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.The Thief by J.R. Ward
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Published by Ballantine Books on April 10, 2018
Source: the library
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Also by this author: Possession, The Shadows, The Bourbon Kings, Blood Kiss, The Beast, Blood Vow, The Chosen, Blood Fury, “Dearest Ivie”, "The Rehearsal Dinner", "The Reception", Consumed, The Savior, Blood Truth, Where Winter Finds You, The Sinner, J.R. Ward
Sixteenth in the The Black Dagger Brotherhood paranormal romance series based in Caldwell, New York, and revolving around the vampires of the King’s Guard and their race. The focus is on two couples: Vishous and Doc Jane and Sola Morte and Assail. I think it’s been a year since The King, 12, that Sola up and left Caldwell.
In spite of a lot happening in here, this was rather dull, partially because Ward had the Brothers mostly on the sidelines. That, and she went on and on and on. Oy.
There were two storylines in here with a sideline from Assail’s past. One story erupted with anger and jealousy as Vishous and Doc Jane’s issues blew up while the second has Sola tangoing hot and cold with Assail. The Brotherhood was definitely on the fringes in this. Yeah, they showed up here and there, so Ward could introduce the next big-bad raining down on the race, but not enough presence to make me happy.
It’s pretty basic theme-wise with a lack of communication leading to abandonment issues, the fear of losing loved ones, and that fear of being disappointed. And the power of love.
Ward did a nice job of demonstrating the separation dividing Doc Jane and V, making it quite clear how such a divide can occur in any relationship by using third person omniscient point-of-view, which gives us entrée into everyone’s heads, so we “hear” their thoughts and feelings. Sigh, it was a bumpy ride with metaphysical aspects, yet it was applicable to any couple as well. Y’know, not vampire-specific *grin* As for Assail, his initial enthusiasm about life is fading, as he wonders what will keep him vital and alive.
I do enjoy the popular culture that Ward brings in — her sense of humor ROFL — as well as her portrayal of the Brothers, that Rhage and his lollipops, lol. Her description of Assail’s withdrawal were vivid. As for her action scenes, more ROFL:
”As the Brotherhood and the Bastards went Wimbledon on the situation, all heads swinging back to Lassiter as if they were waiting for a line-drive response to that lob…”
That Vitoria is a nasty piece of work. I totally sympathize with her frustration with her culture’s overbearing machismo, but she’s letting all her anger out in all the wrong ways. Ward totally makes fun of her:
”The past couple of days, however, had been a trial. She had to unpack her own clothing…there had been no one to draw her bath…”
It’s pretty amazing what being near death can do to your levels of appreciation. Even better is the appreciation Jane and V come to share. The “negatives” that they adore about each other. And yeah, Manny was right about Jane needing that intervention, especially with the fears that Jane has.
We get some back history on Sola’s childhood. Geez. I’ll say it again…parents should be licensed before they can have children.
Ward is setting us up for future stories, what with Murhder’s inheritance, the changes coming to Jo Early, Throe with his shadows, and the scariness of that Book!
There’s nothing more Doc Jane can do for Assail. It’s time. And Ehric and Evale have their own plans for his demise.
Throe also has plans, plans to summon a new army engineered by a force more dangerous and evil than the Omega, and the Brotherhood’s fight against their enemies has escalated, forcing the Brothers to face tests at home and on the battlefield.
Sola Morte, properly known as Marisol Maria Rafaela Carvalho, is/was a thief wanted by both good and bad (Lover at Last, 11; The King) — most particularly the Benloises. Mrs Carvalho is her beloved grandmother, her vovó, who loves to cook and take care of people.
Assail had been a bad man, dealing drugs and weaponry. It became even worse when he became overaddicted to that cocaine (Lover at Last; The King; The Shadows, 13; The Beast, 14). Ehric and Evale are twins and Assail’s quiet and capable cousins. Markcus is the blood slave they freed in The Beast.
Vitoria Benloise is the sister based in Colombia. Ricardo and Eduardo Benloise are her brothers and used Benloise Art Gallery as cover for their drug-running and black market interests (The King). Margot (Forest) Fortescue has been running the gallery while the Benloises have been gone. Jonathan may have been Margot’s boyfriend. That woman is not right. Michael Streeter, Two-Tone, and Jimmy are security guards at the gallery; Jimmy has a brother on the Caldwell PD.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is…
…a unit of HUGE, as in tall and very well muscled men, er, vampires who prefer black leather and an armory’s worth of weapons stashed all over their bodies. Wrath is the Blind King mated to Beth (Dark Lover, 1; The King) who has a black cat (whom I assume is not named Beth, but Boo). George is Wrath’s seeing eye dog. Lassiter is a fallen angel who is a rolling-the-eyes pain in everyone’s tush.
The focus is on their trauma surgeon, Doc Jane, a woman who is actually a ghost but can solidify into a body (thanks to the Scribe Virgin). She’s mated to Vishous, a.k.a., “V”, who is the Brothers’ techno genius, the son of the Scribe Virgin, and way deep into bondage and discipline (Lover Unbound, 5). (Hannah had been the young sister of Jane’s who had died.) Payne is V’s sister mated to Manny (Lover Unleashed, 9). V and Doc Jane live with Butch O’Neal, a former police detective, and Marissa Havers (Lover Revealed, 4) in the Pit, a guesthouse that is part of the Brotherhood estate.
Dr Manny Manello is human, alive, and Doc Jane’s partner in the clinic. Ehlena is the nurse; she’s mated to Rehvenge (Lover Avenged, 7). Rhage, a.k.a., Hollywood, turns into a dragon when he gets mad (Lover Eternal, 2). He also has a love for tootsie pops, and he and his shellan, Mary, have adopted Bitty (The Beast, 14). Ruhn is Bitty’s uncle and mated to Saxton, Wrath’s solicitor (Blood Fury, 15.5). John Matthew is a new Brother who happens to be mute and had been the son of Darius. He’s mated to Xhex (Lover Mine, 8). Qhuinn is another new Brother; he’s mated to yet another newbie, Blaylock (Lover at Last, 11). Some of the other Brothers mentioned include Zsadist “Z” and Phury and Cormia (Lover Enshrined, 6) who live with other Chosen at Rehvenge’s Great Camp up in the Adirondacks on Lake George. The house sounds gorgeous inside!
Fritz is their butler extraordinaire who sees to running the households. There are of course other doggen, servants. Dr Havers is the primary physician for the race; he’s also an arrogant SOB and Marissa’s brother. Ghisele is a Chosen. Aarone (Whinnig??), son of Stanalas, was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’d been Uncle Groshe’s heir; Naasha, Throe’s meal ticket (The Beast; The Chosen, 15), had been Groshe’s second shellan. The crazy Murhder is the next heir and Xhex’s ex.
The Band of Bastards had been…
…the Brotherhood’s enemy, but they have now allied with them and are living at the BDB mansion. Xcor was/still is their leader, and he’s mated to Layla, a Chosen (The Chosen, 15). His men include Zypher.
Detective José de la Cruz is with Homicide and no fool.
Throe, the forsaken son of Throe had been Xcor’s second-in-command in the Band of Bastards, but went rogue. A very bad boy who feels oh-so entitled to Wrath’s throne. The Book is sentient.
A shellan is a wife; hellrens are husbands. Mahmen is mother. The glymera are the upper class. The Fade is their heaven; Dhunhd is their hell. The Scribe Virgin was a goddess who created the race; she was served by the Chosen think Vestal Virgins. She had lived in the Sanctuary which is now looked after by Amalya, the Directrix.
Jo Early (The Beast, 14) works for Bill’s newspaper, the Caldwell Courier Journal, as an online content editor and had had a total fascination for all things vampires. She has no idea that she’s half-vampire about to undergo the change. Lydia is Bill’s wife. Tony works next to Jo. Her roommates are stoners and include Dougie. Chance and Phillie Early had been her adoptive parents.
The Lessening Society has been the enemy of the Brotherhood and led by the Omega, an evil entity whom I think is the Scribe Virgin’s brother. Bishop Donnelly is the priest whom grandmother wants Assail to meet.
The Cover and Title
The cover is dark and dreary in its black, gray, and white, the rain pelting sideways against a briefly lit, ancient warehouse in the dark of night. Assail is in three-quarter profile, the right side of his face in shadow, stubble on his upper lip and jaw, his white shirt open to his breastbone, and wearing a black suit jacket. The author’s name and title are embossed with the first in a metallic red outlined in silver while the title is in the reverse; both are in the lower two-thirds of the cover. White is the choice for an info blurb, which is next to Ward’s initials, while the series information is at the bottom.
The title focuses on destiny and Sola, The Thief.