Reading Wrap Up / The Beast Discussion

booksI was going to do a reading wrap up post, but then I thought I should probably do a post where we could all discuss The Beast by J.R. Ward. Then in a bold move, I figured I would just combine the two. Problem solved.

So, I finished up a re-read of Anne Bishop‘s Marked in Flesh. I really liked it, but I can honestly say that there were a few parts where I started to get mixed up a bit (mostly with locational things, like who was in which town). Other than that, it was a great story with a lot going on. It did seem like the end of a story-arc, but it would be so, so easy to see the series continue on indefinitely. And I am still the first in line for a Vlad-centric book.

And then it was on to Private Eye from Alyssa Day, which is the second book in her Tiger’s Eye Mystery series. I loved me some Jack in the Warriors of Poseidon series, and I was more than a little disappointed when his book (Shifter in Atlantis) was scrapped. I figured he got a bit of a raw deal, actually. But even though I liked Jack and wanted him to have his own story, I almost didn’t bother with this little e-format series. So glad I did, though. Both of the books so far have been a lot of fun – love the quirky small town setting, the mystery, and while I knew I liked Jack I also enjoy the other star of the show, Tess. Great series so far, with the third book supposedly heading our way this summer. I would definitely recommend giving this quick, fun series a try.

Now, on to The Beast. I am going to go spoiler free here, but feel free to post spoilers in the comments section, should you so choose. Anyhow. I have enjoyed all of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, I have to admit upfront, but at some point the way I read them changed. I had to almost steel myself to read one, and sometimes it would take me months to finally pick one up off of my TBR pile since I had to be in the right mood. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, it was just that they became so…dense, maybe? There were so many plotlines and storyarcs and side characters that it just got overwhelming. I like some depth to a book, don’t get me wrong, but when you have to start writing down what is going on so you don’t lose track, then things are complicated. And most of the time, the central couple in the book played such a small role you didn’t really know whose story was being told. Not ideal, either.

Even with the complicated and involved stories, though, I stayed a big fan of the world. That never changed, no matter how much work I had to put in to get through the book. But I wasn’t a huge fan when it was announced that most of the Brothers would get a second book – not at all. I figure they got their turn, and it was time for others to get their stories told. And a second book usually means drama, and I am a firm believer in a happily ever after for my couples, not an angsty problem that threatens to tear a them apart. But so far, the sequels have been a great idea. The King was good…but The Beast was really, really good.

For me, anyways, The Beast felt more old-school BDB. There is still a lot going on, but this time around I never lost focus that it was a Rhage and Mary book. Rhage has always been a favorite of mine, and in The Beast I was reminded of why. He comes off as almost dorky, which is great, and his babbling made me laugh more than once. He is a total scene-stealer. Assail plays a good sized role, and I liked all of his page time, too. I can see a redo for V in the near future, since he is having a bit of a hard time on a few different fronts. That will be interesting, to say the least.

My only gripe is Layla. I. Don’t. Like. Her. AT ALL. I can’t even quite tell you why she irritates me, but every time she is on the page I find myself gritting my teeth. Xcor? I’m in. Xcor and Layla? Crap, not at all. Unfortunately for me, she is pretty much irredeemable at this point since my loathing runs deep, so it will be interesting to see how I handle reading her story, which is up next. So, all in all, I really liked The Beast – I just wish the Beast would’ve taken Layla out. Permanently. That isn’t too much to ask, right?

What was your take on The Beast? Are you liking the “second book” idea, or do you wish that J.R. was moving on to new characters (like Assail. And Murdher)? What else did you check out this week?


17 thoughts on “Reading Wrap Up / The Beast Discussion

  1. thickchicks says:

    OMG. I thought it was just me that hated Layla. She irks me soooooo much. I really enjoyed this book. I admit to not liking very any books since she did the original first four. I did like John Matthew’s book but the rest…..meh. I too felt this was a flash back to old school BDB and I’m looking forward to the rest of their secondary stories, especially my favorite. Zadist!

    P.S. You might consider getting the audiobook for Layla and Xcor because Jim Fragione rocks this series.

  2. bfmason50 says:

    Maybe coming from a guy’s perspective Layla does not really bother me. I find her wallowing in self pity or her poor little pregnant women routine is getting really old. Plus her going to the land of the scribe virgin was a huge STUPID where it almost cost her the twins. I am interested to see how Lassiter handles being in place of the Scribe Virgin. The character that actually annoys me the most is V. I like his mate Jane but he seems to be not as connected to his mate as the other brothers. I also was not a huge fan of Assail for he felt his stupid drug business was more important than the women he wanted Marisol. Part of this I would admit comes from my huge hatred for drugs.

    As for Marked in Flesh I did not really have a huge problem with remembering what characters are in what area. I would just really love to know the idea where these communities are in reference to our world of Canada and United States. Is Lake Side like in the area of Chicago, or Cleveland? Toland is that like New York or Montreal? Are the Adirondack wolves in the actual Adirondack mountains of New York area? I both read and listened to this book the problem I had at times was figuring out when they actually said something in discussion outloud, thoughts, or in Terra Indigine mind speaking.

    By the way I would really recommend try listening to a audio book. Renee Rodman(SP?) who does Ilona Andrews Kate Daniel’s series is AWESOME!!! I also enjoy the voice of the Other Series by Anne Bishop. Jim Fragione actually does a good job even though I rather listen to the voice of a female then a male.

    • kaleigha says:

      V is such a tricky dude that I don’t always know how to take him. He can be so completely cold and detached, but then surprise you with a small kindness. I do feel like you do about his connection to Jane, though – it almost seems clinical sometimes. God, Lassiter will be intense, won’t he? Not sorry to see the SV go, but Lassiter? Really? I still wonder if that was a joke Ward was playing when she told everyone that.

  3. Gabrielle says:

    I like the fact that the ‘old’ charcters get another book, although I wish she would move along Murdhers plot because he came into it before Xcor and Assail and their stories have progressed way further. I like the fact that the BDB series represent actual relationships. They’re not a case of getting married solves all their problems – that idea doesn’t reflect real life. I also like the fact that there is a series does’nt have every character couple having/wanting a baby, because not every person wants babies and just because they have one, doesn’t mean that all their social issues and anxieties are solved. For example Zadist, his short story was about him conecting with his new born baby. For me that was story that needed to be told and an issue that he would have. He spent years been abused and tortured and just beause Bella comes along and he falls in love does’nt mean he’s magically going to get over that. The theme of love heals all is prominate in most of these types of novels and it annoys me because the characters then aren’t 3D, or the situation isn’t believable and their struggle could’t have been as awful as we’ve just read if it takes a few words and some sex to heal. It can to an extent (love not sex:), but I think it sends the wrong message to the reader. Another person isn’t in charge of your happiness, you/they are. These characters (who we’ve loyally followed for years) are strong enough to overcome their own problems and someone to go through it with is a bonus. But they can’t fully heal the character just by being there are giving them sex – no attr how great – whenever they want it.
    Wow, this just got deep. I could keep going on, but I’ll stop 🙂

    • kaleigha says:

      It is true, though. Real life problems work well for another story, as long as they don’t devolve into the trumped up situations to cause drama, I am happy. Like one of the characters keeping a secret that threatens to tear them apart for 400 pages, and then gets resolved in 20. That makes me nuts.

  4. Brenda says:

    Haven’t read The Beast yet – it’s in queue. I thought I’d hate the 2nd book thing also but Ward’s done well with it – I have to hope she’ll bring Layla around cause she gets on my freaking nerves too.
    I’m done with the Anne Bishops series – the last one read like such a “filler” book to me. It could’ve been edited by 50% and I think it would’ve been more my pace. Vlad does have appeal though.
    What have I read the last few days? I read KMM’s FeverBorn (the inner dialogue drove me a little batty – but I’m still in just cause I’ve already put so much time in already). Then I totally switched gears to read The Magic Strings of Frank Presto (which I loved).

  5. pals20 says:

    The Beast was definitely old-school BDB, the kind that really pulled me onto paranormals in the first place. I freakin adored how the dragon behaved with Bitsy. Like a huge overgrown puppy.. It was also pretty obvious to me that Vishous is the next book. The only books getting a 2nd round are the ones which had some open-ended areas i.e. democracy and baby for Wrath n Beth, adoption for Rhage n Mary and lack of baby interest for Vishous and Doc Jane. are you seeing the trend.. 😉 Don’t get me wrong, I will drop everything to read another Zsadist book 🙂 but I just don’t see any gaps left in Zsadist first story; his book had the perfect ending with marriage, baby etc. (On a sidenote, I hope the lack of baby interest doesn’t change for Vishous and Doc Jane in their book 2. It would be disappointing if they both have a turn around and decide they want to have a baby. I just don’t see why all happy couples need to become pro-procreation. This, I think, is the last “romantic happy ending” barrier to fall.) As for Layla, she is just meh for me. I would say though that if you think about it from a bonding mate point-of-view, her behaviour makes sense. I think we are all so bonded with the brothers that we don’t appreciate anyone going off the rails – especially a Chosen… *wink* I was also very happily surprised about the turn in Assail’s character, so glad that someone is seeing through Throe.

    Marked in Flesh was a hit for me but you are absolutely right in that the three towns and the people got *very* confusing. I actually made a cheatsheet of the towns and its people that I could quickly refer to. Once I understood that it was a three-way story, I was able to adjust more quickly to the jumps.

    I am waiting to start with Private Eye; haven’t had the time till now.Hope it’s as fun as the first book was.

    • kaleigha says:

      I figure Butch could get another book, too, what with his new family possibly coming to light, and however that links to his father. And Assail is on the right track. I liked him before, but he (and the cousins) have definite potential.

      Private Eye was fun. And there seems to be a bit of progress on the whole Jack and Tess thing, too…

  6. Leslie says:

    Trez must get a happy ending! I’m also interested in Butch and all of his new siblings. I actually considered that his new sister (was it Jo?) could be a love interest for Trez.

    Also regarding second books, Tohrment has several unresolved issues.

    I really liked Assail and Marisol. However, I realized in The Beast that I didn’t miss her all that much and would be okay with Assail finding love elsewhere. Ward has said she will be back and I am sure I will enjoy her again.

    I do not dislike Layla but also don’t care about her that much. I do like Xcor. I know that the brothers do not like Xcor, for good reason, but I am really bothered by how they always comment on his ugliness.

    • kaleigha says:

      I remember reading in the meet and greet summary that Selena is reincarnated, so hopefully Trez will get his happy there – but who knows how long that would be. I do wonder how Jo is going to fit in, though, since she has become jr vampire hunter and all. And poor Tohr is still a mess in so many ways, so I think a second book would be great for him, for sure. I mean, we didn’t even get a glimpse of Autumn in The Beast, which I found was weird. Since when do the mates randomly just take off on their own for any length of time?

      Now that you mention it, I really didn’t miss Marisol, either. I think I liked Assail and the twins enough that I didn’t even feel her absence. I do wonder what will become of Xcor, though…things are not looking good at this point, but with Throe being a bigger threat, who knows?

  7. carol scanu says:

    I believe Layla should be viewed in context. Substantially she grew up in seclusion, a virtual prisoner being trained to service the needs of big, scary warriors. When all the others bailed, she stuck around where she was needed. Then she finds her mate and it is an enemy of the Brothers, of her people plus she’s pregnant… going to be a single mother… and she’s turning into a stone statue. She isn’t Beth or Jane or Payne but she isn’t that horrible.
    I am currently re-reading the Anita Blake series for the third time! kaleigha, you really should try at least the first books. The series started in 1993 and is undoubtedly one of the forerunners of the tough, badass heroines. There isn’t any sex until the sixth book. It is only at the eigth that the gloves start coming off sexually. Beyond this…. there is trama, magic, mystery, drama.

  8. tomehuntress says:

    I’ve stopped reading the BDB series in book 11. Didn’t like it. And I can’t make myself pick up the next one. Rhage story was one of my faves along with Vishous, John, Rehvenge and Tohrment. But the one I really
    Love is Zsadist story.

    • kaleigha says:

      All of those were great ones…I was skimming over Phury’s book the other day, and he sort of got short-changed in the story department, now that I look back on it. I wouldn’t mind a re-do, or a re-visit, for him.

  9. Stacey says:

    I thought I was the only that strongly dislikes Layla. I’ve tried to like her, I really have. However, that character is so hypocritical and traitorous.

    How can she claim to be a loyal member of the household and constantly help the man that claimed to be their leader?

    How can she claim Beth as a friend and find excuses to be around the man that tried to take her hellren?

    How can you claim “anything” for the young and then constantly put them in danger?

    I kept waiting for her to lose those twins because of her idiocy.

    Some would say if you dislike Layla, you must dislike Xcor. He unlike Layla, he’s never claimed to be something that he was not.

    • kaleigha says:

      Ugh…Layla. Passive/aggressive, ditzy, and holier than thou. There have been a couple of other times I have disliked a female character like that before…Gabrielle from The Carpathian series, and Kelly from Jean Johnson’s Sons of Destiny series. I didn’t read Gabrielle’s book, and I kept reading the Sons of Destiny series hoping someone would kill Kelly. No luck there, but she did make herself queen. Oh, and there were a couple of chicks in Christine Warren’s later Others books that totally turned me off of the series. Wanted them offed, too. Xcor, though? Him I like. He deserves better.

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