by J.R. Ward
Released: April 4th 2017
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #15
Published by Ballantine Books
Length: 17 hrs and 32 mins
“I think this is my least fave of the series.”
~ Under the Covers
WARNING: This review is packed full of spoilers. If you haven’t read THE CHOSEN and don’t want to be spoiled, skip it and come back to this later. You’ve been warned. If you’ve read it… we can’t wait to chat with you in the comments about how YOU feel.
What were your thoughts before reading THE CHOSEN?
Francesca: I was beyond excited because … it’s J.R. Ward. I wanted to see Xcor and Layla get their HEA but I was also looking forward to what would happen with the Band of Bastards and who else would be getting a side storyline hoping to see a glimpse of who the next book will be about.
Annie: I wasn’t really sure what my thoughts were because I try not to expect anything when it comes to a J.R. Ward book. She usually impresses me so I don’t worry too much. However, I was looking forward to see how she was going to redeem Xcor and how he and Layla would find happiness in the situation they were in.
Angela: I didn’t like Layla from the last few books, so I really wasn’t excited to read her story. However, like Annie said, Ward usually impresses so I wasn’t worried about it.
Suzanne: You know the Descartes quote ‘I think therefore I am’, well for me in the case of the The Chosen it’s: J.R. Ward is bringing out a book therefore I am so excited that much spontaneous singing and dancing ensues.
What did you think about Xcor and Layla’s romance? Did it live up to your expectations?
Francesca: Honestly, no. Although I found them to be sweet together, it was all a bit anticlimactic. Their romance was already developed before this book and there was nothing new to add to the tension in their relationship in this book. That is other than the fact that Xcor is a traitor and they have to figure out how they will be together in the end. But as a couple, and the whole love thing, that was already sort of set up. I don’t think they carried this book enough as the main romance. Xcor and Layla as characters were interesting and thank God for me liking them because that’s one thing that did keep me enjoying the story.
Annie: Yes and no. I was happy with the ending and am very pleased with how they were able to come together. But these two are definitely not my favorite couple in the series. I feel like so much of Layla’s story was written in other books in the series that she didn’t have the heavy impact I was expecting. I liked how she stood up for Xcor and how she showed a little bit of her backbone. But at the same time, I did feel like she should’ve also taken more responsibility for her children.
I think Xcor’s story was a little stronger. I didn’t expect him to be able to get away or expect the level of torture he endured growing up. I liked reading his backstory and felt that it definitely added another layer to his character. But I still don’t see him as a “hero”. I think out of the whole book only a handful of moments made me fall in love with him.
Angela: I have my reservations about their romance. It had its moments of good and bad I suppose, but overall it was okay. Like I said, I didn’t like Layla to start, but Xcor did manage to win my heart. His story was heartfelt; from his tortured past and his changed present. Yeah, I believed his changed heart.
Suzanne: I think Layla and Xcor’s romance had such a fantastic build up, which was part of the reason I was so excited. I have liked and sympathised with both characters since they were introduced into the series, so seeing them paired together was great news. However, in this particular book all the chemistry and tension that Ward had so expertly put together seemed to fall flat. I was glad that they got together, but rather than being a big expression of passion and emotion as I expected it was all very…nice. And nice is not something I ever expect to see from Ward it’s too flat and pedestrian, rather than an explosion of fireworks, it was like a balloon a few days after a party, slowly deflating and a little sad.
What are your thoughts on Qhuinn and Tohr’s actions in this book?
Francesca: I got a bit ragey and angry (or a lot, realistically). Starting off with Qhuinn because he was totally over the top. I was ok with him acting out a bit when he found out what Layla had been doing, but he took things way too far. Honestly, I found it out of character and just made me want to slap him. There was no need for him to act like a total idiot and I couldn’t grasp why Ward took it there. Tohr, I have two issues. Same as with Qhuinn, he acted way out of character by blowing out of proportion that hate towards Xcor but he was also acting like a total douche to Layla at one point and I just can’t see him treating a female like that. I was very disappointed in both of their behavior and I really don’t think Ward did the right thing with all that unnecessary drama. Now the second thing that pissed me off about Tohr is the whole Wellsie issue. I’m sick and tired of it. If he wasn’t going to be ok moving on with his life then he should’ve maybe stayed unmated and alone. It really bugs me that No One gets put in the second best place EVERY TIME with him. How can she feel like she’s loved when there’s always a shadow that pops up? I’m kind of over seeing that aspect.
Annie: I felt that these two were acting a little OTT, Qhuinn especially. While I can understand and believe that he would be upset with Layla and worry about his kids, there are some things that he does and says that are completely out of character. It almost felt like Ward amplified their reactions to create conflict in the story because Layla and Xcor’s story wouldn’t stand alone enough.
With Tohr, I didn’t expect him to get so upset. We all love Wellsie and miss her dearly, but it does feel like we are going over the same conflicts that were explored in other books already. All progress he made with Autumn seems to be pushed to the side and although I believe that he will always have a place for Wellsie in him, I wished he focused on Autumn more.
Angela: I could not get over how these two were acting. They acted hateful and disrespectful towards Layla and to other women in the house. I understand they both have their reasons but I thought it was still uncalled for. I was in awe of how they disrespected a Chosen and Wrath’s Shellan, Elizabeth. Seriously, from the previous books, they would not dare treat any of the women in that house that way. Tohr also treated his mate like his second choice. Left to the side until he’s done with his issues. I get his issues by the way; I loved Wels and would take her over Autumn any day. Nevertheless, I felt like she was just second choice. The worst part is that Tohr and Quinn were disrespectful to Wrath to the point of deliberately disobeying his orders. Honestly, I did not recognize these brothers. Everything they did was so out of character.
Suzanne: So, this is where all the explosion of passion came in. And it was ridiculous andstupid and idiotic and childish and dumb and lots of other very unflattering things. Tohr’s little meltdown I can live with and didn’t give much thought. But Qhuinn. At first I was a little thunderstruck. Who was this character that Ward had written into her book and when were we getting Qhuinn back? He has an extremely violent and unreasonable reaction to Layla and Xcor’s relationship. One that doesn’t make sense and frankly one that completely disgusted me. He accused Layla of treason and then commits treason himself, truely his actions boggled my mind. And then the end! I don’t want to give spoilers but it left me wondering what the hell was the point?
What did you think about V and Jane?
Francesca: This is probably what pissed me off the most about this book. First of all, just pick another Brother for once. I’m tired of always reading about V and his problems. I want to see more of Phury, Z, Rehv, John Matthew, not to mention that I want to read about Muhrder. But no, we have to keep listening to V’s “poor me” storylines. He got his book. Then he had a big storyline in his sister’s book. I’m done! I’ve had enough V. That being said, the actual problems in this book made me think less of him. He’s complaining that his mate isn’t spending as much time with him (and I’m being nice about how to word this because in private I would be saying something else about his complaints) and instead of communicating with her, or better yet, figuring out with the King how they can get more medical staff to help her out so she doesn’t have the weight of the whole Brotherhood and trainees on her shoulders, he chooses to go mope around with his woe is me routine and then thinks about cheating on his Shellan. This goes against everything I believe the Brothers and matings to stand for. I’m not sure how I even feel about the fact that he may go a bit farther than thinking but not fully cross a cheating line. I may still not be ok with that. And Ward can usually do anything she wants and I can understand it. Cheating (and thinking about cheating in my book is the same) is crossing a line that I may not recover from. Honestly, this made me lose respect and love in this series and I’m honestly not so excited about the next book as I would normally be because I don’t want to see what she’ll do with this issue. If it’s not handled in a way I’m satisfied with, I would drop the series. It’s that big of an issue.
Annie: I really hope V doesn’t get more page time. His storyline is too redundant and I hate to see the same things over and over again. Although I do believe that V and Jane still have their issues that they need to weed through, he’s had so much page time already that I really want someone new to focus on. What happened to Murhder? I would LOVE an update on Phury and Cormia as well. I don’t mind revisiting the original Brothers again, but I wish there was more of an even coverage that doesn’t focus on the same Brothers again and again. I felt like the decision to do this just made several steps backwards in terms of character development. Are we really going to do this all over again?
Angela: OMGsh, V was also annoying me. I did not get why he was so emotional. I couldn’t understand his issues. I’m not sure if he’s bored with his life and he needs extra attention from Jane or he’s just not happy with what he has. I really hope his issue doesn’t go further than it has in this book. It just doesn’t describe what a Brother’s true mating is about. Here’s the thing, the brothers are not just any other males. They are top of the crop in every way. Fierce, sexy, loving, romantic, yes, they may have their eff’d up issues but still they when it comes to their females; they are supposed to be loyal in every way. And all those traits are to be expected to be remain true. But if he screws around…mentally or physically, I don’t think I can forgive that.
Suzanne: V. At this point I am so freaking sick of V and all his bullshit. Qhuinn’s dumb-as-fuck actions I can forgive, but V? V got me so angry in this book! Jane deserves better, I know she isn’t Ward’s most popular character, but frankly I pity her being stuck with someone like V whose emotions swing more than a middle age couple on a swingers retreat. He is supposed to be a bonded male and yet his every action in this book goes against everything Ward has been telling us since Dark Lover. And it made me so angry, if he’s got an issue why doesn’t he just talk to his mate about it? But no, he just decides to sulk and brood in the dark like every vampire stereotype known to man. Frankly I think he needs to change his name to Edward.
What about Trez and Therese?
Francesca: Two words… TOO SOON.
Annie: I like Trez and I like Therese. And I think it’s really cute how they met, but yeah, TOO SOON. I think readers could get behind it much easier if it happened a lot later. At this point, it just felt like Ward killed Selena off just to bring her back. I don’t appreciate being played like that.
Angela: Oh, as much as I would like for it to be true, I do agree with Fran. It is too soon. If Ward didn’t’ do it for Tohr and Wels, then what should this be an exception? I am like Therese though. j/s.
Suzanne: Hmmm, mixed feelings. I’m happy, ‘cos damn I want Trez to be happy and I liked Tres (ha Trez and Tres) but I don’t know. It feels like a cop out. I was devastated after The Shadows, I genuinely felt like I was mourning, the whole storyline really got to me and I thought it was a brave thing to do. Then, seeing his grieve in this book I felt it all over again. Then Tres pops up, and I am happy because YES HEA! I don’t know, I will see how it all unfolds.
Who’s book are you most excited to read next?
Francesca: Honestly, like I said before, I’m not as excited about the next one. I’m interested in reading about Assail but I can’t get so excited about a book for a character that wasn’t even in this book!
Annie: I want a freaking Lassiter book, dammit! How much longer do I have to wait? And is Ward planning on writing about all the Band of Bastards? Does that mean I have to wait even longer for a Lassiter book?
Angela: No one in particular. I do want more of the brothers and this world in general. I want to know what’s going to happen with the Bastards, Lassiter, and when is Lash and Devina coming into the picture? Most of all, what in the world is happening with Throe.
Suzanne: Hmmm, who do I want next? I am interested in Qhuinn’s brother and what’s happening with him. And, as Ward seems to like rehashing original couples, I want to see Phury and Cormia! Of all the ones she has done, they are the ones who needs a book.
What are your final thoughts on THE CHOSEN?
Francesca: I could probably summarize this book in one sentence. What the fuck was that? While THE CHOSEN still has some of the things we come to expect from Ward, this was the worst book in the series. It’s not cohesive, didn’t flow, didn’t hold my interest (it took me 4 days to read it!!!) and honestly it pissed me off. At times I wondered if this was written by the same author because it didn’t have the signature “Ward feel” for me. No spark and no magic. And by the time we get to the end after there’s been crap thrown around all over the place in the story, everything is easily, quickly and neatly tied with a bow like nothing happened and everyone is one big happy family (all living under one roof). Just NO! There shouldn’t have been any Qhuinn/Xcor male bonding (to that extreme) in the end. Layla forgave him WAY too quickly. Why does everyone have to be related? And why does everyone have to live at the BDB Mansion?
Annie: This one wasn’t one of my favorites. There was too much OTT reactions and not enough development for the next book in the series. I wasn’t too keen on the first half of the book but I did enjoy the second half a lot more. Still, it’s not enough to make me give it more than 3 stars.
Angela: I think this is my least fave of the series. I felt like everyone was out of characters and found myself saying, “who are you?” to a couple of the characters. I found myself complaining to book buddies about scenes and characters instead of my usual swooning or texting my excitement. Rated this one at a 3.
Suzanne: Disappointing. Everyone was acting very strangely and very out of character, I almost felt like I was reading the wrong author, this did not read like a J.R. Ward book. She normally has the power to move me, not the power to provoke me into flinging my kindle across the room.
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