Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15) by J.R. Ward: Review


A scorching forbidden love threatens to tear a rift through the Black Dagger Brotherhood in J. R. Ward’s newest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.
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.

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About the Author:

J.R. Ward is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. She lives in the South her family.

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Review by Michelle:

Stop what you are doing right now, clear your schedule, barricade yourself in, turn off your phone, say farewell to family and friends for a short while, and get to reading The Chosen. I may say this about every new Black Dagger Brotherhood book, but it has never been more true than when it comes to The Chosen; I love this book, it is my new favorite in the series, a top favorite of the year, and a definite must read. As far as I am concerned the Warden can do absolutely no wrong, but this time around, J.R. Ward has outdone herself and knocked this one right out of the park. This long awaited story is compulsively bewitching with the perfect course for all characters involved and lots of intriguing little loose ends to lead us right into the next book and keep us begging for more.

Starting with Xcor's birth and culminating in the divine intervention of the Scribe Virgin's replacement, The Chosen starts with misty eyes and ends much the same way, tugging at your heartstrings the whole way through. The emotions evoked from the prologue alone, those short few pages, are poignant, powerful, and persistent throughout the touching, tearful, angst-filled, and even sometimes frustrating story. All this emotion? It not only springs from the long awaited Layla/Xcor story but from a few other key players who seem to be unraveling as well.

As to be expected, where there is Layla, there is her family, bringing us plenty of my favorite bonded males, Blay and Qhuinn. Admittedly not exactly the way I would have expected, or even particularly would have liked in the beginning, but when it comes to sheer quantity of content, my boys definitely play a large part in this one. Qhuinn, my favorite of the Brothers, may make some pretty questionable choices, act like a moron at times, and highly disappoint me more than a few times, but it turns out the Qhuinn we all know and love is still in there, deep down, just waiting to be knocked over the head and taken to task by his loved ones.

A change in the way we view Xcor has been brewing over the course of the last few books, but it is nothing compared to the pain and sympathy you will experience reading about this male's past. Obviously being raised by the Bloodletter who is brutal, cold-hearted, unforgiving, and ruthless, one would expect some extremely hard times and some seriously rough circumstances in Xcor's past, but you ain't seen nothing yet. The stark reality of the thoughtless, uncaring, appalling, and deplorable events that came before their meeting is guaranteed to leave your heart bleeding for even the most despicable of men, let alone one that we have come to see is truly capable of kindness, love, compassion, and consideration. I was brought to tears more times than I care to admit during the course of Xcor's story and found a new love, respect, and even admiration for the seemingly dark and dangerous male.

As for the Chosen, this female has finally come into her own and it is a beautiful sight to behold. We have seen quite a few of the freed Chosen and experienced how they were able to acclimate to their newfound freedom, find a place when they belong, and discover what brings them happiness. Layla's journey has been much longer and harder, but it seems she has finally found her peace, with or without a future with her love, she has finally found her voice, her power, and herself, and maybe, just maybe, true happiness.

Okay, so there was not a whole lot of lesser action this time around as we have seen quite the culling over the course of the last several books and it looks as though the end of the war may just be within sight. In its stead though, there are some pretty intense battles, both past and present, some ominous circumstances that promise some major bad news in forthcoming books, and a surprising complication that looks as though it could threaten the Brotherhood in unfathomable ways.

The quintessential J.R. Ward struggle became a major conundrum for me very early on as I was forced to choose between devouring this book as quickly as humanly possible, or savoring each and every word, every feeling, every experience, and every nuance in order to hold myself over for another year. There is just no happy medium when it comes to J.R. Ward and especially The Chosen. I may just be a greedy girl when it comes to the Warden, but when I couldn't be pried away from this story, when I was furiously flipping pages, and getting sucked further in and further consumed by this story, I had to tell myself more times than I care to count to slow down, the book will be over much too soon, put the book down, walk away, take my time, and get my head back into real life. It may be a difficult choice to make, whether to plow through a book in one sitting or take your sweet time and relish each word, but it is the absolute best problem to have, one that plagues me with each new Ward book, and one that I can only hope continues to torment each and every time.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 6 Stars

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