Review: The Shadows

Review: The ShadowsThe Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #13) by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #13
Published by Signet on March 31st 2015
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 590

WARNING: Spoilers are contained in this review!

“Don’t do this to yourself, Trez.  Just…just know that I love you and let me go.”

FINAL DECISION:  This was an incredibly difficult book for me to read.  Many won’t consider it a romance at all because it has a sad ending (spoilers below).  I thought it was incredibly moving and beautiful but I’m glad I knew what happened otherwise I would have been angry.

THE STORY:  Trez has been on the run from his people.  Prophesy declares that Trez must be mated to the princess of his people.  Trez has spent years defiling his own body fighting his fate.  When he falls for the Chosen Selena, he believes himself unworthy of her.  Selena, herself, is fighting a fatal disease and doesn’t know how much times she has left.  When Selena experiences a crisis, Trez and Selena decide to live each day as if they have forever — even if they don’t.  At the same time, Trez’s brother iAm is trying to protect his brother.  Their people, the Shadows, intend to having the Annointed One returned to him.  Time is running out for all of them.

OPINION:  I normally avoid spoilers in writing a review believing that part of the beauty of the story is allowing the information to flow as intended by the author.  I truly couldn’t find a way to write an honest review of this book without disclosing the big spoiler of the book.


I personally don’t think this book can be considered in any way a romance.  It is definitely an incredibly beautiful love story, but, for me, it doesn’t fit into my definition of romance which requires a happy ending.

Selena dies in this one.  The story is piercingly beautiful.  I cried through half of it.  I admit that I knew the ending of this one before I began so I knew that there was no miracle ending coming to Trez and Selena.

I thought the relationship between Trez and Selena was heartrendingly beautiful.  The two truly did seem to experience a whole breadth of a relationship in a short time.  Because of the power and intensity of their relationship, I thought the rest of the book faded in the background a bit.  There was no wasted space and time for these two.  Every moment was vital precisely because I knew that they only had this moment..this one time.  There would never be another date, another kiss, another fight.

All the extraneous things that often are the focus in romance books were less important.  For Trez, even the overhanging threat from his people is less important than he could have ever expected.  The impending loss of Selena so overwhelms his other fears and concerns that he won’t even spare time to think on them.

The interwoven stories work especially well in this book because they provide a breather from the unrelenting intensity of Trez and Selena’s story.  The other stories don’t feel as important (there is also a significant relationship between iAm and the female he finds) but they clear the palate before plunging back into the main story of the book.

I loved everything about this book but the ending.  While the ending works and perhaps is necessary for such an honest book, I couldn’t help wanting a different outcome.  I think that might be its point though.

This book is controversial.  Those coming to these books wanting a HEA might be disappointed and angry.  I’m glad I knew the ending so that I could emotionally prepare myself.  This might be the best written and constructed book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but this is not a story I’d like to revisit often.  Too real, too sad, too painful.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The secondary stories were the introduction of Paradise (who is the subject of the first book in the Black Dagger Legacy series), Xcor and Layla, Assail’s continued drug trade, and there is a new story starting with Rhage and Mary.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE SHADOWS is book 13 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  This book is better as part of the series but actually you can get the entire story in this book which is unusual for recent books in this series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.


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