Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself-only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can-but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them?
Disclaimer: This review is incoherent & rambling at times, a little raunchy and slightly spoilery. Oh - and really long.
My thoughts on Lover Unleashed are that it was a big resounding.....meh.
Payne is paralyzed from a fight with Wrath from the previous book - Lover Mine. Doc Jane can’t really do much more for her and wants to bring in her former co-worker and surgeon Manny.
I have a lot to say about this book so I’m just going to get to my thoughts and assume you read the summary and know what the story was about.
Manny & Payne: They were a cute enough couple. I had a hard time understanding Manny’s instant LOVE/MINE reaction to Payne but it’s explained (a little too conveniently IMO but whatever). They are short changed in their story so It’s hard to say whether I really like them or not. I missed the Payne from earlier books. We’ve only gotten a few glimpses of her personality but I expected her to be less Chosen and more bad ass. I will say for the first half of the book I wanted to punch her if she said verily one. more. time. Their story picked up once she could walk again and she & Manny left the hospital. Can we talk about her “cure”? I could almost hear Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing playing in the background. One of my favorite Payne moments was her conversation with Xcor. THAT’S the Payne I was looking for. Not the worst couple but not riveting.
Oh one more thing: Manny - The premature Ejaculation council called. They would like you to be their spokesman. Dude....seriously.....calm down. Or carry a towel.
V/Jane/Butch: She really delves back into V’s storyline and his need for the kinky side of life to fight his demons. If you love V this will be your favorite part of the story and make the book worth worth reading. Personally I felt his story had been told and Jane knew all this stuff before but they did have some pretty swoon worthy exchanges and it is once again addressed how he needs both Jane and Butch in his life. I would have liked him to have more exchanges with Payne or have their two stories integrated more for a better overall flow of both story lines but I think it will be very satisfying for the V fans out there. I think a V/Jane/Butch novella would have been a better way to do this and instead concentrate on Manny/Payne for LU.
Xcor: I’m intrigued. I like him and his Band of Bastards. They could add a breath of fresh air to the series and some new BDB blood. One caveat. Why are you verily and mayhapping for e’er more?? Did you arrive through a time warp?
Qhuinn/Layla/Blay: Oh dear. Where to begin. Two steps forward and one GIANT leap backwards. She has promised a Qhuay novella with lots of man-love but no timeframe. It could be 1 year or it could be 10 years from now. Who knows and what will the story be when it gets there? I could write a loooong diatribe about the possible scenarios but basically it would contain words and phrases that will get me kicked off blogger so I’m just going to say - no comment.
Jose/Veck - Why? Veck’s story will be in the next Fallen Angel series by Ward. He seems like a promising character but please keep him there in the FA series, there is already enough going on and being left out in BDB without muddying the waters.
OK - Onto the rant. That wasn’t the rant you ask? No - it wasn’t.
The series is starting to make me depressed. It started around Phury’s book. The brothers starting taking on a more repetitive, whiny “I’m not worthy” disposition rather than the tortured/brooding but strong males that they are.
Remember the days when they would walk into a club and take over - commanding all attention? Now it's just my mommy kept secrets from me, I have mismatched eyes, I'm on drugs, whine whine whine. You’re the freaking Black Dagger Brotherhood for cripes sake! Man up and start acting like it! Your not worthy? Then make yourself worthy! Remember the days of Z painfully learning to expose his truths, learning to read, forcing himself to accept another’s touch so he wouldn't lose Bella? The days when Rhage fought to find a way to tame his beast so he could be with Mary?Yeah - those brothers. I want them back. Now - they are more likely to fall into a cycle of masturbating, getting high, drinking and anonymous sex.
I literally hate The Chosen. I don't want to hear about them, read about them...anything. I'm done with them. It could have been an interesting narrative at one time but it's been played out.They show this small glimmer of strength but then poof! It's gone. There is a message of of societal oppression and empowerment to be told here. Ward just isn't telling it. Instead the Chosen remain weak waiting for a worthy male to come and sweep them off their feet, begging for someone to have sex with them. ( and seriously.....no one will have sex with Layla? No one? A willing virgin trained in the sexual arts and no takers?)
The Chosen make think of animals that have escaped the zoo. It was an isolated but safe life in captivity. It was horrible being caged and not being able to utilize what you were bred for but it was safe and comfortable. Out in the real world they don't know how to find food or survive. It’s sad, I feel for them, I want them to be happy but I also don’t want to hear about it anymore if it’s not moving forward.
So Phury let the Chosen free. Now what? Doesn't he even have a job training program in place or something? Maybe some field trips. Why the heck is this guy the Primal? And why aren't Maresa and Cormia helping their sister's out? Do they even know Layla is the only one feeding all the brothers?
There seem to be missed opportunities as the series goes on. I know we can’t revisit every brother in every book but the writing feels inconsistent. Wrath and Payne had a sort of friendship since losing his sight - in her book? Barely a conversation. Layla never went to visit her? Even though they talked all the time before? No Scribe Virgin POV - when the plot is about her own children? She sticks her nose in everywhere else. John has Xhex now so he isn’t concerned about Qhuinn? Muhrder was in the last book but totally MIA here. Xcor was introduced in LU but will he be gone for the next 3 years? I’m not quite sure who to get attached or pay attention to anymore. Some narratives are completely dropped. When I'm immersed in the story I feel like she's telling a rich, layered story that will pay off huge dividends once we get to that person's story but when we do? Not so much. Friendships are forgotten. The only consistent person who keeps popping up in every book is Layla. Figures.
Does it really take almost 5 years to tell these guys stories? (or 20 in the case of Qhuay?) Again I say take a look back at the first few books. The set up was introduced for a couple and then their story was told in the next book. Done. Finished. Thank you. Instead we get 100's of wasted pages about people we don't hear from again for years. And that supernatural ghost hunter show from Lover Mine - the serial killer from Lover Unleashed. WTF?? Just WTF?
These books were just so amazingly over the top crackalicious. They brought you to tears, got your heart racing and made you smile...now I'm more often left frustrated and on the brink of just not giving a damn anymore.
Why so emotional about a fictional world? No idea. I just really love this series and I guess I’m just looking for some consistency. There has been plenty to like in the past few books and enough to keep me coming back but there is also a lot that we could have done without. Personally I would like to go back to the feel of the earlier books and the romance. A little world building would be great if it complements or furthers the story.
Lover Unleashed wasn’t a horrible book - I reserve that for Phury’s, but it wasn’t up to BDB standards either.
Are you still here? Did you read all that? Go give yourself a cookie or piece of chocolate - you deserve it!
Rating: 2 out of 4 with moments of 3 out of 4
Author's Website: http://jrward.com/
Buy the book! Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9)