Lover Reborn by J. R. Ward

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward’s “different, creative, dark, violent, and flat-out amazing”* Black Dagger Brotherhood continues as a vampire warrior crosses the line between life and death…into a world of dark dreams and darker desires.

Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment is a heartbroken shadow of the vampire leader he once was. Brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel, he fights again with ruthless vengeance- and is unprepared for a new tragedy. Seeing his beloved in dreams—trapped in a cold, desolate netherworld—he turns to the angel to save his former mate, only to despair at the path he himself must take to set her free. As war with the lessers rages, and a new clan of vampires vies for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between an unforgettable past, and a future that he doesn’t know he can live with… but can’t seem to turn away from.

In all fairness, I knew that this book was going to tear me to pieces before I even read it. How could it not. I’m still not sure that I have forgiven J.R. Ward for what she did to Tohr and John Matthew when Wellsie died. I mean really, you can blame the Lessers all you want, but ultimately Ward is responsible. It’s a good thing I’m a forgiving person. ;)

I honestly couldn’t see how Tohr could ever recover from the loss. He pushed away everyone, including John Matthew and seemed to be only biding time until he could join Wellsie in the Fade. He definitely wouldn’t be out searching for a new mate. Therefore the only logical solution would be for him to end up with someone he already knew. Someone who was ‘safe’ to relate to. Someone that wasn’t looking for a romantic involvement anymore than he was. That someone turned out to be No’One and Ward couldn’t have come up with a better solution.

There was so much to love about this book, I’m not sure where to even start. I know that part of that was because of the anticipation, but it had more to do with the overall story. Trust me, there was a lot of story there. There’s a reason why this is the longest book so far. Tohr and No’One are obviously front and center, but the side stories are just as important.

Tohr’s pain was still so raw in this book. He was putting up a good front, but he wasn’t really fooling anyone. No’One was basically just in survival mode herself. She spent her existence waiting on people and didn’t know how to live any other way. She wanted a relationship with her daughter, but she wasn’t sure how to accomplish it. Basically, she was lost. Watching the relationship happen between Tohr and No’One was amazing. True, it was awkward at times and they both fought it more than was necessary but if it would have been easy for either of them the final outcome wouldn’t have been as believable. They were both still suffering and whether they wanted to admit it or not, they needed each other. The outcome was inevitable, but not forced. There were times when I could have slapped Tohr, but it was hard to stay mad at him.

As mentioned, there was a lot going on in this book. Ward had promised that things would be hard for John Matthew and Xhex. She definitely keeps her promises. What they went through in Lover Reborn was almost as painful as what Tohr and No’One experienced. They are one of my favorite couples and watching them struggle was hard, but it made sense. No other bonded male had to experience what John Matthew did. None of the other mates fought with the brotherhood so Xhex fighting alongside him, putting herself in constant danger, was more than he was willing to allow. You can pretty much guess how Xhex handled that one.

Then there was the Band of Bastards. Their side story took the place of the standard Lesser story line. I have to be honest and say that I enjoyed their side story much more than I ever did reading about the Lessers. The Band of Bastards actually had a few qualities that made them almost likable. Okay, maybe likeable is stretching it, but I did like learning about them and finding out more about what made them tick. It will be interesting to see where Ward takes these boys. It is obvious that they will play an important role in future books. They may be the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s sworn enemies, but they share the goal of eradicating the Lessers, which should keep things really interesting.

For those who love Lassiter and his smart, witty banter, you are in for a treat. There is a lot of Lassiter to go around in this one. You get more of the real reason he is still hanging around and readers get to know him a lot better. There’s more behind the angel than meets the eye. Some of the revelations even surprise Lassiter himself. I can’t wait until he gets his own book, which Ward has promised, by the way.

Then there was Qhuinn. Oh how I love that boy and Lover Reborn did nothing to change my opinion of him. I wasn’t even finished reading this book when I found out that Ward had announced that the next book would be devoted to Blay and Qhuinn. I was so excited. Now that I’ve finished the book, I’m even more excited. Those two boys need their HEA and the story line that was introduced in Lover Reborn is bound to make it even more interesting for this pair. *sigh*

As for Tohr and No’One? if you are a fan of the BDB and have read all the books, you know that this love story isn’t going to be an easy one. As a matter of fact it is a heart breaker and not in a small way. I expected there to be tears, but wow…. Ward outdid herself, honest. I almost made it to the end before I totally lost it. Almost… and I thought I was home free. Then there were even more tears. Don’t let that discourage you though. Every tear was worth it and it will be a book that I read again…. and again… and – well, you get the picture… *sigh*