Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #9
March 29, 2011
Reviewed by Mandi
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.
Please note: Spoilers Below!!
Lover Unleashed, book nine in my beloved Black Dagger Brotherhood series is Manny and Payne’s book – or so we were told. But honestly, this book is Vishous’s. True? Vishous steals the show. Manny and Payne have a romance, but their story is nothing compared to V’s. Nothing. There is also no way this one can be read as a stand alone – you need V’s backstory throughout the entire series to get anything from this book.
I was definitely disappointed with the ending of V’s book Lover Unbound, when Jane was turned into a ghost. Not only with the ghost aspect, but I just wanted more of a closure with V and Jane but we get it in this book. V is not in a good place. Payne comes to his side, paralyzed from a sparring session with Wrath. Vishous has had no idea in the 300 years he has been alive that he even had a twin sister. The Scribe Virgin, their mother (who is not in this book which is a shame), has had Payne imprisoned. Now she is here, in his life, and the protectiveness V feels for her is out of control.
When Jane calls Manny in to help operate on her, there is that instant “mine” between them (even though Manny is a human). This does not go over well with V, as Butch and the other brothers struggle to keep him from killing Manny. As time goes on, V goes into an even deeper downward spiral. Payne doesn’t heal as she should, and when Jane attempts something shocking, he walks away – from Jane. This scene is very moving and well done. What we really get is V coming to terms with his abusive father, his negligent mother, and his role as a hellren. Yes he loves Jane, but can he overcome his past, and his current broken self to give her what she needs? Can he fulfill the new role as a brother to Payne?
Butch plays a very important role in “saving” V. I won’t go into specifics as to not spoil too much, but this issue had to be addressed. He is in love with Butch as we all know. We finally get a little more exploration into this relationship – the one we were teased with in Lover Unbound.
As the other continued fighting, the pair of them just stared at each other against the audio backdrop of grunts and metal-to-metal strikes and inventive cursing. There should be something said between them, V thought. There was just so much…to be said.
“I want it from you,” V bit out. “I need it.”
Butch nodded. “I know.”
And just to note – the “it” is not exactly what you think. Also *Mandi dies*
Before I started the book I thought how in the world will anything happen between V and Butch with both of them mated (to Jane and Marissa). But it works out totally fine. And it is not the actual scene that fulfilled me, but a scene with them later – a very quiet peaceful moment that to me, lets me breathe a sigh of contentment for these two males. I still don’t know if JR Ward gives Butch and V a fair shot – the big scene with V and Butch is kind of short. But I’m glad she does what she does.
And I have to say, I actually liked Jane in this book – crazy, right? I think JR Ward does a nice job with the emotional turmoil between these two. There is one scene where V just walks away from her – and it is heartbreaking. But I get her more. I understand her more. I like her with V now. I’m content with their relationship. And we get several dirty sex scenes with them:
His gloved hand dipped under the black satin, and she didn’t have to see where it went to be well aware he’d gripped himself. The fact that he arched back told her everything she needed to know. That and the way he bit down on his lower lip.
“Are you just going to watch, true?”
We also get some classic V and Butch moments that make me smile:
Butch clapped him on the shoulder. “Listen to me. You have the fashion sense of a park bench and the interpersonal skills of a meat cleaver – “
“Is this suppose to be helping?”
“Let me finish-“
“What’s next? The size of my cock?”
“Hey, even pencils can get the job done – I’ve heard the moaning from your room to prove it.”
Let’s move onto Blay and Qhuinn, or as they are called “Qhuay.” They had such a presence in Lover Mine I am disappointed with the lack of progress in their relationship. I hear a novella might be in the works for them so maybe JR Ward is saving up for that – but still, there is no Qhuay in this book. We get a tiny bit with Blay and Saxton. And we get a little more than that with Qhuinn and Layla (OMG – I can’t even go there right now). We get a big reveal with Qhuinn – something that will happen in the future. We need to discuss this my friends….soon.
No Lassiter or Tohr in this one. No Murhder, which surprised me since we were introduced to him in Lover Mine. There is also an odd side story of a serial murderer. Now in it, we are introduced to Jose de la Cruz’s new partner Thomas DelVecchio Jr, or Veck. I can only hope Veck plays some kind of role in the next book because otherwise I have no idea why this storyline is in it. Unless I missed something. Veck does have some strange…ways, so I assume there is more to come of him. I’m very intrigued.
We meet some new vampires, not necessarily brothers, but six men (although we really only meet three) that fight lessors. They fought under the Bloodletter until he died, and the Xcor took over. Along with Throe and Zypher, they are a secret band of “brothers” – I use that term loosely because they are not necessarily like The Brothers. They fight together –killing lessors, or humans. They are much more violent without as many morals. They have been living in the old country, but have realized, most of the lessors have moved to where the Brotherhood now reside. Xcor wants one thing – to be king. So they move near Caldwell and start to set things in motion. So, yes they fight lessors, but they are not necessarily friendly with the brotherhood. I am interested to see how this plays out. The brotherhood is aware of Xcor, but we don’t get any details of the how or why. It looks like the new conflict might be moving away from the lessors and more towards a fight with Xcor for the King.
I suppose I can’t leave Payne and Manny out. Honestly, they did nothing for me. If I had to hear Payne say “Verily” one more time I might have thrown the book. For some reason I thought Payne was going to be similar to Xhex, but she ends up more like Layla. She has a few kick ass moments towards the end but I didn’t feel like she was a warrior or a brother like Xhex is. There was just nothing that stood out about them. I like Manny – he had nice interactions with Jane. And I liked out he stood up to Vishous and his interactions with Butch are fun. But for the actual romance between these two – it did nothing for me, which makes it really hard to rate this book. Also – the way Payne ends up healing is so corny. I’m sorry – but I just didn’t get it.
While Lover Mine really took us back to the romance, away from the UF feel after book 3, this one takes us right back. In a way, I don’t want to complain because the spotlight is on Vishous. And I LOVE Vishous. Before I started this book, my one hope was that we got a lot of Vishous material. Little did I know he would be the entire book. He even announces at the end that he is officially mating with Jane (tattoo on his back etc). Seriously, this is his book.
Bottom line is – I have very mixed feelings. The book entertained me. I read it in one day. I love this series, I love the brothers, I really enjoy JR Ward’s style of writing. I love that we get tons of stuff with Vishous. I think Vishous’s story needed to be continued, but it was at the expense of the main characters. Honestly, I wasn’t invested at all in Payne and Manny, so not getting a full story from them isn’t all that heartbreaking to me. But – this is their book. And they get jipped. With the lack of Blay and Qhuinn after such a build-up in the previous book, I can’t help but be a little disappointed.
I also want to note that no one is really set up to be next in the series – and that is driving me crazy!!! I’m very curious to see who it is!!!!
Rating: C+ maybe a B-
**In a couple of weeks I want to do a post where we discuss in detail everything that happens in the book!!