Review: The King by JR Ward

kingReviewed by Jen

Like so many others, I was very excited to get my hands on this book. I loved the idea of getting back to where the series started, with a focus on Wrath and Beth. The end result was something of a mixed bag. There were good parts of the story, parts that made me excited, parts that made me tear up, and parts that reminded me why this series has always been an auto-buy. Unfortunately, there were some serious issues as well. The book was all over the place. The pacing was incredibly uneven. And in some parts, I struggled to make myself care about what I was reading.

Wrath and Beth make up the A-plot and their story is twofold. The external conflict follows the gymera’s plot to unseat Wrath from the throne. The internal conflict centers on Beth’s desire to have a baby and Wrath’s immediate and definitive dismissal of her needs. The baby thing actually follows a predictable path that you could see coming a mile away (with a red herring thrown in to keep you on your toes.) But it’s gratifying, nonetheless, especially in the second half. The plot against the throne actually kept me guessing in how it would play out… almost to the point where the resolution felt a little rushed and out of left field. Yet, Wrath and Beth won this book, without a doubt.

The B-plots were less successful, but in varying degrees. Ward continues to follow all three secondary couples she set up in Lover at Last. Xcor and Layla were the couple I was most interested in. And they got the least amount of page-time. I feel like the romance between these two could take off if JR Ward would let it, but I feel like she is milking it and drawing it out, which annoys me. At least, I feel like they finally have a path, though, that could lead them somewhere.

That leaves us with Trez and Assail. I feel like we got to know Trez a lot more than we did Assail, which makes me think his HEA will come first. I liked his struggle as his feelings for Selena grew, but he reminded me a lot of Rhev and his storyline from Lover Avenged. I loved that book, but I don’t want to see the same romance play out with different details.

As for the Assail and Sola plot, I felt the sexual pull between them. And I found their interaction more interesting than I did in the last book, especially seeing Assail reacting to his very real (and unexpected) feelings for this human. But all of these threads were too much –especially when you throw in the flashbacks on Wrath’s parents. The book lacks cohesion in all of its parts. Some parts worked together, but Assail, for instance, was totally disconnected from everything else. And Trez was attached only peripherally.

Then there were little things that bugged me, like the way they all talked. Everyone was either Shakespeare or a thug. They were either talking about what they would do for “the now” and “anon,” or finding 10 unique ways to drop the F-bomb and reference something in pop culture. There is no in between. There is no normal. It irked me.

But having said all that, I enjoyed it overall. The second half of the book –especially the last third—is much stronger than the beginning. I loved watching Wrath find himself and his place in the world. I actually enjoyed learning the truth about who his parents were. I liked the set-up for Xcor and Layla. The sex, as always, is hot and satisfying. And, the world-building is as awesome as ever.

I want more. Maybe not more slang, but more BDB. I’m already ready for whatever comes next. Long live the Brotherhood and LONG LIVE THE KING.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

The King
by JR Ward
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Penguin


  1. Great review! I have loved this series, but I have fallen behind since the last book I read was lover unleashed. I was really excited for this one, but I think I should read the previous two books before I do since it has other plots besides Wrath and Beth. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.

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