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The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author…
Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.
And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.
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My Thoughts; When I first heard about this spin off series I was over the moon excited. The idea that we would get MORE BDB each year was beyond epic. And then to hear that the Brothers, that we have all fallen in love with, would be the calmer side characters/sub plot was even better.
I was crazy excited to get back to the training center. I mean.... This is where I truly fell in love with my John Matthew. Watching him progress from who he was when we first met him in Lover Eternal (BDB book 2) to where he is today. So, yes the idea that we would be back to the "old days" was an amazing feeling.
We first meet Paradise and Craeg in The Shadows (BDB book 13). She is working as a receptionist for her father, Abalone; First Adviser to The King aka Wrath. Craeg comes in to get an application for the training program and she is smitten right away. Blood Kiss picks up where her side story in The Shadows leaves off, we get to follow along on her journey to the training center and everything that follows.
As the "featured" Brother, Butch aka The Dhestroyer and his Shellan are having a bit of a bumpy road and their story is intertwined with Paradise and Craeg's HEA. There is not a lot of POVs, it sticks to these two couples jumping back and forth between the characters.
I fell so in love with Marissa after this book. She was never one of my favorite shellans from the (original) series but that has definitely changed. Butch is as he always has been. You love him even when you are shaking your head with utter disappointment. (oh Butch....SMH).
I admire Paradise. She is such a strong character. She was sheltered, as any child of the Glymera would be, but she has risen so far above that. She has chosen to be her own person and pave her own path. She is outspoken and brave. I love her. I had a little harder time with Craeg, it took time for me to really care for him. This is probably the first couple that I have more love for the female. Craeg came a long way and in the end I did really grow fond of his character. However, love would probably be too strong a word.
The original BDB series has transformed into such a complex story line, with twists and turns, new characters and character development. The world has grown leaps and bounds and icludes multiple storylines in each book; reading them can be very intense. This book, for lack of a better phrase, was palate cleansing it slows things down a bit and that is completely refreshing for a wait between one BDB book and the next. I think any true BDB fan will love this book. Anyone who remembers the old "Slices of Life" JRW used to do will definitely enjoy this book. It is a steady pace of drama, falling in love, levity, and Lassiter-type-shenanigans. I strongly recommend this book.
*Note-- the girls and I believe this book (in our opinion) could be read without having read Black Dagger Brotherhood series. You would not know all of the original characters in as much detail as someone who has, but you could totally enjoy this story alone.
***For more from JR Ward check out our "PLR's Favorite Author" post. This will give you a complete list of all of her books as well as reading orders for her series.