The Shadows Audiobook by J. R. Ward (Review)

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Reviews | 32 comments

Review of: The Shadows Audiobook

Reviewed by:
On April 2, 2015
Last modified:April 2, 2015


The Shadows Audiobook

By: J. R. Ward

Narrated by: Jim Frangione

Published by: Penguin Audio 03/31/2015

The Shadows Audiobook by J. R. Ward 390x390_

The Shadows Audiobook Sample

Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on… except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around… but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice.


The Shadows

4.0 Hearts

The Shadows Audiobook is the 13th entry to one of my all-time favorite series. And, even though, many haven’t enjoyed the direction the series has taken in the last few installments, I still have enjoyed spending time in Caldwell, NY.

My expectations for this novel weren’t very high. After having lukewarm feelings about The King, I wasn’t nearly as excited about The Shadows; nevertheless, I still looked forward to enjoying another installment.

At first, I had a hard time connecting with everyone. It took me a big part of the book to get really into it; by that I mean, to be wowed, to be taken away, to get sucked in.

One thing is for sure, I’m glad I kept hanging in there because slowly but surely I got caught up in the drama, and there’s plenty to go around! The last seven hours had me as consumed as I ever been with this series, I loved that!

Yup, I loved J. R. Ward’s drama, I always have, and in the Shadows it gets taken to a new level.

I really enjoyed Rhage’s point of view, although I have to admit, I like to see him more kicking ass than feeling down, I still enjoyed his page time.

Xcor and Layla’s story; things are not easy, but easy it’s never fun. I’m not sure how much I like Layla, but I love Xcor! And I want their story.

I really enjoyed iAm’s romance! I can’t say much about this without spoiling it. I liked iAm from the get-go. The unconditional love he feels for his brother won him a spot in my heart. I’m glad his journey to his happy ending was entertaining. I loved learning his story.

Now for the main couple, Trez and Selina. I was never a huge fan of Trez. He wasn’t a character that moved me, but his heartbreaking and emotional story changed all that.

I found myself totally engrossed by their drama. Their love story was complicated to begin with. Starting with Trez’ betrothal to the shadow princess, and then Selina battling an illness that takes the story to a different place and to a surprising ending. And it was surprising in many ways. First because I didn’t expect it to go the way it did (although I had a feeling) and then surprising because I came to accept and to believe that any other outcome wouldn’t have worked for me.

The story in general gets moved forward with new introductions. We still get the politics, the twists and turns I enjoy so much in this series. We hear more about The Band of Bastards. My feelings for some characters have changed, some for the good, other for the opposite, and that leads me to believe Ms. Ward can still manipulate my feelings…When she no longer can, I’ll be gone from Caldwell.

So all in all, I enjoyed The Shadows more than I enjoyed The King.

Sometimes I feel some things I loved about the original novels that I thought were cute have become and an annoyance – just like married people that have been married for too long…LOL, but you stay because they’re family. Somehow you wish you’ll fall in love again, and hope to feel what you felt when you first met, but yet it’s comfortable and you’re glad to be back…. This is exactly how I feel about this series.

So this was a hard one for me to rate. There were parts that were just OK for me, and others that I truly loved. I loved how The Shadows was reminiscent of the books I adore, and it reminded me why I’m not ready to give up on this series…Yet!

The Shadows Audiobook Narration

4.5 Hearts
Grey earphones

One of the biggest contributors to my enjoyment of being back in Caldwell, NY it’s being taken to this world by the constant voice of Jim Frangione. I love how he brings out the emotions, the way he makes the urban lingo authentic, and most of all, how his interpretation made me fall in love with this series.

I’m a listener of this series, and the way he read the characters names it’s been the way I’ve always known them, the way I love them.

Now 13 books into the series he’s pronouncing some names way different than before, and it was distracting, this and not a good practice for the interpretation of the series. Distractions take you out of the story…Not good for an audiobook.

One the main factors a narrator gets rated is by the consistency in which he takes you through the series. In your head, a character sounds the same throughout all the books, and it shouldn’t be different on an audiobook!

I’m glad it takes me so long to write reviews, because it gave me time to find out that he was told to do that!!

To the person responsible for this change: I’m sorry! But you don’t do that to the listeners! After years of knowing a character by a certain name you just don’t change their name! It would be the same thing if all of the sudden the author started to write the names of the characters in a different way! How do you think fans will react?!

Ok, my rant it’s done! I still LOVE Jim Frangione‘s interpretation of The Shadows, and to the old time fans of BDB audiobooks I say, you won’t’ be disappointed, just be warned about the names pronunciations change.

Author j. R. WardJ.R. Ward is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and is a multiple RITA nominee. A graduate of Smith College, she was a double major in History and Art History with a medieval concentration in both and she still longs at times for a return to those days sitting in dark lecture halls, looking at slides of old triptychs and reliquaries. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a corporate attorney, serving for many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching sites. Her idea of absolute heaven is a day filled with nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot and the Brothers, of course.

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Jim Frangione Narrator - Hot ListensJim Frangione has recoded over 100 audiobooks. In addition to Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie Mysteries and his new young adult series, the Bowser and Birdie stories, he is also the narrator for J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series and many others. Jim is a NYC-based actor and co-artistic director of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab, a new play development forum in Great Barrington, MA. He’s performed on TV, in many of the plays and films of David Mamet, with NY’s Atlantic Theater Company, On and Off Broadway, and at many theaters across the country.


I like to thank Penguin Audio for proving me with ARC of The Shadows in exchange for honest review.

Reviewed by:

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Loupe Duffy
A mom, a wife, a friend, a happy ending addict, an Audiobook junkie, a wine lover and geek wanna -be. I'm constantly looking to be blown away.
Loupe Duffy

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  1. I’m just a few hours in and I’ve noticed the pronunciation changes you mentioned. I had to stop and think about what he was talking about at first. It would’ve been nice if someone had given him the correct pronunciation a little sooner than Book 13. Oh well, I’m still enjoying the narration.

    • I totally agree Melanie. This should have been done a long time ago. Now it’s too late to do it without getting any backslash. I got a feeling listeners are going to be harsh, and it’s no even his fault.
      I’ve always Love his narrations, and The Shadows wasn’t the exception. I’m glad I found out before my review went up.

  2. Sigh…. I keep wavering on this series. I know some people really love it, and others have gotten frustrated. Maybe one of these days soon I can do some binge reading and get through them.

    • This was my introduction to audio smut, so it’s got special place in my heart!…LOL It’s really worth a shot, every book has and ending, so you can stop any time. I still want to keep going. The series has some awesome entries.

  3. That’s great you loved this one more than the book before it. It must be hard to read a series for so long and still love everything about it – that’s great you’re holding on still though!

    • Yes, I was glad too. A lot people don’t enjoy it as much any more, but I still want to see more 🙂

  4. Ugh, yes, I know, I need to read your favorite series already. Why can’t we just upload them to our brains already? Scientist need to get on that shit. lol

    • We all need to that..LOL but I swear, you must read or listen until a least book #3 which is one of my all-time fave books 🙂

  5. I got my copY The other day and like you I am not excited to read this because I didn’t like the last few books. For me I just cannot stand the level of angst in the series. It didn’t used to be like that, but I guess since readers are gravitating towards overly dramatic novels, she decided to do it with the brothers so it remains trendy. I miss Rhage though so that’s something to look forward to.

    Thanks for the well rounded feedback!

    • I enjoyed Rhage’s appearance for sure. I didn’t think Id get as pulled by the drama, but I surely did.
      I’m just glad I’m not ready to give up the series yet 🙂 I have special audiobook series that always take me away, and this is one of them.

  6. I was surprised to learn recently that authors aren’t contacted about the pronouciation of their unique words. I mean, why wouldn’t the audio producers ask if the words were being said correctly? It took 12 books before JR Ward realized the mistakes that were being made. I think with the popularity of audiobooks on the rise author’s are starting to take notice of these things.

    • Yes, it’s a shame that they don’t have an input and how their audiobooks are being handled.
      Producers better start taking a different approach. it’s becoming a huge industry (which this junkie loves! and I definitely think the author should have a big input about things likes names and the tone in which they want the characters to be delivered. A good chat between narrator and author should be a good practice before they produce the audio. Any kind of changes in long going series is distracting. A good read should mirror your inner-voice, and any variation it’s not good. This is almost just as bad as changing narrator in the middle of a series.
      I feel bad b/c he’s being blamed, just like I’d had blamed him if I didn’t know he was told to do that. It was too late to this changes. I don’t care that they were wrong, they were right to me!

  7. I always struggle to summarize my thoughts on these too. They’re so huge and not just the page count. There’s so many storylines and interwoven plots. Glad it landed on the good side of the rating scale.

    • They are!There was no way I could have told you what I loved and what was just OK without making two
      Thank you, I’m glad it did too 🙂

  8. Seriously, it’s been forever since I read a JR book. happy the Brotherhood is still doing good. Great review.

    • Thank you Jennifer! I’m a huge fan of this series, and I’m glad I still enjoy it 🙂

  9. I know most readers adore this series, but I’m afraid I’m not that much into it. I absolutely loved Zsadist (#3) but completely hated Butch’s book (#4) and it brought me to a halt. I’ll pick it up sometime though 🙂

    • I LOVED Zsadist too! And it’s one of my favorites. I rated Butch’s book which I read only 3 stars, but then I revisit when the audio came out and enjoyed it a lot more. So I know the narrator of this series has a lot to do with my enjoyment, and this is one those series that I’m not ready to let go even if some of my readers peeps have. I still enjoy it 🙂 But I know how a book can bring a series to a halt, I have many like that too 🙁

  10. Like you, I’ll be going into The Shadows with a lukewarm feeling. I’m not that thrilled where this series has been going either. Sorry to hear about your rant regarding the narrator saying names differently. I do like Frangione’s narrations. Wonderful review, Loupe!

    • I wonder what side of the rating scale are you going to fall…Just be warned of the name changes, and I hope you don’t find them as distracting as I did.
      All I can hope for is that enjoy it as much as I did or even more 🙂
      Thank your Grace!

  11. wow book 13? So many books! I have 4 books in the series but I haven’t tried them yet, I’m anxious to be disappointed I confess… one day!

    • It was one my first PNR romance series, so it’s go special place. Plus it helped me fall in love with audiobooks 🙂

  12. Okay you may have convinced me to give this one a go. I got it for review and I’ve not loved the series recently even though it’s one of my favorites. I’ll hang in there for this one and keep my fingers crossed 😀 Thanks Loupe!

    • I don’t know how far back are you in the series, but just a warning, the series went to a big change since Lover Reborn. It started to feel more like UF than PRN to me. They haven’t been just focused on the main couple as the original books. I didn’t mind the change and I have enjoyed all the books since, but a lot romance fans haven’t 🙁
      You’ll never know until you read it I guess, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I always wish peeps have the same experience.

      • Yeah I really did not like that change in the series and how it was written. That’s why I quit it. I’m hoping going back in I can just look at it like a different series maybe. I don’t know. Fingers crossed!

  13. Oh wow I bet that is distracting that the narrator is pronouncing the character’s names differently. I haven’t listened to this series before (and I’ve only read the first 6 books) but if I do pick up the series again I’ll check out the audiobooks. Awesome review- I’m intrigued!

    • I know!! You know how it is. If we have heard something pronounced (specially names) a certain way the changes are very distracting 🙁
      I just hope more people finds out that it wasn’t the narrators fault, that he was told to do that.
      Thank you Lucy!

  14. I can imagine how distractive it must be to hear names you’ve been hearing from 13 books sound different. That’s a no-no in my vocabulary.
    I didn’t know if I wanted to read this book, then I got curious, but after I read some spoilers I decided to skip it. What Ward did with the heroine goes against everything I know about PNR. That’s another NO-NO for me, but this one deserves capitals.

    • It’s ironic in a way, I had a hard time with this book at first and the the last 7 hours really pulled me in. It goes to show you that time and time again two people never read the same book. I didn’t know this was coming, but any other ending wouldn’t have worked for me without feeling silly.
      I can understand people’s disappointment. I wouldn’t compare this to theChicagoland vampires. It’s done in a different way, but I never picked up another one of those books, so I can understand some people’s anger.
      What I don’t understand is people rating books that they haven’t read or listened to.
      Yeah the names change was a bummer. I hear some readers complain, but I didn’t care what was the right way to say them. Those names were right to me since the beginning of the series. I wish the narrator wasn’t told to that that 🙁

  15. are their multiple POV’s in this one? coz that whats kinda killed reading the series for me.

    Love the review Loupe, I’ve always wanted to see where she went with the Shadows…I was never interested in Trez though more iAM ;D

    • Sorry Sharonda! I just saw your comment. Yes, there are, and I think that made a lot other peeps get away from the series. I feel the series took a big detour after Lover Reborn, but I was OK with the new direction, but I can totally understand if you were not. This was reminiscent of the earlier novels, but the love story is a hard one, and it doesn’t have the typical ending 🙁 It’s just a matter how much you enjoy being back in that world, which I still do 🙂


  1. Audiobook News & Reviews: 03/31 – 04/03 - […] Listens reviews The Shadows, by J.R. Ward, narrated by jim […]

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