Review: The Thief by JR Ward

Reviewed by Jen

With her Black Dagger Brotherhood books, JR Ward has excited me, enraged me, made me fall in love, and occasionally made me scratch my head. This is the first time she has left me completely cold. The installments in the main series (less so with the spinoffs) generally have so many subplots, there is at least one that I’m interested in. Not here.

I wasn’t terribly intrigued by Assail and Sola when they were first introduced. Here, they were downright anemic. Assail had been going crazy from his withdrawals from cocaine for a while now. We could hear him screaming in the background of the past few books. As this one begins, though, he is in a coma and on the verge of death. His cousins track down Sola to talk him back from the Fade. There is nothing sexy about a man clinging to life. This was equally true in the novella which directly preceded this. The best Ward could say was that the man’s boner was undiminished by his illness. No matter that he is skin and bones; he is bald; he can’t use the bathroom or bathe himself. But his junk works and is as big as ever. Hallelujah. 

Not.

The big conflict here? Sola doesn’t know Assail’s a vampire.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop? Keep waiting. That is the entire conflict. Which is why it is so weak. The other reason is that the story only spans a few days. Apparently, these two were 100% in love when they left each other a few books back. I don’t completely buy that. And I just didn’t feel anything for either one of them, together or apart.

There is a related subplot about Vitoria, sister to the Benloise Brothers who Assail killed to protect and avenge Sola in their previous story. This was the most boring and lackluster part of the book. She is supposed to be the external threat. But it was beyond anti-climactic. She was isolated from everything else that was going on until the very end and even then, her contribution was weak.

That leaves us with Vishous and Jane. Their marital problems were set up in The Chosen. It looked like he was going to cheat. Spoiler alert. He didn’t. But he almost did and Jane caught him in the almost-act. I’ve never liked V. The only brother who left me less interested was possibly Phury, who BTW, gets some page time here. All of the V and Jane drama basically centered over him feeling butt hurt because she works too much. I felt like the whole set up for the cheating was a device Ward used in order to get fans riled up. We never even saw the “other woman.” Just boring. And lame.

Tiny other subplots… Jo, I woman who works for the Caldwell Gazette and is about to transition into vampire the way Beth did. A cameo from Murhder. And Throe, who is nothing like the character he started as, and is both crazy and in a pseudo-sexual relationship with an evil book. I can’t make this shit up.

Not only am I underwhelmed, there’s not even a set up for a future couple that I can look forward to. Of course, if you look on Goodreads, there are five star reviews for miles. Maybe they read a different book than I did. Maybe they’re just excited that the heroine survived this one. Maybe learning the secret of Beth’s cat was enough to outweigh the week romance. I don’t know.

Disappointing.

Rating: C/C-

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Thief
by JR Ward
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Ballantine Books

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