The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #13). ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Shadows by J.R. Ward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on… except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around… but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice… 

BLURB: The Shadows

The Brotherhood and the Shadows.

Truly a great book. The main romance in this book is that of Trez and the chosen Selena. Though one thing that I really like about these BDB books is that each of them don’t just focus on the main romance storyline, they have other storylines being set up, ongoing storylines that go from book to book, and so much going on in every single book.

It is a genius way too keep people interested and wanting to read more. Otherwise 20+ books (Black Dagger Brotherhood and Black Dagger Legacy), that are 500-600 pages would get too be way too much after a while. I took about a 5 month break after 11 books and even now that I am back to them, I am thinking two at a time is plenty before I read something else for a few weeks or so. However, I know that I will go back to them for certain because I just have to know what happens in some of these ongoing storylines and if certain people will end up together.

The next book is The Beast and this book is setting that one up, because Rhage and Mary play a big role in this book. Rhage is having some odd attacks that may or may not be related to stress and anxiety. I love the story of Rhage and Mary because he is as hot as a blonde God, his nickname is Hollywood because of his movie star good looks, but he fell in love with an average looking woman. It is usually the other way around, where average looking guys end up with fabulous looking women (though they usually are average looking wealthy guys) so not the same thing at all. It is just nice to see.

An ongoing storyline in this book is the continuing saga of Assail, the drug dealer. I had high hopes for him and Sola in the last book, but she wanted to get away from a dangerous and illegal lifestyle, and as much as Assail loves her, it doesn’t seem to be enough to give up his drug dealing. And what is it sometimes with these rich men in books? How come being rich is never enough? They have to keep making more money even though we know they could never spend it all. Once you have millions or billions, the money just sits there making more by itself from investments and interest I would think.

Assail is getting in trouble with the Brotherhood in this book because they found out he is selling to the enemy. The lessers are using the money they make on the drugs they get from Assail, to buy automatic weapons for their war against the vampires. I don’t really get it since in the drug trade, I’m sure there are plenty of buyers that aren’t people who want to kill your race. It’s like selling bombs to terrorists, but people do it. I am hoping Assail sees the light and stops, because I still want him to end up with Sola. I loved the interaction between her Grams and Assail, Avale and Ehric.

The story of Xcor and Layla continues in this book also. Xcor and Layla meet often and he has blackmailed her into agreeing to be with him. Though Xcor won’t take her while she is pregnant since he is not gentle and doesn’t want to hurt the baby. Layla is riddled with guilt about meeting with him. Though she tells herself she is doing it for the King, the Brotherhood and the cause, we as readers know that she really wants him but doesn’t want to want him.

Layla also has a storyline with Qhuinn and Blaylock since Quinn is the father of her baby. That gets interesting as well, but I’m not going to give anything away as to why. I try to stick to only background information in my reviews so the reader and I (as I look back on my own reviews), can see what the book is about without giving away what actually happens.

Another storyline is the ongoing struggle between Quinn and his brother, Luchas. After the massacre of many of the Glymera, including Qhuinn’s parents, Luchas was taken by Lessers and shoved in a drum with the black sludge from the Omega, having had his bones all broken. Then the Lessers forgot about him with all the changes of the forelessers. He Brotherhood found him at some point and he has been in the clinic at the mansion since Doctors Jane and Manny have tried to fix him in a very lengthy and painful process. Luchas feels guilt for how he treated Qhuinn and wants to die.

I personally think Luchas wants to die for two reasons aside from his guilt. The first is because he is a wimp and doesn’t want to go through more pain (though his pain is terrible, I think any of the Brotherhood would go through it). Second because if he doesn’t completely heal he will think of himself as less, like he always thought of his brother because Qhuinn had two different colored eyes.

The main story centers around Trez and Selena. Trez is one of the Shadows. They are an offshoot of the vampires that have a lot of the same Vampire traits like strength, speed, ability to dematerialize etc. However, they are dark skinned, they can bend shadows to conceal themselves, they can go out in daylight, they eat their prey after a fight (cannibalistic), and the Brotherhood is happy to have them on their side, so they must be tougher than the vampires as well.

Trez and iAm come from the s’Hsibe which is a colony of their people near the colony of Sympath’s in the North, near the Canadian border. Nobody leaves the s’Hsibe, but Trez escaped and iAm followed years ago after their parents sold Trez to the Queen to be the mate of her daughter who will one day be queen. The reason the s’Hsibe didn’t just accept the loss and get another guy forth Princess is because they have strange customs regarding things written in the stars and apparently their astrologists looked at the stars and decided that Trez was the anointed one, so the s’Hsibe are coming for Trez soon.

The S’Hsibe have other customs like the fact that Trez would be basically owned by the princess and would be basically a slave and not able to leave his gilded cage. Also they have strict mating customs, like having to be clean and they bathe before and after the act. If they knew about all of the women Trez had been with, they will either kill him or put him through some sort of cleansing that may or may not kill him.

Trez has fallen for Selena and in this book he finds out her secret and she finds out his. It is a very emotional book, but their romance is sweet in a way that is different than most. Everyone in the Brotherhood does whatever they can for them, including longtime friend Rehvenge and iAm.

There is a storyline about iAm in this book also, which I am glad about since in the past we have seen him always doing things for his brother, pretty much devoting his life to save Trez, not only from the s’Hsibe but from Trez himself and his self destructive behaviors. It was nice to find out more about iAm as a person rather than just an extension of Trez.

There is also a storyline related to the s’Hsibe Queen’s executioner. His name is s’Ex. He is built like a brick building with abs, and though he understands the two brothers, he is sworn to his duty, so he tells them he will kill in order to get Trez back when it comes time. Though he does take some bribes in order to help them stall for time. He is a very interesting character in his own right. He is covered from neck to feet in the white tattoos of their people, made from poison ink. Most males have a small one with their family insignia on themselves and get extremely sick after having it. Trez and iAm can’t imagine how strong he must be to be covered in them. I hope he gets a mating story at some point.

The ending of the book was awesome. I think this was one of the best so far. My other two favorites so far are Lover Awakend, the story of Zsadist and Bella and Lover at Last, the story of Qhuinn and Blaylock. I liked Zsadist’s story because he is so fearsome and angry but he protects Bella so awesomely, and Lover at last because it was the single hottest male/male love story I have ever read and I had been wanting Qhuinn and Blay to fix things between them for a long time.

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