Series: Black Dagger Legacy #2
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Rating: 5 Stars
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The Black Dagger Brotherhood continues to train the best of the best to join them in the deadly battle against the Lessening Society. Among the new recruits, Axe proves to be a cunning and vicious fighter—and also a loner isolated because of personal tragedy. When an aristocratic female needs a bodyguard, Axe takes the job, though he’s unprepared for the animal attraction that flares between him and the one he is sworn to protect.
For Elise, who lost her first cousin to a grisly murder, Axe’s dangerous appeal is enticing—and possibly a distraction from her grief. But as they delve deeper into her cousin’s death, and their physical connection grows into so much more, Axe fears that the secrets he keeps and his tortured conscience will tear them apart.
Rhage, the Brother with the biggest heart, knows all about self-punishing, and he wants to help Axe reach his full potential. But when an unexpected arrival threatens Rhage and Mary’s new family, he finds himself back in the trenches again, fighting against a destiny that will destroy all he holds most dear.
As Axe’s past becomes known, and fate seems to be turning against Rhage, both males must reach deep—and pray that love, rather than anger, will be their lantern in the darkness.
Where to begin? At the beginning of course! J.R. Ward shoves us right up in to an underground sex club where anonymity is key, literally and figuratively. No lube or anything, just straight up high-how-are-ya 😉 I blushed several shades of red just in reading the first page!
Axe has a troubled past and, like many of the damaged warriors, soothes his demons with hardcore sexual deviance. He’s a commoner, poor and alone. No family, and no one to give a sh*t about him. Axe passed all obstacles to be admitted into a soldier training program run by the Black Dagger Brotherhood; to train warriors to help in their war against the Lessening Society (the bad guys). Axe has earned his place as a valued member, but he still can’t shake his feelings of worthlessness.
Elise is a female of the glymera—the “upper crust” of the vampire race, so to speak—and has been sneaking out in order to get her PhD. She wants more for herself than to be somebody’s mate. Elise has dreams to be a counselor and to help people but she’s trapped by the confines of her station. Women in the glymera are supposed to be sheltered and are not allowed the privileges like the males have. It doesn’t matter that it’s 2016, the males of the race STILL think women are property and not people.
Elise enlists the help of her cousin Peyton (a member of the soldier trainees) and Paradise (a female member of the soldier trainees) in order to get her father to see reason. He does eventually, but hires a bodyguard to make sure she’s safe…and to spy on her. And Axe just so happens to be the male for the job! Who wouldn’t want a dangerously sexy, tattooed male with piercing pale golden eyes “protecting” their body?
Wow, wow WOW! I absolutely LOVED this book! Elise is courageous, yet a bit pretentious. She doesn’t like being lied to, but she sneaks out to get her degree while lying to her father. She’s also a little judgmental and while she tries hard not to be, it still comes out in some ways and was ultimately her downfall in other ways. And I can’t go into details because I’ll spoil it and I’m trying really hard not to!
Axe is hot, sexy, strong, sexy and a bit touchy about the rich folks and their views towards the commoners. He definitely has reason to be that way, but it’s his Achilles heel and always the fuel for his constant fights with Peyton, a fellow trainee and a rich and favored male in the glymera. Axe and Elise pair very well together. Their chemistry was off the charts and their opposites attract vibe was perfectly executed. I loved them together and apart.
Rhage and Mary have a large secondary storyline in the book as well. It is the continuation of what happened in THE BEAST. Rhage and Mary are fostering a thirteen-year-old girl named Bitty and happier than they’ve ever been. But they can’t fully adopt Bitty until a six-month waiting period in case any family step up to claim her. Their worst fears are realized when someone does. You can only image the pain and suffering everyone goes through during this time. It was monumentally heartbreaking.
Lassiter is also in the book and is settling into his new job nicely. Still, no one knows who he actually is but J.R. Ward has mentioned it in her previous signings/Q&A’s. I love that he is still the same old wacky Lassiter but I love the subtly of his new position. I really loved him in this book. He’s the comic relief when you need it but he’s also the glimmer of hope when all seems lost. Brilliant!
We are also treated to scenes with Vishous, Zsadist, Bella with Nalla, and Marissa. A few other people are mentioned and others not at all. We may have to wait for THE CHOSEN to see them. And of course all the trainees, Paradise, Craeg, Peyton, Novo and Boone are present as well!
OH! And I cannot tell you how awesome this is!!! Towards the end of the book, I think someone’s HEA is introduced. I can’t name names or give anything away, I just know I girlie squealed when I read it and I cannot wait for that HEA!!!! And I say “think” because I’m not a 100% sure but I hope all will be revealed soon and maybe J.R. Ward will do a Q&A online or something for the book!
I loved the book and I’m so excited about the direction of the Legacy series. I love that it includes new characters as well as the original Brothers. It’s amazing and awesome and I love, love, LOVE it! I just wish I could get in there and live right alongside the characters.
BLOOD VOW can easily be read as a standalone but I would highly recommend the whole series with every book and novella because this world is so magical. You’re not going to want to read just one!
Advanced copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All conclusions reached are my own.