (come on, his’ sister’s book was really his book) why not give another characters another book. Especially since lately the main character of a book doesn’t get enough face time in their own book.

    I received this one for review on audio. So I MIGHT give it a try at some point but it’s at the bottom on of my review list. It’s a shame since I once LOVED this series.

    • Aww, what do you have against Wrath & Beth? 🙁 I was looking forward to take 2 of their story, but now after reading it… not so much. LOL

  26. I just bought this series, it’s quite daunting to start one that has so many books already but since I heard so many good things about it I 1-clicked it when it was on sale. Too bad this latest installment was a dissapointment though..especially since you’re a huge fan of this series. Great review Carmel!

    • I hate starting a series when it’s already so many books in; playing catch-up is discouraging.

  27. You know I’ve never read a J.R. Ward book and I guess a part of me has always been curious…but as with a lot of ongoing series I run into the problem of “there are just so many damn books!” I’m also worried it’ll be too heavy on the romance for me 🙂

    • The earlier books are very heavy on the romance, but as this series has progressed it’s become more UF and PNR.

  28. I stopped at Lover Unleashed. I need to get back to it though because I have been dying to read Lover At Last, obviously. But I am scared for this series. It’s just not what it use to me.

    You are cray cray with the staying up at 3am to download books. Then again, I am usually up at that time so who am I to speak.

    • I didn’t stay up until 3 AM, I woke up. There’s a difference. 😉

  29. many persons seem mixed about this one. I’m sorry it’s also your case. I confess that I haven’t tried the series yet, but I have the 5 first books in French so I know I’ll read them one day. I just hope I’ll like them…

    • The earlier books are my fav; I hope you’ll give them a chance cuz they are definitely worthwhile.

  30. I had the same issues with The King. It took me days to slog through the first half with all the various side plots. But once the focus FINALLY went to Wrath and Beth I enjoyed it a lot more.

  31. Hmm…I’m not sure what to think! I haven’t started this series, but, to be honest, I’m not sure I will! I can definitely see where you’re coming from with this one – the fact that there’s so many indistinguishable characters worries me! Anyway, thanks so much for sharing, and, as always, brilliant review! <3

    P.S. Sorry I've been absent for a while!

  32. I hate it when there are so many characters that they all become a one big blur eventually. That reminds me of the anime Naruto and Bleach, where there are bajillion characters but the majority of them are not even necessary for the plotline, lol. Sorry, I went a bit nerdy there 😛 I found another review of this one in another blog and thought it was interesting, but now I am absolutely not sure 🙁 It sounds like a mess honestly, and the fact that the majority of the time it felt like a filler is seriously ringing the warning bells in my head.

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  33. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never read this series and while I know you didn’t care for this particular book…I’m dying to read this series!

  34. You really called in sick to read a book? That’s so amazing and I’ll have to use your technique one day! I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as you hoped. It sucks. Great review, Carmel 🙂

  35. Wow, so glad it wasn’t just me. I left a very similar review on Goodreads for this book. Wasn’t very happy with it at all.