The Beast (Black Dagger Brotherhood #14) by J.R. Ward – Bout-of-Books 18 Review

thebeastNothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself 
For Rhage the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart life was supposed to be perfect. Or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. But he can’t understand or control the panic and insecurity that plague him. Terrified, he must reassess his priorities after suffering a mortal injury. And the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his and his beloved Mary’s world… 

Gotta tell ya, Rhage scared me in this one. To be honest, he scared pretty much everyone who cared about him, including himself. He wasn’t quite sure where his head was or his heart, which was totally not like him since his Mary came into his life. So yeah, he scared me. Mary scared me and then they both totally broke me. *sigh*

It’s kind of hard not to know where things are going from pretty early on, but the journey is so totally worth it, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else. Just know that a LOT happens in The Beast and not just to Mary and Rhage.

One of the things I like most about this series is something that some readers complain about, which is the multiple POVs. I love spending page time with familiar characters and the introduction of new characters. To me it gives this series a ‘family’ feel, which is exactly what the Brotherhood is. More than once in The Beast, the entire family was there physically for whoever was in need of their support.

There were tears – both happy and sad, life or death situations, more than a few nail biting moments, some jaw dropping revelations and alliances that were unexpected. Pretty much what faithful readers have come to expect from the BDB and more.

Needless to say I can’t wait until the next book in the series is released. I’ve been patiently waiting on the paperback versions for the last couple of books, but but I don’t think I can put off The Chosen (Layla & Xcor) that long. Plus, there are so many other loose ends left hanging at the end of The Beast. Waiting until April will be long enough.

DragonFlyRating5

 

The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood #13) by J.R. Ward

TheShadowsTwo 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.

This is a tough one to review for a lot of reasons. First, I totally understand why some people didn’t like it. I get it. I really, really do. For that reason, I honestly hope that those same people understand all the reasons why I’m still sticking with this series. Hopefully we can agree to disagree. There may come a time when I get tired of it, but I haven’t reached that point yet.

The Shadows was not a typical PNR, which upset a lot of readers. I knew how things were going to go for Trez and Selena a little more than half way through the book. I’m not going to lie. I thought about putting the book down and walking away at that point, but I just couldn’t do it. On the off chance that there is a reader out there somewhere that doesn’t know how this story ends, I’m not going to give anything away. Just know that there will be tears.

For me, this story went beyond the love between Trez and Selena. It included the love of the Brothers and the sacrifices that iAm had endured trying to protect Trez from the very beginning. It’s hard to think of a guy like Trez as a good guy, but if you earned his trust you had his support. Because of that, he in turn earned the support of not just Wrath, but every brother as well as their mates. iAm was given the same consideration. There was a powerful connection between them all.

Things didn’t work out perfectly for everyone, but it still came to a satisfying close for me. I’ll even forgive JR Ward for all the tears. At least one of the Shadow brothers walked away with a bittersweet ending and I’m hoping that somewhere down the line that there’s just a little hope for the other.

As is expected in all the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, there’s a lot more going on besides the ‘main event.’ There’s a shift in power inside the Bastard’s camp that is going to prove to be interesting. The Lessers are upping there game and gaining some unexpected alliances. There are also a few new characters coming into the fold that I’m curious about. It also looks like the next book in the series will feature a previous couple which I always enjoy.

So yeah, I’m not quite done with this corny bunch of alpha males. I agree, there’s a lot of ‘name brand’ dropping and more than a little of the ‘same old – same old’ but not enough for me to not still love these guys. I’m looking forward to whatever else JR Ward has in store for some of my favorite Vamps.

DragonFlyRating4

Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

Butch O’Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he’s the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world-to engage in the turf war with the lessers. His heart belongs to a female vampire, Marissa, an aristocratic beauty who’s way out of his league. And if he can’t have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers.

But fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he’s found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him.

I’m not sure if I’m in the minority here or not, but Lover Revealed is one of my favorite BDB books. I’m not saying that Butch is my favorite character – I’ve said more than once that I can’t pick one, but there is just something about this one that draws me in. I don’t know if it’s because of how much Butch wants to belong, the connection between him and Vishous, his love and respect for all the brothers or his raw devotion to Marissa. I just know that my opinion about Lover Revealed doesn’t change no matter how many times I read it.

Butch doesn’t have as much back story as the vampires that he is surrounded by, but it doesn’t make what he has experienced any less painful. We saw how unconnected to anyone he was when Ward first introduced him in Dark Lover. He’s come a long way since then. In each book he’s come closer and and more trusted by the Brotherhood. He’s still on the fringes though and he’s also in love with someone who he feels is totally out of reach. Ward’s solution to Butch’s circumstance is brilliant.

Marissa may have been surrounded by family and aristocracy, but she is just as disconnected as Butch. They are perfect together. I love her devotion to Butch and his patience and tenderness with her. I love the way she learns to stand up for herself (even though she made me mad more than once) and watching her grow as an individual, not just a ‘token’ female.

The journey that all the characters take in Lover Revealed is sometimes painful to watch, but it builds to where it needs to go. Without the pain the good parts wouldn’t be nearly as good. The rewards in this one are almost worth the pain.

Butch, Vishous and Marissa are front and center in Lover Revealed, but other characters are also featured and we see sides of them that we haven’t seen before. John Matthew goes through a lot in this book and his story is far from over. We get to learn more about Rehvenge and Xhex is also introduced. I think the biggest surprise to some readers will be a glimpse into the softer side of Wrath. I’ve always liked Wrath, but Lover Revealed shows you just how compassionate a king he is and how devoted he is to those he considers his family.

Who was my favorite character in Lover Revealed? Even though I don’t have a favorite brother, Vishous was my favorite character in this book. He may be the most broken of all the brothers. He just does a great job of hiding it. His love for Butch is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Butch’s love and devotion to him is almost equal to his love of Marissa. It’s just not something you see very often and having these strong men break down and show each other that raw emotion makes them more real. Ward does a great job of making these characters ‘human.’

Okay, I’ve gushed enough. The next book in the series is Lover Unbound. It’s another heartbreaker, but what book in this series isn’t? Ward rewards us for sticking with her through the heartbreak though. That’s what keeps us coming back for more. 😉

Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…

If you polled BDB readers about who their favorite brother was, odds are Zsadist would come out on top. You may be hard pressed to figure out why until you read Lover Awakened. Trust me, once you’ve read it, even if he isn’t your favorite, you will totally understand why he is chosen by so many.

Ward introduces us to Zsadist in Dark Lover in a very strong way. She lets you see exactly how unbalanced, feared and savage he can be. The only person who trusts him at all is his twin, Phury. In Lover Eternal we’re given a glimpse of Z’s vulnerability and Bella’s initial attraction to him. Lover Awakened brings Z’s story full circle and it is totally worth the wait.

In the first two books in this series Ward gives us a little bit of information on the background of Wrath and Rhage. Lover Awakened is the first book in the series that I feel really delves into the character’s background. Because Zsadist and Phury are so tied together you get to see their history from both of them. The background stories are painful, but they give you an important image of the characters. Their history is what makes them who they are now. Without these histories, you wouldn’t really know or appreciate where either Phury or Zsadist are coming from in this book. It was very well done and adds a lot to the feel of the book.

Zsadist is given almost a child-like quality in Lover Awakened. For all his strength and anger, he really is clueless when it comes to love. Not necessarily loving others but allowing himself to be loved or feeling like he deserved it. He doesn’t feel worthy and pushes everyone away. I think it’s all these qualities that make us all love him so much. Bella’s patience with Zsadist along with her determination and love for him make this one of the most touching books in the series. Hard to believe that this isn’t one of my favorite books in the series isn’t it? Imagine how someone who is totally devoted to Zsadist would review it? 😉

Lover Awakened not only deals with Zsadist and Bella, but true to Ward’s style with this series, several new characters are introduced and other characters’ POV are given. That’s what keeps this series so interesting. We learn a lot more about John Matthew, Butch is given some more time and some important key characters that will be featured in future books are finally introduced.

I think that I should stop before I give any more away. I’ll just leave you with a warning. As much as Lover Eternal was the first book in the series that broke my heart, parts of this book tore it apart. Expect more tears. There is a lot of pain in this one, but there is also a lot of love and there are even a few surprises. Hang in there, as usual, there is a balance and Ward makes it all worth it. Enjoy!

I’m not even sure how many times I’ve read this one, but when a book can make you feel as much as this one does no matter how many times you read it…. well, there you go. 

SeriouslySeries2013Plug

Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood #2) by J.R. Ward

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war raging between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret bound of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed bu a deadly beast Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant to Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…

DejaVuReviewGraphicI’m not sure exactly what it is about these BDB boys, but they totally get under my skin. It’s not just the heat (not that the ‘heat’ isn’t worth reading) it’s the intense emotions that these tortured souls evoke. Wrath’s book gave us just a glimpse into his mysterious brothers. Even though Dark Lover may be one of my favorites, Lover Eternal was the first book that came close to breaking my heart. Yep, the emotion is that intense. At least it was for me.

We were introduced to Rhage’s beast in Dark Lover. We saw the torment, pain and fear he experienced each time the beast took over. In Lover Eternal we saw even more of the pain Rhage lived with, more than he even let the brothers see. Rhage put up quite a front and hid behind his reputation. On the surface he was a playboy, but underneath that mask he was broken. Then Mary came into his life. They weren’t looking for each other, but fate brought them together. Their story is amazingly beautiful and heartbreaking. They need each other desperately but there is so much going against them that the odds are insurmountable. Yes there were tears. More than once there were tears.

I love the way these books are written, mainly because Ward gives each of her key characters a voice. It gives the story so much more depth. You get inside not only Rhage and Mary’s head, but you also get a feel for everyone else, including the bad guys. Several new characters were also introduced in Lover Eternal, which keeps things interesting.

One of the best things about these books is the cast of characters and they are always changing. Ward keeps throwing new players into the mix. That’s a good thing, because as long as there are new characters, there will be new books. As long as there are new BDB books, I will keep reading them. It’s a vicious cycle I know, but one I’m fully prepared to continue. 😉

On a side note, I think this marks my 3rd time reading Lover Eternal. Yeah, it’s kind of corny at times and yeah there were some moments that weren’t exactly perfect, but my initial feeling about this one still hasn’t changed. When I read a book this many times and there are moments that still hit me hard enough to make me even a little teary, I can’t deny it. I’m just one of those readers that is still and always will be a lover of the BDB. 😉

SeriouslySeries2013Plug

Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11) by J.R. Ward

LoverAtLastQhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another….

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions… but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together… finally become one.

Those of us who are stead fast fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood have been waiting for this book since we noticed the first spark between Blay and Qhuinn. Every moment of denial about their true feelings has been pure torture. Thank goodness they finally get their turn. That’s not to say that this book immediately brought them to where they ultimately needed to be. That’s just not Ward’s style. No, she has to make her readers work for it. I’m not complaining though. The wait is usually worth it and Lover At Last definitely came through.

This was one of those books that I spent a lot of time wanting to grab the characters by their ears, throw them in a room and make them talk. The thing is that Blay and Qhuinn were both equally stubborn. They both wanted the best for each other and neither one of them thought that they were it. Silly warriors. *sigh* Blay thought that Qhuinn had committed himself to Layla and Qhuinn thought that Blay was totally committed to Saxton. It seems that they were the only two people that were totally oblivious to the fact that they were meant for each other. As frustrating as it was, it was necessary. It just wouldn’t have been a BDB book if things would have just fallen into place now would it? 😉

What were some of my favorite moments in Lover At Last? I loved that Qhuinn finally got a chance to shine – out from under the shadow of his miserable childhood. Blay’s parents were the polar opposite of Qhuinn’s and I loved them even more by the end of this book. I also found a whole new respect for Saxton. As much as I wanted to hate him for keeping Qhuinn and Blay apart, he stepped aside. Trust me, there’s a lot more to love that you just have to experience for yourself. For me, these were just the highlights. Not necessarily one of my favorite moments but one that was totally deserved was when Havers had to face a couple of irate warriors. I honestly didn’t think I could hate him any more than I already did but the good doctor hit an all time low in Lover At Last.

As with all of the BDB books, there is a lot more going on than just between the two main characters. Lover At Last was full of side stories. Granted, some of them were more interesting than others, but they all added to the intrigue. I’m going to enjoy getting to know some of these characters even better. Including the Band of Bastards, especially Xcor. I really never thought I’d say that, but he’s kind of growing on me. Trez and iAm had quite a story line going on as well and getting to know more about these Shadow brothers is going to be more than a little interesting.

Was Lover At Last perfect? Of course not, very few books are. There could have been a little more from some characters and a little less from others, but all in all it was everything I expected and then some. Things are far from settled as far as the war between the race and the lessers, but that’s okay. It just means that there is much more to come. Given the fact that the next book is The King (yep, we’re back to Wrath in Book #12) things are far from over for our beloved Black Dagger Brotherhood, and that’s a very good thing. 😉DragonFlyRating5

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*

Father Mine: Zsadist and Bella’s Story by J.R. Ward

Readers met and fell in love with Zsadist and Bella in J. R. Ward’s third New York Times bestselling novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Lover Awakened. As a former blood slave, Zsadist bore the scars from a past filled with suffering and degradation until Bella came along and helped heal his emotional wounds. Now, though, with the birth of their child, the demons of his past have been resurrected, called forth by the innocent eyes of his beloved daughter, Nalla.  Unless Bella and Nalla can bring him back with their love, he may be lost to them forever.

This is the second time that I have read through this Novella. I won’t even tell you how many times that I have read through most of the series. Let’s just say, I have a serious addiction to the BDB Boys. I’d become concerned, but I am in very good company. I have my favorite books in the series, but not really a favorite Brother. I do have to admit that Zsadist is one who gets to me. I loved him in Lover Awakened and he has continued to touch me with his love and devotion to Bella since then. I thought that he couldn’t get to me any more, but boy, was I wrong.

If you’ve read through the series and want something extra that is well worth the read, don’t deny yourself Father Mine. There really aren’t any words to describe the feelings that this story evokes. It pulls at every heart string available and keeps tugging. I’m really not exaggerating here. It’s a story I know that I will be reading again. It wasn’t just Zsadist that made this story worthwhile. I loved how Bella was treated by Ward. It was great to get to know her a little better and also to get little tidbits from the other characters. You saw sides of all of them that were like private little tidbits and made me want even more. One of my favorite interactions in this story was near the end. It was a ‘conversation’ between Bella and Nalla that was so spot on with what a mother would say to an exasperated young child. It simply made me smile. Perfect!

Even though Father Mine is a quick read, it packs a whole lot of emotion in a short amount of time. I’d recommend it to anyone who has read through the series. If you want to read it in order, I think it comes right after Phury’s book, Lover Enshrined.

Enjoy!

Lover Unleashed by JR Ward

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

Brace yourself. I think that this is the first Black Dagger Brotherhood book that I have read that I am not giving a 5 Star review to. Before we go there, it has nothing to do with how I liked the book. I actually liked it a lot more than I thought. The real issue is that I wanted more. Not that this book didn’t pack a lot into it, there was an awful lot going on. I just wanted more on everything that was there.

Lover Unleashed was Manny and Payne’s story, but as usual, theirs were not the only story told. Jane, V, Butch, Qhuinn and others all had voices in this one. Just a word of warning, as usual, V tore me up in this one. I didn’t think it was possible after Lover Unbound to feel anymore compassion toward the guy, but trust me. If you are a fan of V you are going to want to reach into this book and hug him, hard. You’re also going to want to share some of that love and compassion for Butch. Come to think of it, I’m not sure which one of these two deserves it more. I’ve always had a soft spot for Butch, Lover Unleashed just made it softer. *sigh*

I felt for Jane in Lover Unleashed as well, but most of the time, she just made me mad. I know that probably wasn’t fair, because the reader knows more than she does, but her reactions just drove me crazy in some cases. JR Ward has a habit of bringing out the ‘mom’ in me though. Sometimes I just want to grab some of these characters by the collar, lock them in a room together and give them a huge time out!

Speaking of which, there is no one in Lover Unleashed that I wanted to lock in a room together for enlightenment more than Qhuinn and Blay. They don’t even really communicate period in this book, but the turmoil that they put each other through is heart breaking. Besides that, I don’t have any real concrete reason to dislike Saxton, but I really do. There is just something about him that rubs me wrong. Maybe it’s just because he isn’t Qhuinn? Yeah, that might be it.

Lover Unleashed is another book that leaves out the Lesser POV. That’s okay though, because you get introduced to an even more interesting group of …. well, you’ll have to read Lover Unleashed to see what’s coming. These guys are going to play a huge role in the next BDB books, I’m sure. Ward also uses Lover Unleashed to introduce her feature character in Envy, which is part of her Fallen Angel series. I know some people weren’t happy about this introduction and I can respect that. I didn’t share their disappointment though. I’m a fan of both series, and I actually like it when the two ‘worlds’ interact in some way.

So what did I want more of? Actually, all of it. I wanted more of Payne and Manny, more of V, Jane and Butch with a little more Marissa thrown in and mostly I think I wanted more of Qhuinn and Blay with a little bit more from Blay’s POV. I still loved the book and I know that there is more in store for Manny, which is good. I was happy with the ending, but I know his story is far from over. If you haven’t read any of Ward’s Fallen Angel series, now would be a good time to start. You don’t need to read one series to appreciate the other, but it does make it more cohesive in the long run. What’s next for the Black Dagger Brotherhood? Unfortunately, fans of the BDB boys will have to wait until the end of March 2012 to find out. Lover Reborn will be Tohr’s book. Something tells me more tears will be involved. *sigh*

Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward

In Caldwell, New York, war rages between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now the cold heart of a cunning predator will be warmed against its will…

Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, son of the Bloodletter, possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father’s war camp he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time-until a destiny he didn’t choose takes him into a future that cannot include her.

Oh Vishous. *sigh*

I’m not really sure where to begin. This book was one of my favorites. Not just because of Vishous and Mary, but because of all the other tangents that this one took off on. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve read it. Almost impossible to explain if you haven’t read any of the other books, but here goes nothing.

I think one of my favorite relationships in all of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books is the one between Vishous and Butch. They’ve had the best friend vibe ever since the two of them were introduced in Dark Lover. I love the way they interact, I love the bond that they have and I love the way that Vishous is tormented by his feelings and Butch just accepts them. It’s probably something that I should be totally weirded out by, but I never have. I guess, like Butch, I just accept it. As smart as Vishous is, Butch is sometimes smarter when it comes to feelings. Maybe that’s where the balance comes in. Whatever it is, it works for me and I hope it continues throughout the rest of the series.

Phury and his personal demons come front and center in Lover Unbound. That’s only fitting since the next book in the series is Phury’s Lover Enshrined. Phury is a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood who hides his demons well. You begin to see things start to unravel for him in Lover Unbound though. It’s a great glimpse into what’s to come in his book.

Lover Unbound also features more of the mystery of John Matthew. This is one character that is built upon a little more in each book. Be patient, even if you don’t understand what all the fuss is about. He is a character that deserves every bit of the build up he is given. Besides, what’s not to love about John Matthew? Quinn and Blay are characters that deserve the extra attention too. The more you read the BDB books, the more you realize that face time with characters isn’t something to be taken lightly. They will more than likely return.

One of the things that I found pleasantly missing from this book was the Lesser point of view. I always read them, unless I’m doing a reread, because they do give you some insight and important details. Vishous’ back story and history in Lover Unbound more than makes up for the lack of Lesser POV. It also gives you some important details into the history of some other characters. Some of these backgrounds are really hard to read because Ward doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the pain that these characters have endured in the past. They are important to read though because they give the reader some insight into how these brothers became who they are today.

This was the third time that I read Lover Unbound. I’m warning first time readers now that there will be tears. I got to a certain point and didn’t want to go on because I knew what was coming. The power of Ward’s writing is that no matter how many times I read it and how prepared I think I may be, certain scenes effect me the same way every time. That’s why I keep coming back for more.