Book 9 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
by J.R. Ward
Published: New American Library – March 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 576 (paperback)
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 stars)
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.
I was very excited to read about Payne’s story. I found her very interesting since she was introduced in the series. And it relieved me to have Dr. Manuel Manello have a happy ending, too. I always felt bad for him after his best friend Jane “died.”
Payne is softer than she seemed originally. This gentle side made the romance with Manuel all the more interesting. Their struggles with Payne’s paralyzing injury and how they work through the complications between them was very cute. I especially loved how Manuel held his own against the Brotherhood vampires.
But what made this book was Vishous and Jane’s story. Their book, “Lover Unbound” left much to be desired concerning their relationship. This book brings everything to a head. I almost cried because Ward really wrote some heartbreaking scenes between the two. But how they solved their problems was very satisfying. Vishous finally faces his demons and lets them go. And we finally get the whole Butch-Vishous thing solved. I really felt a sense of completion when it came to these three (Jane, Vishous, Butch).
I am very interested to see how this new group of vampires will be woven into the series. They are neither good nor bad. They have a different sense of morals than the Brotherhood, which will make for some good confrontations in the future. And new blood can always help liven up a series since rehashing previous characters can get tedious.
Ward has always mixed stories within a story, and it has never bothered me. But this was suppose to be Payne and Manny’s book. It wasn’t. No one can deny that this book was Vishous and Jane’s. I was very disappointed that the romance between Payne and Manny was cut short. I never got emotionally involved with them enough to care what happened to them.
Where was the Payne I knew from the last book? She was a hard-core fighter who took crap from no one. In “Lover Unleashed” she did a 180 and became meek and gentle. I don’t mind her that way, but the inconsistent personality left me disappointed. I expected one thing and got another.
Please, oh please, Ward, stop jerking us around with Blay and Qhuinn. It’s time for their story to be told because their back and forth is starting to get annoying.
As always, we get a few sex scenes from both couples. Everything was nicely written and tasteful. Not too much at all.
I almost gave this book 2.5 stars, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. If you are already obsessed with the series then you have to read this book. It’s really satisfying in the Jane-Vishous department. But if you’re just starting out with the series and chose to read this book first, don’t. Start from the beginning, and then either buy this book because you have to complete your Brotherhood library or wait for the library to get it in. But I would greatly suggest reading this series because it’s one of the best paranormal romances out there. Just remember that many series have one or two bad books that don’t live up to the rest. “Lover Unleashed” is that kind of book.