- Title: Lover Unleashed
- Author: JR Ward
- Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #9
- Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
- Category: Vampires
- Website: www.jrward.com
This book gave me the impression that JR Ward had run out of interesting characters to pair up, and therefore had to throw some uninteresting characters together. I suppose that is the danger of having a long series about a small group of men.
The primary romance in this book is supposed to be Payne and Manny. Unfortunately, I didn’t find Manny all that interesting when he made his first appearance in Lover Unbound, so Ward may as well have paired Payne up with a random stranger. Besides that, there is something about his sudden “mine” moment with Payne that made me feel a little insulted as a reader. I’ll do my best to explain: In Lover Unbound, as well as early in this book, Manny is mourning Jane and unable to recover from the loss of her. But, the moment he meets Payne, Jane may as well have been a nobody to him. So either I was an absolute fool to ever feel pity or sadness for him, or else I should totally not trust his ability to identify is own feelings. If the first is true, then I feel like I wasted time reading about his sorrow. If the second is true, then why should I have any faith or interest in his feelings for Payne? Even without this irritant, I really just thought their whole relationship was a snooze.
The more interesting story was actually about Vishious and Jane. These two lovebirds are having marital problems, so we get to reconnect to them while they get back on track. In a way I was glad they had a chance to redeem themselves from the ridiculous ending of Lover Unbound. Jane becoming a ghost (who can be solid whenever she wants and can do anything a human can do) was the low point in this series for me. But in this book, we get to be back in Vishous’s head for a while, and that is interesting. Vishious is having a tough time dealing with emotions again, so he starts to fall back into his sadomasochistic ways of using pain for emotional and sexual release. Through his struggles, we get to see some tough moments between him and Jane. We also get several touching moments between V and Butch. I thought this part was done well. Unfortunately, I still can’t stand the ghost part and I’m not sure I’ll ever get past that completely.
My other criticisms of this book are related to the repeat storylines. First, the addition of Manny to the Brotherhood camp means that we have yet another medical professional in the clan. That makes 2 surgeons, a nurse, and therapist, and the sister of a doctor who lived in a hospital. I don’t know why they just don’t all start to assume that any time there is a medical emergency in the house, someone is going to get mated. Manny being a doctor felt repetitive, like I’ve read this all before.
Second, the fact that Manny turns out being a blood relative of Wrath’s – just like Butch, making them related too – feels so much like a “been there done that” moment that it didn’t even feel like the slightest bit of a surprise. It isn’t okay with me to read recycled storylines. I know that JR Ward is capable of far more creativity than this, so I don’t understand the how or why of the repeats. I expect more from her.
Lastly, I’m hanging by a thread with Qhuinn and Blay’s relationship. Qhuinn makes good personal progress in this book, but I desperately wanted a fulfilling resolution to their story and it did not happen. There were very few excerpts about them at all, and while it was all good, there just wasn’t enough. Also regarding Qhuinn, the epiphany he has about he and Layla’s future at the end of this book made me want to gag. I can’t stand that girl or her martyr syndrome.
Obviously this is a less than stellar book review, so you may wonder why I gave the book 3 stars despite finding very few positive things to say. Well, the truth is that I have become so invested in the BDB world that I’ve come to enjoy reading anything about these characters, even if I hate what I’m reading. I know it makes very little sense. But I do know that everything that was introduced in this book will eventually have a further explanation in another. So I’m in this series to the end no matter what happens next.
Highly recommended series for fans of Paranormal Romance and/or Paranormal Thrillers. Not recommended for teens due to strong sexual content and violence.