Saturday, April 9

Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. 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. {goodreads}
Initial Thoughts
Of all the PNR books out there today, I'd have to say that Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood's series is one of my absolute favorites. With each new installment, I find myself biting my nails and literally going crazy waiting for each release date to arrive. Lover Unleashed was no exception. Although, I will admit to being a bit skeptical for two reasons: 1.) The predecessor to Lover Unleashed, Lover Mine was in one word, "brilliant," so anything after had a massive pair of proverbial shit-kickers to fill. 2.) Word on the street was that "this book fell short" in the romance department. Having now read Lover Unleashed, book #9 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, {sighs in relief} I am happy to report that my preconceived skepticism was, as Ward puts it, no "BFD." LOL, here's the low down.

The Good
Overall, I really enjoyed Lover Unleashed. Payne, sister to Vishous and daughter of the scribe virgin was a completely different person in this book. No longer the hard-arse, kickin' the crap out of Wrath type, this Payne is innocently naive. Still a warrior at heart, it was nice to see her with her guard down, especially as she experiences the emotions of "first time" love with Manny. Vishous and Jane get a lot of page time in this book. For V, his emotions are on overdrive, and  facing them force him, Jane, and Butch down a very, very, dark path. This is a much needed journey, one that leads V to reveal his true feelings for both Jane and Butch.  Finally!! A new character is introduced in this book, XCOR, who comes with a very interesting back story, along with a merry band of bastards. Warden opens up a whole new can of worms with these characters, and I'm interested to see what their role will be in the future. Last but not least, the Lesser dialogue, which normally consumes so much of the series is almost non-existent in this book YEAH, we get a break from Mr. D, Mr. X, Omega yada...yada crap!

The Bad
My only issue with Lover Unleashed is that most of my favorite characters/brothers are MIA. I really wanted a glimpse of how the couples: Wrath and Beth, Mary and Rhage, Butch and Marissa, Phury and Cormia, Rhevenge and Elena, John Matthew and Xhex are doing. Unfortunately, there wasn't any. Also missing from the scene is Tohr, Lassiter, and most importantly, N'One. I'm pretty sure that N'One is supposed to be Payne's caretaker, although there is no mention of her within the book. I also would have liked to see some headway with Qhuin and Blay, but again, no such luck. Poor Qhuay:(

Overall Reaction
Lover Unleashed is a great addition to the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I found the relationship between Manny and Payne to be, in simple terms, sweet and I look forward to seeing where the Warden takes them in the future. I'm also extremely happy the Warden introduced us to some new characters, one's that will hopefully keep the BDB series alive for a long long time, true! I'll admit that yes, the book has some issues, but for the most part, these issues are minor and not distracting enough to take away from the integrity of the story. In the end, it's "No BFD!"

Final Rating: 4 out of 5

Book Information
Title: Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #9)
Author: J. R. Ward
Publisher: NAL
Published: 03/29/11
Page Count: 489, Hardcover
Available at:  Borders  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

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  1. Great review, Kristin! I really missed Lassiter in this book, but overall I liked it, too. And you make a good point, No'One is supposed to be Payne's caretaker, so it was kind of weird that we didn't see her. But Payne and Manny are an awesome couple, and I can't wait for Tohr's book!

  2. Hey Rach

    I was surprised their was no mention of N'One... I wonder if there's a reason she's MIA.. Hmph, and Tohr was pretty much MIA throughout the book as well.... This is all startin to make sense now!!! Lol!

    ;) Kristin

  3. I agree with your four out of five stars. I really enjoyed the book, but was also sad not see my faves. JM was there for half a page, and we only saw a tiny bit of Wrath. Word on the street is that Tohr and No'One get together, so that will be excited to read about next year. I re-read the end of Lover Mine, and I think that while No'One asked to go to the other world to care for Payne, her real goal was to get to know Xhex. Perhaps that's why we didn't see her.

  4. Too much of this book feels transitory for it to be strong enough to stand on its own. For a reader new to the series, I would say absolutely do NOT read this novel first! Obviously, starting at the beginning is best, but most of the other books are strong enough that a new reader could pick them up and enjoy the stories even with the multiple story arcs and ever-growing roster of characters.


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