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The Chosen:
A novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
by J.R. Ward
Ballantine Books; 521 pp; $28
Published: April 2017

This is the seventeenth book in Ward’s very popular series of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

I will assume—you have read her novels before so this is wayyyy preaching to the choir here. IF this is really your first foray amongst the Black Dagger Brotherhood---it takes a bit before you can figure out who is related to whom, etc. She does include a bit of a glossary at the front.

I have only read one other of this series. And now I remember why. Ward’s vamps, for me, are a bit over-the-top even for a paranormal type that is already way beyond human.

I love the current crop of vampire novels by such authors as Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Maggie Shayne and Kerrelyn Sparks. They’re wonderful and entertaining. And these are just the first names that pop to mind: there are plenty of other authors writing about buff, alpha male vampires and the worlds they inhabit.

They’re very hot: sexy, strong, gorgeous, way cool dressers and masters of all kinds of different powers.

J.R. Ward’s vamps? They are ALPHA MALES! Am I shouting that loud enough? VERY ALPHA! Almost none of them wear anything but unrelieved black (frequently leather of course) unless intersecting with the human world demands a suit and tie and possible a white shirt (silk, needless to say). Don’t seem to need much in the way of blood though, except sort of ritually. There are lots of scenes of huge meals being made and consumed. But they still need to avoid sunlight.

These vamps are so musclebound and just damn…HUGE they make Dwayne Johnson look like a first grade weakling. They are almost always loaded for bear with lots of hidden daggers and other assorted weapons of mayhem.

Ward refers to the women of the species as… females. She has also come up with her own language and approach to names: Xcor, Qhuinn, Xhex, Tohr (short for Tohrment). Most of the women have normal enough names: Layla, Jane, Lyric, Beth, etc. The vampires have a societal hierarchy and in Ward’s universe, there is a King named Wrath. Oh, and a rather wackadoodle fallen angel named Lassiter.

What’s this particular novel about? Star-crossed lovers, secrets long buried in the past, lots of fighting between the Brotherhood and the Band of Bastards (a renegade splinter group) the lesser (soulless humans out to kill vampires) and slayers.

The main couple in the story, well actually, it’s a threesome: Qhuinn, his beloved bond mate Blay, and the mother of Qhuinn’s children, Layla. Lots and lots of angst amongst these three--which is really ramped up when Layla realizes, though the mom of adorable twins Lyric and Rhamp, she has found her true bond mate with Xcor—the outcast leader of the Bastards.

This, as you might imagine, creates a great deal of friction amongst the Brotherhood.

Ward writes fast and furious and there is a butt-load of the f bomb in all its many permutations. Lots of cussing, lots of current references and slang interspersed amongst the violence. This is quite an up-to-date universe.

If you like kick-ass vampires who will stomp you with their s**tkickers into the ground but get all dewy-eyed over their youngsters---this is your novel.

Did I mention: ALPHA MALES? ~~ Sue Martin

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