Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #15
Published by Ballantine Books on April 4th 2017
“And herein was the conundrum, Xcor thought behind his closed lids. The only possible way out of this deadly scenario was to reveal the love he’d found for a female that was not his, never had been, and was not e’er going to be. But he would not sacrifice the Chosen Layla for anyone or anything. Not even to save himself.”
FINAL DECISION: Layla and Xcor’s romance brings to light a lot of discord and fractures in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world. Things are changing and this book demonstrates and brings to light those changes along with a surprisingly sweet romance. Loved it.
THE STORY: Xcor is the enemy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood having attempted to assassinate the King. Captured by the BDB, Xcor is only awaiting death. He is a vampire who has lived a cruelty and harshness and the first softness he has found are his feelings for Layla. The Chosen Layla is the mother of twins and has been meeting Xcor secretly because he fascinates her. The only way to stop Xcor’s death sentence is the reveal information she has about him which would threaten her position with her “family” and perhaps her own relationship with her children.
OPINION: I loved this book. First, I will confess that I’ve always liked the Xcor and Layla pairing because it really seems like a beauty and the beast scenario (my favorite trope). I thought they had a difficult journey to find their happiness and it did not always seem like it would be possible. The story of Xcor and Layla also gave characters that otherwise seemed pretty one-dimensional some needed depth.
Layla has always been in a difficult position as to Xcor. He is the enemy of everything she loves — and yet she has not been able to resist him. This book ups the ante and places her own relationship with her children at risk. I saw in this book her strength in a way that she hasn’t revealed herself before. The heroines in this series have often had to risk things and people that are important to them — the only difference here is that the very characters we have come to know and love are in opposition to the romance.
One thing I really enjoyed is that many of the characters recognize that love is not always controllable and cut Layla some slack. I thought the majority of the characters reacted in ways that I expected them to — with anger and concern and distrust, but that struggled with their own care for Layla.
Xcor has been changing for a long time in this series. The long term nature of his story has made his transformation feel natural and real. I wasn’t surprised by his actions here because it has become evident over time that he will do anything for Layla — even become a better person.
But this book is about more than Xcor and Layla. If it seemed like all the characters were settling into a normalized world — this book rips all that apart. There are plenty of fractures and changes that this book reveals or causes. Things are a changin’ in Caldwell and it’s about time.
There are secondary and related stories or glimpses about Qhuinn and Blay, V and Jane, Trez (who has a shock coming after the death of Serena), Throe, Tohr, Assail, and Lassiter. There are plenty of appearances by other BDB characters and plenty of new stories (including drama and angst) are apparently brewing.
WORTH MENTIONING: I actively disliked Qhuinn in this book. His behavior was completely unacceptable and I don’t know that he redeemed himself at all in the end.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE CHOSEN is the fifteenth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This book should be read as part of the series to truly understand the long simmering romance and the dynamics of all the relationships here.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.