Apr 10 2014 1:00pm

What Might Emerge from J.R. Ward’s The Shadows? A Speculation Post

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 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 She reads and watches everything from romance to sci-fi, but enjoys it even more if some smut is involved. And tattoos.

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CL Swartz
1. CL Swartz
Nicole, I'll meet you at the penthouse and we can check it out together.
It's just insane how we wait every year for the next book and then devour it in a day.
I'm really liking the idea that the SV might come back to save Selena. I have really been missing her. I am dying to meet iAm's love interest. Had hopes of it being Abalone's daughter but JR shot that idea down. I do hope that it is not the Queen or her daughter. Like you said, that switcharoo was done before.

And so the count down to the next book starts.
Nicole Leapheart
2. BoxyFrown
@CL Swartz
I really, really hope we get to see what happens in the penthouse. Remember Throe in the motel room??? -Nicole
Linda J Davis
3. brooklynbabe
It would be nice if iAm's HEA was a human woman of color. Give us a break too. And I hope Rhage and Mary get a say again sometime soon.
5. Marvin
Actually the King is voted back on his throne by his people (not the glymera) in an elective monarchy. He was overthrown by the vampire aristocracy, but managed to get to know the people of his kingdom by meeting and listening to them.
CL Swartz
6. Brooklynbabe
That's what makes him so awesome. He actually listens and cares about the masses not just the aristocracy who can take care of themselves. Such a parallel to the real world. That's what tugs at my heart.
CL Swartz
7. Aussiefan
What I want to know is who Saxon's HEA is going to be. You didn't comment on JRW comment that we have already meet him, so WHO could it be....
Nicole Leapheart
8. BoxyFrown
That's such a good question...Some people thought Lassiter, but she said he was into women. Hmm...that would be a real twist if it was iAm...
CL Swartz
9. brooklynbabe
Oh Heaven forbid!! iAm needs a woman, please. But that certainly is a good guess. Saxton is a perfect example of things not always being what they seem. How could his father not be proud of him? Good reason to dissolve the glymera. Pompous asses. But not iAm.
Nicole Leapheart
10. BoxyFrown
I can't think of any other eligible men except the brothers from the BoB and the brothers that are Assail's cousins. And Murhder, but I think we know he isn't gay...but maybe we dont!
Barb Hix
11. barbjhix
Honestly I think Wrath should kick, with his foot, some of those moron
glymera in the rump. They can't think past the first few minutes of their plots to actually keep their race alive and that drives me crazy.

Okay, we get a warrior king off the throne and then what - oh, yeah, we start getting picked off one by one by Lessers. Grand idea. I'll second that. Goodness knows that Xcor has never had the ability to lead on a large scale, he has only lead small troops and planned on small scales.

I'm interested in seeing what the future brings for The Shadows....and if Doc Jane can get poor Trez on some migraine meds. Hey, he doesn't have to suffer for hours when a migraine hits, he can always have a pain blocker shot administered and just pass out. Pain meds do work on vampires and I get a sympathy migraine every time he gets one (I used to get the same exact one he got before modern medicene got involved). Hey, there is even Botox to help now and it works wonders on migraines!
CL Swartz
12. Savahge
I very well think that serious shit could happen in this book that I'm not going to be pleased with. At the very start of things, when the preview was released I skimmed down to find IAm's name. When I finally did all I could see was "he must make the ultimate sacrifice".

I flipped out, and not in a good way. IAm is more relatable than Trez in my eyes. He is more dangerous, but can be more level headed. I find that his brotherly love is relatable to me because of the relationship I have with my own brother. I actually had skipped most of his side of the story up until "Lover At Last" in which I began gaining more and more attachment to him...and I began to feel like I liked Trez less and less with each book. As we reach his book now, I feel like I'd prefer it to be IAm's book so that I could at least stand it.

From the way it sounded to me, IAm might be taking Trez's place. That means that IAm will be the lord of their kind and also means that (like Rehv before) he will have few apperances in the book. This will displease me considerably, especially with the simple fact that I've become attached to him on a whole. I feel like after someone's book is done you don't see much of them...

And I also feel like that after this book we may not see IAm at all.

I hope the warden doesn't rid the books of IAM in anyway, because on a whole I feel like I enjoy him more than I do Trez. I really like the weird thing between him and Boo (made me laugh so many times during LAL).

Alright, rant over...

I know this next portion isn't related to the book, but I just wanted to get it out there.

IAm is the next character to get a book. I'm more interested in him than I am any other thing at the moment besides Lassiter (WHOM IS NEVER IN THE BOOKS DX) and the notion the WARDen gave us that Rhage and Mary might have a child. Even though she said Rhage & Mary will have a child, I had lost hope for a while until the last book came out. The fact that she got their child in the books makes me optimistic that Rhage and Mary might get their adopted baby soon.

But I'm more interested in Lass and IAm's books. I know she said she was going to wait on Lassiter until the Fallen Angel books had a crossover, which is why I read them for a while. I got bored with them after Envy though because my mind just couldn't keep tasked on them. I found them ok, but not as good as most series I've read.

As far as IAm's book goes, I'm optitimistic the next one might be his.

Oh, another pressing matter - I hope Zypher gets a book. I know he's a background chara, but I'm interested in him. Also, I'm curious to see if he's Rhage's brother...because he's described a lot like him...

Also the human chara R.I.P. made me interested. I know he wasn't really a main focusing character, but something about this extra got me interested.

And Lash, the rumor is he's coming back...I'm quite interested in this because he was one of the villians that really stuck out to me. I was interested because he was kind of a cool villian.

And finally, the portion of this that I was dreading to speak of....

-_-' So yeah...

I hope she doesn't have a book for Xcor.

I know I may be the only one on this, but I find him an inevertant ASSHOLE. I'm sorry, but I just can't stand the chara. He's like...worse than the FRICKEN Omega. Just sayin...

At least I could stand Lash, because he was one of those villians you loved to hate. There were things about him that I couldn't stand, but he was also a cool villian once he joined up with the lessers. I mean...yeah.

And then turning into a walking metal icon??? A FRICKEN SKULL?! Epic man.

Ok, I'm done now XD
Nicole Leapheart
13. BoxyFrown
Thanks for commenting! So, you REALLY like iAm is what I am sensing:) It's tough to keep the characters around when the world is so big-she has to pick a few characters to focus on each book, and I get that, but you do still miss your faves.

I like Xcor! I feel like he and Wrath are different sides of the same coin...certainly one of my fave kings has a penchant for assholery!

Lash is a fantastic villain. I hope he does come back!
Linda J Davis
14. brooklynbabe
I know she has already gotten the book on the Shadows together but I still wanted IAm to find a human Black woman. We have been wholly under represented in these diverse stories and yet are an integral part of the following. I loved The King and will always read the books. I just got Immortal, the Fallen Angels novel. I like Assail although he is a scuzz, he is protective of Sola? Is that her name? Anyway, JRW talked already about what may be happening with Lassiter etc. and she should show us some more affection between Thorment and Autumn so we can reassure ourselves of their mating. So far it seems like a so what sitch. But whatever she writes I'll read, predictable or surprise!
Nicole Leapheart
15. BoxyFrown
I agree wholeheartedly. I would love to see more women of color in the series despite the fact that JRW maintains that her vamps (and others) arent human so they dont have races ascribed to them. Sola is repping for the Latinas right now!
CL Swartz
16. Brooklynbabe
Yeah but Mary is a human Caucasian and so is Jane, corporeal as she is, so why can't a Black woman be introduced? It's nice to be thought of as viable enough for one of the alpha males. We get no props on TV; we're called angry Black women in the press. Can't we be intelligent and sexy in a good book? Sheesh!
Nicole Leapheart
17. BoxyFrown
I think the tide is turning on tv in a big way. Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder and Sleepy Hollow are three great examples of that. But I agree, you can read about only so many creamy skinned women with pink nipples before you feel like you can't relate at all.
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