Note: This post contains SPOILERS for J.R. Ward's The King as well as major speculation about and potential spoilers for next year's The Shadows. Read at your own risk.
Every spring, a special Tuesday in the world of the rabid Black Dagger Brotherhood fan is marked on the calendar. What is this day? Release day, of course! April 1st marked the release of The King, the 12th book in the series and a return the original couple, Wrath and Beth.
For the past few years, another tradition has started. Author J.R. Ward promises to tell us who the next book is about if someone asks at the first book signing after release day (usually that Saturday.) She did not disappoint this year and revealed that the next book was to be The Shadows, about our favorite dark and cannibal brothers. She also promised that they would BOTH get an HEA in this book. (On her Facebook page, she left a transcript from the book signing with some MAJOR spoilers from the BDB world in general.)
Some of us have been waiting for this book for a very long time. The Shadows have been an elusive, dark, and dangerous part of the series since we were introduced to them through Rehvenge. Until recently, their background has been a giant question mark, but here are some things we do know: they will happily eat their enemies (raw or in a delicious soup); the s’Hisbe is a matriarchal society (amazing considering how cutthroat the men are); and while they have dark skin, they are not technically black (Ward maintains that vampires/shadows/sympaths are not human, so they can’t be classified with our racial terminology.)
As a child, Trez was sold by his parents to the queen of the s’Hisbe in order to marry her daughter when the time was right. Soon after, his brother iAm came with him to be his protector and watchdog. Their past comes back in a big way, however, when s’Ex comes calling. A hired gun for the queen, his job is to bring Trez back home to see his obligation through. But Trez is in love with Selena, and doesn’t want to go. Selena is secretly suffering from a fatal Chosen disease, so how will this play out? Will this bring the Scribe Virgin out from her seclusion?
Luckily, we know from The King that Trez has a reprieve; the queen is pregnant and must consult the stars to see which daughter Trez should marry if she has another girl. Trez also came to an arrangement with s’Ex and is keeping him happy at his old penthouse with plenty of girls from the club (girls who are eager to have a turn with Trez’s new “friend”!) It’s guaranteed that we will see more of s’Ex and on a personal note, I just need to know exactly what’s happening at that penthouse that all the girls are swooning over. Anytime a professional looks forward to a job...it must truly be a great time. I hope we get a glimpse into that kinky bedroom! s’Ex also hinted that he fathered the queen’s baby. What will this mean for him?
Trez and Selena are destined to be together, but a huge bombshell was dropped about iAm: He is a virgin! Not only that, but we don’t know who his HEA will be. Is it the princess that Trez is promised to? This seems likely, but it has already been done with Z and Phury. Perhaps another Shadow—the queen herself? Is it likely that iAm will hook up with a vampire, human, or even a sympath? I think it is not very likely, however, we all know JRW doesn’t play by anyone’s rules.
Since this book focuses on the Shadows, it seems likely that we will see a little bit of their best friend Rehvenge. It will be nice to check in on he and Ehlena as a unit. We may also get a glimpse of what’s happening upstate at the sympath colony.
Assail seems to have officially taken over as drug lord of the eastern seaboard, and is dealing directly with the lessers. Will he get busted, and if so, does Rehv have something to say about this? Rehv gave it all up for love, but at this point, Assail doesn’t seem ready to do that. I think he skirts by for at least another book.
Layla is on the hook with Xcor and is just waiting for him to claim her officially. It’s really going to hit the fan when Qhuinn finds out. When will Xcor claim her? Will he wait for her to have the baby? I think he makes his move at the end of this book while he courts her for a little longer.
The biggest news to be confirmed by JRW is that finally(!) Murhder returns! What does this mean for the BDB world in general? John Matthew, of course, would not be happy about this turn of events, but what of the brothers? Xhex has always felt terrible about the way things went down with them, and I think this is a great opportunity for closure. Will Murhder be embraced back into the brotherhood, or be an outcast with the Band of Bastards? The world is so different now (a democracy for goodness sake!) so the biggest question is, can Murhder handle it? I think he is up to the task, and I think he may be up to some mischief.
It’s a long wait until Spring 2015 but if I know anything, I know this: It will be here before we know it, and so will The Shadows.
Nicole Leapheart's alter ego is Miss Boxy Frown, and she posts book reviews and TV recaps at missboxyfrown.blogspot.com. She reads and watches everything from romance to sci-fi, but enjoys it even more if some smut is involved. And tattoos.