The Chosen Review
Title: The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #15)
Author: J.R. Ward
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.
Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.
As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love … or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.
This is the highly anticipated story of Xcor and Layla. It’s the 15th book in the series and you do have to read all the other books to fully understand what is going on. Ward has written these books with characters that are highly complex- this does not mean the books are hard to understand- it means the stories layer on top of each other.
***Warning: There are spoilers if you have not read up to The Beast. Also, I do talk about the ins and outs of the book. They are not exactly spoilers but I do talk about specific plots with in the book. Read at your own caution.***
I know many people were upset with how the story was written but I was not one of them. Yes, I wish there would have been more scenes with Layla and Xcor but we got to see them fall in love over the course of several books. So, I understand why there was less interaction between the two than normal. However, there was so much more to the book to love than to not. Heres why:
People have been saying that The Chosen should have had a different name because it does not have anything to do with The Chosen, which I find insane. This entire book was about about Layla finding herself. Prior to this book Layla had already fallen in love with Xcor but she was not in love with herself. This book is called The Chosen because Layla-The-Chosen- realizes she is more than just a Chosen. She is a mom, a lover, a friend, a person- she finally realizes she is strong. She finds out who she is outside of the roles she has been playing her entire life. I loved this! Even though I would have liked more Xcor and Layla page time, I loved this aspect nonetheless.
I also found the fact that, like previously, in The Beast and The King, the Warden shows us the brothers fight to keep their relationships alive just like real people. She makes it a point to show the brothers and their shellans are not living happily ever after but are living with real life marriage problems. I loved this because it rings true. Many times when authors have series similar to this one the characters from previous stories are living happily ever after with no real problems, which is not how it works. Ward does not shy away from having her characters be real jackasses (i.e. Qhuinn). By making them flawed- she makes them more relatable.
She shows Vishous unhappy with his marriage but not knowing how to fix it, especially because Jane does not see it. Vishous is too concerned with not showing he has a problem that he makes it so much worse than it be. He starts to resent Jane and her job but also not resent her and her job at the same time. I kinda wanted to reach through the pages and shake some sense into him.
Tohr, even though he is happily mated to Autumn, is still having problems with the fact that his first shellan and his unborn child were killed. And that is COMPLETELY normal- that pain does not just disappear and the Warden shows Tohr’s struggle perfectly. She shows his misplaced anger, his deep depression, his joy in Autumn, and the push and pull of emotions. There is no easy was to get over the death of your love and child, especially when it happens in such a brutal way- of course Tohr is still struggling with it and of course he is still going to be angry. Just because he is happy with Autumn does not mean he has forgotten.
Then of course, there is Blay and Qhuinn. They have gone through so much together and yet they are still insecure about their relationship. Insecurities can come up in every relationship- even strong ones. And it is no surprise that both Blay and Qhuinn would have strong insecurities when it comes to their relationship. Blay had to deal with Qhuinn ignoring his feelings for years, and even though they are together now, that past hurt has not fully healed. Qhuinn, now a father, has to deal with the fact that he is actually a father. He went from being a player and partier to a mated father in rapid speed. He is still adjusting. He also has to deal with the fact that his own parents were horrible to him. He has to learn how to be a father- and he wants to be a good father. It is his greatest fear to hurt his babies. And lets face it- Qhuinn has always had a temper, why does this surprise anyone?
Layla, Vishous, Tohr, Blay, and Qhuinn are shown to have real problems, real insecurities, real-life issues. It makes them more relatable and it makes the book more endearing. It may not be the Warden’s typical book but it is still amazing. It hits close to your heart. It makes you think about your own relationships and life. It is a great continuation to the series. It’s greatness may be overlooked but it is still there. The reason fans are so passionate about this series is because of the Warden's amazing power to make these characters seem real. She is a talented and amazing author and this book proves it.