This was my favorite of the Black Daggeer Brotherhood novels. There is even more depth to Phury than was seen in other novels. The depth of his suffering, of his love of family and of his brother in particular. Even he was not aware of it's true nature. It might help to read about Zadist first but not necessary. All of J. R. Ward's books are great but definately this one is my favorite.
Poor Phury, having to service 40 virgins. (insert eye roll here)
I thought it was brave for Ward to center this book around an addict. I also like the fact that addiction was an ongoing struggle for Phury and not a quick fix (no pun intended) at the end. I also loved what Phury ended up doing with the Chosen because really the original way of doing things just didn't make sense. Have they ever heard of inbreeding and not putting all your eggs in one basket?
I have to admit I didn't read Z and Bella's story so I might have missed Phury descend in character but it was awful fast. I also didn't peg him for a sadist in the other books since Z overshadowed him maybe. I thought there were a lot of weird inconsistency in Phury's character.
I loved the side stories though. The John/Blay/Qhuinn dynamic was great as usual. I really felt or Blay and admired his character for his maturity and honesty.
Cormia, though innocent, was sweet. I didn't think she was too similar to Marissa. There are some similarities but not enough for me to think they were interchangeable.
Overall it was a good book. I definitely recommend you read these in order.