Book Review: J.R. Ward’s The King

Posted May 7, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: J.R. Ward’s The King

The King


J.R. Ward

paranormal romance that was published by New American Library (NAL) on April 1, 2014 and has 573 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Dark Lover, Lover Eternal, Lover Awakened, Covet, Crave, Lover Revealed, Lover Unbound, Lover Enshrined, Lover Avenged, Lover Mine, Lover Unleashed, Envy, An Irresistible Bachelor, His Comfort and Joy, Lover Reborn, Rapture, Lover at Last, Possession, The Shadows, The Bourbon Kings, Blood Kiss, The Beast, Blood Vow, The Chosen

Twelfth in the Black Dagger Brotherhood paranormal romance series about trash-talkin’ vampires struggling to save their race from the lesser and power-hungry vampires. Based in Caldwell, New York. The couple focus is back on a baby-hungry Beth and a stubborn vampire king.

In 2014, The King was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Romance.

My Take

This is a pivotal story with major changes coming up for Beth and Wrath, Trez and iAm, how the vampires are governed, and a switch in focus from the glymera to the people. Less major — I really wouldn’t want to call these minor — changes are popping for Selena and Sola. An intriguing twist on what I was expecting to happen.

You MUST read the prologue. It provides back history about the current Wrath’s father and his mother. And while it’s incredibly romantic, it’s also nasty. Just plain nasty. I kept wishing that his parents would appear to him and tell him the truth about their reign because Wrath does not want to be king. He’s been avoiding it for years, and I want him to go for it! To simply dump the position and leave these idiots to deal with the cesspit of their own making. Why should Wrath and Beth have to put up with it?

I do enjoy this series. It’s about love, honor, and loyalty, and the last two are not always positive. It’s definitely an intriguing world Ward has created with a few of the expected traits of vampires but many more that are unique to Ward’s species. The characters experience the same relationship problems, in general, as humans do, they’re simply larger-than-life with lots of trash-talkin’, backchat that cracks me up. The boys, the Brotherhood, are individuals with their own issues and yet they’re one for each other. If you met any one of them in a dark alley, you’d run and yet they are the gentlest males. It’s a lovely contrast, all alpha male with that nurturing, loving aspect.

It’s all set in Caldwell, and I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever “visit” the Old Country, if vampires live in places other than upper New York state. Does Wrath rule them ALL or only the ones in the United States, North America? Who rules in Europe?

Oh, boy, Wrath has put his foot in it big time! He’s confronted Beth about her wanting a baby…and it’s not pretty. What’s worse is what the Council is doing to them at least until Beth comes up with a clever scheme that ends up in an Elvis wedding.

Trez is having a hard time of it as well, coming to terms with his past behavior. Ah yes, the love of a good woman trope rears its guilt-inducing head. We also learn the details of what Ward has been hinting at for awhile, and jesus, I repeat, parents should be licensed! Wait’ll you read what his solution is, LOL. It’s so perfect! I’d say the way Saxton’s father treated him is pretty equal in disgustingly awful.

It’s under Wrath’s father’s reign that the focus on alliances changes from the glymera to the Brotherhood. With Wrath, the focus changes again with the real caring focused where it should have been from the beginning.

Then there’s Sola’s ordeal and its ending. It’ll make you cry and laugh when you see how attached Ehric and Evale become to grandma’s cooking, lol.

The Story

The unrest and rumors of the past year has led to the conspiracy heating up and threats applied to the reluctant. The glymera are angry and easily stoked when their pride is hurt and fear is threatened.

It’s almost worse in the house as Beth is suffering from a need for her own baby.

For Assail, it is worse, for someone has kidnapped Sola and he must find her.

For Trez, it’s much worse as the queen is no longer patiently waiting for him to return to the s’Hisbe and take up his position as stud. Instead iAm comes up with a deal that may keep them both safe.

The Characters

Wrath is the reluctant and blind king with a supportive shellan, Beth Marklon, half-human, half-vampire female. George is Wrath’s service dog. Layla, the fallen Chosen, is still pregnant and craving vanilla ice cream. Fritz, a doggen, is the butler in charge of the household. John Mathew is mute and mated to Xhex, a symphath assassin; he’s also Beth’s brother. Saxton is gay and a lawyer working for the king. Payne is Vishous’ sister and mated to Manny. Wrath really likes that she’ll spar with him. Doc Jane is a ghost and she’s mated to Vishous. Boo, a.k.a., Goddamned Cat, is Beth’s cat, and he’s taken a liking to iAm, lol. Blay and Qhuinn are together now. Zsadist is mated to Bella and they have a little girl, Nalla. Lassiter is a fallen Angel with a mission. Butch O’Neal is mated to Marissa. Rhage, a.k.a., Hollywood, turns into a dragon, and is mated to Mary. Tohrment, a.k.a., “Tohr“, will never be over Wellsie’s death, but he is happy again with Autumn. Phury is the Primale of the Chosen and Cormia is his first mate. Ehlena is mated to Rehvenge; she’s also a nurse.

iAm and Trez are Shadows and on the run from their people, the s’Hisbe. Selena is one of the Chosen and too interested in helping Trez (they bond). Unfortunately, she has a nasty deadline about which Ward teases us. Did we know anything about this before? s’Ex is the Shadow queen’s enforcer who will deliver an ultimatum to the brothers. AnsLai is either the queen or her high priest.

Assail is glymera and a drug dealer. He’ll sell to anyone. His cousins, Ehric and Evale, are his assistants. Marisol “Sola” Morte is a burglar, a thief. She lives with her grandmother. Ricardo Benloise has an art gallery and deals drugs. He’s hired Sola in the past, and now he’s ticked. Eduardo is his brother. Two Tone and Phil are two of his boys.

It’s a betrayal of his father’s choices, and Abalone, son of Abalone, is weak enough to be blackmailed into consenting. Icahn, a Council representative, is a leading traitor among the glymera along with Tyhm, a lawyer and Saxton’s father; Havers is the race’s physician and Marissa’s jerk of a brother; and, Rehvengehalf-symphath and half-vampire, is the leahdyre of the Council with his own surprise;

The Band of Bastards
The illiterate Xcor leads the Band of Bastards, a group of vampires who want to overthrow Wrath; Xcor is fascinated by Layla, the Chosen pregnant by Qhuinn. Throe is his very unhappy second-in-command.

Elph is the foreman doing work at Wrath’s home. Dr. Sam is the human ob-gyn; Julie is the nurse.

The previous ruler and his people
Wrath (Senior) makes waves when he chooses his shellan, Anha. Together they have Wrath (Junior). The Brotherhood of his day includes Tohrture and Ahgony. Enoch is the king’s chief adviser and traitor.

Hellren is the male half while a shellan is the female half of a couple. Glymera are the nobles of the vampire court with their strict rules and snobbish attitudes. The Virgin Scribe is similar to a god for the vampires. Doggen are lower-class vampires, the servants to the glymera. Leelan is an endearment.

Lessers are the enemy of the vampires.

The Cover and Title

Damn, the cover is intimidating with its red, black, and a very grayed-down peach colors. And that has got to be one humongous chair since Wrath looks tiny in it. The upholstery on the chair and the very textured background are red while Wrath is those grayed-down peaches. I do wonder where all that long black hair has gone to, though. The black chair is very heavily carved with red accents.

The title is The King, who it is, who it will be.