We are huge fan of this series and it’s definitely had its ups and downs. We’ve loooooooved some books and others have received 1-star (sorry, that’s what happens when you kill of a heroine in a romance book). We can safely say that The Chosen is one of the better books of late. Yes, there are multiple story lines but it felt more cohesive. Ward really put some intense emotions into it. Helyce, Sheena and I will hit up all the characters.
Please note: Spoilers below. We don’t hold back information, so please do not read if you do not want to be spoiled!!
Mandi: I love the fact that Xcor was the bad guy – the guy that ordered Wrath to be killed – and now he is a hero. His torment over loving Layla in the last few books wooed me. I enjoyed his transformation from villain to hero. He suffered, he was ready to die (Omg Vishous allowing him to live!!) and then he was allowed to love. I found it all very romantic and in my opinion became a worthy hero. I’m glad we got a peek into his childhood to understand how he turned out the way he did. He’s really a big, ole’ softy, huh? I think Wrath and Xcor are going to be BFFs. They already have much in common.
Sheena: Make no mistake. I loathe Xcor/Layla. For the better part of a year, I’ve ranted and begrudgingly come to terms with Laycor-Xcolay what-ever-the-fawk-you-wanna-call-them actually being a thing. Unlike Mandi, I was not wooed by Xcor’s “I’m a changed vamp” proclamations. Bloodthirsty bitty that I am, I’ve long salivated for and envisioned his brutal reckoning. I wanted Thorment to torment his rat bastard ass! I wanted him to feel the vicious blaze and raze of Vishious’ accursed hand. *piff* Be that as it may- I was absolutely riveted by his backstory. Xcor had it hard and my heart broke for him over and over- (never you worry- I still wanted my Wrath’s long due retribution) but I still felt deeply for the male, his flashbacks were my second favorite part of the novel. My first favorite- Quinn vs. Layla. *rubs hands.* Oh yea!
Helyce: I agree with you both, actually. I was not a big fan of the Bastards when they were introduced but they served their point and I admit that I’m much more pro Xcor than I ever was. Like Mandi, I loved seeing him transform from bad guy to good guy. His flashback scenes are heartbreaking, though even in his childhood and everything he had been through, there was still good in him even with what he had to do to survive. Until he met the Bloodletter, of course. I liked his transformation, a lot.
Mandi: Y’all, I used to despise Layla, and heck if I wasn’t cheering her on in this book as she gave it to the boys after the disrespected her so much. Can we talk about how hateful Qhuinn and Tohr were to her? I gobbled it up! Ward REALLY goes there with the Layla/Qhuinn/Tohr scenes. They were gritty, and Ward doesn’t always do gritty. I want her to do more gritty. I wanted Layla to kick them in the balls and take some names. She did with her words. She stuck up for the man she loved, for her babies, and most importantly, for herself. And she got alllllll dirty when it came to Xcor and having sex. I think she is one of the best heroines Ward has written.
Sheena: Running theme: “woe is Layla.” I wanted to slide her a Xanax. I grew weary. My apathy towards Layla knows no bounds. She’s never done it for me and one of my literary highlights of 2017 is reveling in Quinn’s apeshit, reckless and no holds barred meltdown when he found out about her treachery. Little did he know that Layla came to play and like Mandi says- she didn’t back down one inch. Shady as she was (even in the name of love, deception and subterfuge is what it is) I could not help but respect her refusal to roll over and be without her children. Ward hit it out of the park with Quinn vs Layla. Their scenes were flat out amazing. I also got a kick out of how she used her eros training *blushes* Let’s just say, Xcor was well and truly undone.
Helyce: I was very moved and loved seeing Layla with some backbone! I am so totally with Sheena on the scene where Qhuinn loses his ever loving shit. I loved it! This is the Qhuinn of old, the protector of John Matthew, etc. Layla, too had her moments. And yes, I have to admit I was cheering her on when she stood up to various people, especially Tohr. As far as the sexing-well, yea she finally got to use her ehros training…but we didn’t get to see very much of it. In the end, I’m happy for Layla. I keep remembering her in Rhage’s book and how she got him to feed when he was falling in love with Mary. And didn’t she get John Matthew through his transition? She has earned this HEA.
Mandi: OH LORDY. These two. I wanted really hot sex between them and instead they spent the book apart. I did like their emotions. Qhuinn goes off the rails when Layla confesses she was with Xcor while pregnant. His fear that his babies could have been hurt (or will be hurt in the future) is definitely a concern. These guys are all alpha – and I think his reaction made complete sense. A total alpha guy is of course going to lose his shit over this – had he not, it would not have made sense. I love that he lost it. And yes, he lashes out at Blay and Blay gets hurt and needs to let it all sink in.
“FYI, you just told me I wasn’t a parent.” Blay’s voice was stilted, like he was trying to keep the hurt out of it. “You looked me in the eye and told me that those kids and their mother were none of my business.”
Dammmmnnn Qhuinn that’s cold.
I like that Ward did this – things aren’t always happy happy, and it was a nice conflict in my opinion.
Sheena: So much to unpack here. Blay is just *sigh* love him. Such a good- good male. He literally warms my heart. Quinn hurt him badly, cut him pretty damn deep and his reaction was so visceral it made me misty. I love that he is sensitive and kind, yet strong and so honorable. He made Quinn work for their resolution (as well he should have) and didn’t let him get away with using sex to sweep his misdeeds under the rug. Blay is Quinn’s center and Quinn is Blay’s edges. I love how they complement one another.
Helyce: I love Blay too! I really hated what he had to go through, and it broke my heart too. But major points to him for sticking to his guns and not letting Qhuinn back into his life on anything less than his terms. Blay was kind of larger than life in this book. I think we saw a different side of him and I liked it. And not to be repetitive, but I loved Qhuinn’s scene early in the book where Layla’s treason is revealed. I totally get where he was coming from. His intensity is all out there and in your face. Very badass–except he says hurtful things in the moment without thinking. I love this couple, though and I think the issues raised were realistic even though we’re in the BDB world.
Mandi: Wellsie’s death still bothers me and I feel like Autumn sometimes gets the shaft in this series. I’m not keen on their romance – but Tohr’s devotion to Wrath is pretty intense. I liked his carnal rage and revenge thing going on. His desire to destroy Xcor, even going behind Wrath’s back to do it, seemed a little off from his personality but their corny reunion and man hug at the end worked for me. What I didn’t love was how quick Tohr forgave Xcor. He found out they have the same father, so they are brothers. Then he no longer wanted to kill him – it was too quick a turn around for me.
Sheena: Meanie Mc Meany Pants! And I loved it. Well, only when it was directed at “that Chosen” (Hey! Quinn’s words, not mine). Otherwise he was a miserable fawk for sure. My heart kind of burned for Autumn. She and Thor are great second chance love, but he is still haunted by losing Wellise and his son. Autumn is never jealous and loves him quite unconditionally. She has a beautiful quote expressing just that – only I’ll let you discover it on your own. Aside from suffering through the anniversary of his tragic loss, Thor was all over the place and in the land of the “fuckits.” He wanted Xcor’s head and went at it full tilt. With unexpected consequences that nearly changed his entire existence. Thor has kind of become an unreliable character to me. Too damaged- even though he’s had his book and break through, he still feels “off” to me. I prefer him in the peripheral.
Helyce: I have to admit, I couldn’t remember a lot of the details with respect to Tohr and why Wrath had given him the opportunity to be the one to off Xcor. That aside, I liked Tohr’s storyline. It was sad to watch him as he deals with the anniversary of Wellsie’s death and the realization that his son would have been 2 years old. I want Autumn not to be so understanding and nice. I mean seriously, it’s one thing to allow your mate the chance to remember and grieve his first wife, but hello? I was feeling like Autumn was really getting the shitty end of the stick with Tohr. I liked how Ward handled revealing Tohr and Xcor’s relationship.
Mandi: I love V, hard. He is my favorite brother. When he allows Layla to save Xcor and realizes their true love, all the while being epically pissed about everything, oh man…I loved that V. What I don’t love is V married to ghost lady. (Does anyone like this???). What I reallllly don’t love is V and ghost lady having marriage troubles. What I REALLLLLY don’t like is the suggestion that V might stray in his marriage.
From V’s thoughts:
When you were contemplating cheating on your mate, it was not easy on the conscience. And not something you wanted to do in the home you shared with her.
This is not okay. Like – NOT COOL. I can only assume he and ghost lady get the next book. V needs to be sexin’ his lady up all night, every night! None of this – lack of communication/could-care-less attitude.
Remember years ago, when V had the intimate moment with his actual, true love? (what?)
V shook his head and turned away from the wrist. “Can’t.”
“I need you. I’m sick from what I do. I need you.” Butch whispered.
Vishous fixated on Butch. “Only for…you… not me.”
“For both of us”
..and then V and Butch ride off into the sunset together and forever make love. Oh wait, no, then V ends up with a ghost. *forever sad face*
Sheena: I love Vishous. His actions (and inactions) played a pivotal role in The Chosen. I don’t know all of what is doing- but the nuances in his POV made me twitchy. Something is brewing between Vishous and his Doc Jane and if his melancholy musings are any indication of what’s to come, Ward may have another classic along the lines of Lover Awakened in store for us because..yeah Vishous is not in a good place and he isn’t communicating well with Jane.
BTW- I still hate that she is a damn ghost. Seriously!!???!
Helyce: Vishous is definitely one of my favorite Brothers in the BDB world. I enjoyed seeing him struggle a little when things are just not so black and white and eliminating the problem doesn’t really make it go away or isn’t the best option. I liked the choices he made, even though they kind of went against his basic core beliefs. We know V can love, but it was good to see him put someone else’s best interests to heart. That said, I’m not sure I really like the path of uncertainty that Ward has lay before him. It’s really hard to see him vulnerable and unsure about things that have always been clear to him. He’s all up in his head, but there was no lead into the why of it. So we are left hanging and left to wonder if he will do what he is contemplating. I’m trying to have faith…
Mandi: Wrath is my everything – my fearless, sarcastic, fair, honest leader. It doesn’t get better than him and he was great in this book. His eye-rolling, “universe save me from these alpha men” attitude made me smile.
Rhage piped up. “Also, let’s face it. You’re the most reasonable one in this group.”
“A full cock going off,” somebody chimed in. “Instead of a half cock like the rest of us.”
“Quarter cock in Rhage’s case–”
Hollywood wheeled around and glared at V. “Okay, fuck you–”
Wrath put a hand over his face. “Jesus, will you people stop!”
Sheena: So, funny moment. For most of the novel, I was kind of thinking Wrath was a pussy. And then he comes right out and says “I ain’t a pussy” and I howled with laughter! Doth the pussy protest too much? Heh. But yes. This is not the Wrath of yester-year. Not at all. Far too lenient than I believe he should have been in impossible circumstances. Beth had him by the balls and while I appreciate a strong man listening to his strong woman- it was off putting that she seemed to boss him around. She is Queen, no doubt- but hello, King of Vampires people. One thing is for sure, aside from his pussy footing around with Xcor, I love that he remains so independent. Nobody puts Wrath in a corner.
Helyce: I’m on the fence when it comes to Wrath. Yes, I agree he was too lenient, but would we have had an HEA if he had followed through with the treason accusation? I think not. We see a softer side of Wrath, which is fine, but I did not like that it appeared his decisions were colored by Beth. Yea, yea, Wrath loves his Beth–but he is the freaking King and Ward reminds us constantly of his King-ly-ness when she repeatedly comments about his size. All in all, I felt Wrath just came off as tired of it all–like a Kindergarten teacher at the end of the day.
Sheena to Helyce: Well…hell, Ward could have gone two for two and killed a hero this time. She sure sent Selena to the Fade. Dhund sure as shite isn’t too good for the likes of Xcor *shakes fists*
Helyce to Sheena: Girl, you know how I feel about the whole Selena thing. Can you say COP. OUT!? I had a big argument with my sister about this storyline. I think Ward caved to negative reactions to killing off Selena. Her argument was that it could have been her plan all along! So can we get a real Jane please?????
Mandi to Helyce and Sheena: Wrath is totes a KIndergarten teacher!! LOLOL. Also I hate reincarnation and why kill off Selena if you are going to bring her exactly back??? IT makes no sense!!
Mandi: Lassiter had an interesting book – not a ton of page time but what we get makes an impact. He is now the new “scribe virgin” – I kinda like it. Maybe. Not sure yet. As Helyce mentions below, will he live up to the hype? We shall see.
Sheena: I am hearing rumblings of Lassiter getting his own book and all I can do is *snort.* I just can’t take him seriously. The class clown, corn ball type never really did it for me. I have to see some major changes before I can even begin to take him seriously. There wasn’t a ton of him in The Chosen, but has a pretty substantial reveal. Again- more that I am just not sure about with this Angel-Male. I’ve never really had an investment in him beyond a passing appreciation for his wisdom and some of his flair and antics. In a word. Meh.
Helyce: Lassiter did not have enough page time, as far as I’m concerned; especially with what he reveals for himself. I really missed his crazy antics. Am I going to like this new Lassiter? I’m not sure. I really don’t know what to make of some of his scenes. It was truly perplexing. I do feel that Lassiter is a necessary character now. I can’t imagine the BDB without him. I just worry that the hype won’t live up to the reality.
Mandi: I like where it all went. They move in at the end – which – wow. Okay. I like the thought of getting to know them as long as it doesn’t add 3,938 new storylines to each book.
Sheena: Guess who’s coming to dinner. I think I’ll just leave it at that.
Helyce: Surprise! I very much loved where Ward went with the Bastards. I really loved everything about them. Their unfailing loyalty to Xcor when they didn’t even know if he was still alive. How they respond to him when he finally goes to them was a highlight for me. I am so intrigued. And now that we’ve seen them in a very different light I want to know more about all of them and most especially Syn.
Mandi: So Throe is the new baddie? I guess we needed one now that Xcor is kumbaya with the brothers. I don’t really have too many feelings about Throe yet…it’s more of a – let’s wait and see what happens.
Sheena: Oh Throe. He has gone the way of Assail. Once a glorious new, sexy vamp with shining potential and all the “come to mama” feels. Only to have their characters do 180’s. And speaking of Assail, I forever loathe how Assail has been ruined and relegated to some drug addled vampire in the background. *shudders in anger* But back to Throe. He has taken up Xcor’s former cause (my my how he’s changed) and I barely recognize him. I can’t help but believe Ward sacrificed Throe for Xcor- and that pisses me off royally. Will he have his own redemption? I wouldn’t hold your breath. He’s gone to the dark side indeed and everyone is set against him.
Helyce: Throe, dammit Ward?. WTF? I’m sorry, but I did not like anything about his story. Not a thing. I’m having Lash flashbacks and it’s not pretty. I’m seeing Qhuinn’s brother in a 50 gallon barrel. I kept thinking, “this can’t be happening!” But it was and it did. What he’s planning; if he succeeds? There can be no redemption.
Mandi: Mandi + Reincarnatioon = NO LIKEY. Nope. Not a fan. You killed off Selena, and now this?? Why even kill off a HEA to begin with? Yawn for Therese.
Helyce: Now that it’s been a few hours since I finished, I’ve gone back and forth regarding this turn of events for Trez with the introduction of this female vampire Selena look-a-like. Am I intrigued? A little. It can’t be a reincarnation, cause Selena has only been gone for a month. The Scribe Virgin is still on vacation and her “replacement”, while revealed herein, does not provide any answers. So we are left to wonder. Therese seems to be Selena’s doppleganger and if that wasn’t enough, she seems to be perfect for Trez as far as personality, likes and dislikes. Don’t even get me started on the fact that “her friends call her Tres”. But she’s got baggage of the family kind. She’s running away from something. I can’t help but think Ward succumbed to negative press when she killed off a heroine and is now trying to fix it. Could this have been her long range plan all along? Of course. I guess we’ll see.
Sheena: Nope. Just no. Bad idea and it was distracting and annoyed me so it would have been just as well if she had left the Trez/Selena debacle alone. Leave Selena in the fade and be done with it. I already have to contend with “Ghost Jane.” I am not at all inclined to deal with this foolishness.
Mandi: This is definitely one of her better books – the first half for me was super strong. I loved the intense emotions – the lashing out, the bitterness. But it’s balanced with a mushy/corny end which is why I adore the brothers. I really enjoyed this one.
Sheena: Despite my epic frustration with some of the content (I’m looking at you “lenient Wrath,” “now-he’s-like-a-stranger” Throe and “woe is me” Layla) The Chosen is one of Ward’s best novels of late. It was exceedingly entertaining in all veins. It was funny, sexy and emotional. Romantic to it’s core, it hit all the notes that come along in a romance, the good, bad and ugly, and I never wanted to put it down and I can’t wait to find out who is next and pick up this world once again.
Helyce: When you’re hooked on a series, you continue reading no matter what the author does. There is always going to be something that you dislike and/or wish didn’t happen. But your love of the world and the characters therein keep you invested. I think The Chosen is well done. I liked that we got to see Xcor’s backstory, heartbreaking as it was. I liked seeing Layla bare her fangs and get some backbone and not be all prim and proper. I’m confused by the events around Lassiter, but expect in time everything will be explained and I especially disliked whatever the hell is going on with Vishous. I very much look forward to seeing more with the Bastards and wasn’t really surprised how things turned out for them.
Note: Tomorrow (April 8) Ward is having a big book signing and a Q & A. If you follow Liza on Twitter, she usually tweets live updates of the Q&A – and we will also learn who gets the next book. Liza will also be posting a full recap Saturday evening on her blog.