Monday, April 25, 2011

Lover Unleashed by JR Ward

Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #9)Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Warning: Very Long Review!

Let me start this review of Lover Unleashed with a letter to Manuel Manello, MD.

Dear Dr. Manny:
Ah, Manny. Why did you have to go and steal my heart? You are such a darling man. Just perfect for the daughter of the Bloodletter, Payne. You even gave her a horse as an engagement present. You truly know the way to a woman’s heart. And, did I mention that you are a fantastic doctor? The Brotherhood is very fortunate to have your services.
So you found a long-lost brother, and boy do you have some things in common. Namely, you are both tough guys who are sweet as molasses down deep, and know how to take care of your women. And you’re both hot! (Clears throat and wipes glow away from brow.)
You really took all the vampires are real stuff in stride. And you have exquisite taste in women. You love a strong woman who can kick some serious butt, and a beautiful woman who glows (and I do mean glows) when she’s happy. It’s clear that you’d give her the blood from your veins, and all the sexual healing a woman needs. (yeah, you’re really good at that) And when you apply your doctoring skills to your patient, you really go the extra mile.
And then there’s the fact that you are not at all scared of a six-foot, six inches tall brother who thinks his twin sister is too young to have sex, not to mention, doesn’t think any male is good enough for her. You more than proved your worth to him and the rest of the Brotherhood, in the trenches, and otherwise.
Manny, Manny, Manny, can I add you to my ranks of favorite heroes, just because you are super-duper awesome? I had a feeling I would like you as the hero of your own book. Turns out I was right. Thanks for giving me such a fantastic story. I’ll have you know that your book is displayed with pride on my shelf with John Matthew and Rehvenge’s books. That’s a real honor. You deserve it.
I hope you will be very happy with Payne.
Love, hugs and kisses to you.

Your adoring fan,

Now Here's My Official Review!:
Well, if you didn’t notice by reading my letter to Manny, I really loved this book. I admit I was a bit apprehensive because of some of the rumors I heard. But I was a happy camper in the end. The WARDen handled some tricky issues (for me) beautifully.

Vishous and His Relationships With Jane, Butch, and Payne
I love the intimate, intense, multi-faceted relationship between Vishous and Butch. However, I am not one of the people who think that they are a better couple than Vishous/Jane and Butch/Marissa. I think Jane is absolutely perfect for Vishous. She understands him deeply, and loves him for who he is. I loved that Jane made some tough choices out of her love for Vishous, and she never resented Vishous and Butch’s close relationship. That’s a confident, strong woman for you. The right woman for Vishous. Hi Five to Jane for being awesome!

This book was a good chance to see deeper into the complicated world of Vishous, son of the Bloodletter. I loved Vishous in his book, and I love him even more now. He is one wounded guy. He doesn’t wear his pain on his sleeve like some heroes. Instead, he has buried most of it, and the other part comes out in his need for dark, twisted sex and in his formidable fighting skills against the Lessers. Since he found Jane, he realized that sex could be about love, and he put that (dark, painful sex) aside, although he still likes a little kink in his sex (which is okay with Jane). However, with his issues he faces in this book with finding out he had a sister that his mother kept from him, and with Payne’s injury and her despair about not getting better, he needs an outlet. How can he do that without betraying his vows to Jane? Also, why does he feel like he didn’t give all to Jane and show her exactly how much she means? Can this son of the Bloodletter, a dark soul who was completely rejected by both mother and father, really be worthy of a loving relationship, and still be true to who he is? All those issues were dealt with. At one point in this book, I was truly worried. I thought that V and Jane were going to fracture down the middle, and I really didn’t want that, because I love them together. I needn’t have worried. The WARDen came through for me. I was foolish to think she wouldn’t, for I know she loves these characters even more than I do.

It’s really hard to put my feelings into words here. There was something so touching about the bonds that V shares with Jane and Butch. I loved that he was able to be close to Butch without betraying his marriage bond with Jane. V and Butch have a fantastic, one of a kind relationship. I was worried about what needed to happen for Vishous at Butch’s hands, but Butch knew exactly what to do. He got right to the heart of the matter, and gave Vishous the release he needed (get your mind out the gutter).

The thing I love most about JR Ward’s writing is on evidence here. She does the interplay of emotions within and between her characters so well. She doesn’t go for the easy answer. She makes things tough for her creations, just like life is full of hard spots and crappy situations. But somehow, even though things can be bittersweet, she always gives us hope. With Vishous and Jane and Butch, I know that there is so much hope there. They will always have each other, just as Butch has Marissa (who also understands the bond between Vishous and Butch). And now, Butch and Vishous have a bond with Manny, very much about ‘brotherhood.’ In fact, this book shows that bonds of blood and friendship are what life is all about, because no man is an island. Bravo, Ms. Ward for bringing this theme to light so eloquently.
Payne and Manny:
I haven’t known Payne that long, and I met Manny briefly in one of the earlier books. But I liked what I saw of them as characters, and I liked the idea of them together when I heard that the WARDen had paired the two. I wasn’t sure how their relationship would play out, but I have to say that their courtship strikes me as one of the more romantic ones in this book series. There was a sweetness there, both characters star-struck by each other. To Manny, Payne is a beautiful woman not of his world, and way too good for him. He’d do anything to see her healthy and happy, even knowing he has no place in her world. To Payne, Manny is her beloved Healer. He is a gorgeous, worthy male, who has given her a new life. She doesn’t want to say goodbye to him, even though she knows he’s not of her world. Manny is such a gentleman, a hellren any female would want. Payne is a tough girl, but also elegant and beautiful, even if she doesn’t see herself that way. They both have insecurities that they have to deal with in order to find their way together, but they come to realize that love can make allowances for pretty much any shortcoming. I loved the sweetness of their relationship, but also the spicy sexuality of it. Talking about hot! Their short courtship steamed up my room as I read. I knew that there had better be a way for them to be together. Thankfully there was. I know that they are a couple that I want to see more of in the forthcoming books, but I also got to see them get their happily ever after, which was just what I wanted.

PS. I also like Manny’s relationship with Jane. They were both isolated people, dedicated to their professions, but they found a bond with each other in their past lives. It was good to see that this bond was renewed and strengthened in this book.
I like Qhuinn, but he annoys the crap out of me with his slutty ways. I realize it was a tremendous defense mechanism, but it got old for me. To be honest, I was glad to see Blay move on with Saxton, and stop eating his heart out over Qhuinn, although the romantic in me wanted to see these two souls get together. However, Qhuinn needed to do some growing up, and Blay needed to live his life not weighted down by his enormous unrequited love for Qhuinn. Once again, I feel the WARDen comes through here. Although there is not yet a HEA for this couple, Qhuinn is on his way to recovery. His eyes are open now. He understands that he can’t find what he was looking for in his destructive ways. He can’t hide behind the slutty, careless, Goth, playboy image, because the truth will hit him in the face eventually. Now, he has shed this hurtful façade that made it hard for me to like him, and is ready for a real relationship. However, he is willing to put his beloved’s needs before his own. This was the breakthrough I was waiting for. Now, I am eager to see these two get together. I know their book is going to be very awesome. I liked that in this book, Blay is the one who finally has someone. I think that Saxton knows exactly what’s up, and he’s okay with what he has of Blay, for as long as he has it. At the same time, he’s not unaware or unsympathetic to Qhuinn’s feelings for Blay. Sax is a good guy. I like him. It was interesting to see that Blay is the one who’s a little bit near-sighted here. He knows he still loves Qhuinn, but he also feels strongly for Sax. He feels at peace with what he has, even though his heart still beats for Qhuinn. Things are as complicated as ever, ala JR Ward! This chapter of the Qhuinn/Blay romance was very bittersweet, but I do feel optimistic for their future…finally!
The Advent of Xcor and the Band of Bastards:
Okay, at first I did not like Xcor. He’s not a nice guy…at all. And yet…..I’m drawn into his story. It’s my darned weakness for dark, dangerous guys. It gets me everytime. Already feel like the dude needs a love prescription. My mind is wondering where the WARDen will take this guy. I do like Throe quite a bit. He has the gentlemanly vibe I can’t resist. His sense of honor and justice is strong, and I like that about him. He might also be Xcor’s conscience. I like the loyalty he shows. And it’s clear that Xcor values him and the rest of his crew. He demands loyalty implicitly, but he shows that he is worthy of it, in his rough way. I definitely want to see more of these guys.
Okay, a moment of honesty here. I admit, I don’t go for ménage in romance. It’s just not my thing. But let me tell you that the three way between Xcor, Throe and the prostitute was sizzling hot. Um, wow! Let’s keep that between us, okay. I don’t want to ruin my pristine reputation here. (very big grin)

Final Thoughts:
I always worry before I start the newest book by one of my favorite authors. What if my high expectations for their writing are let down? What if the story and I don’t get along? I shouldn’t have worried here. I didn’t feel let down at all. In fact, If I had one complaint, it’s not even a fair one. If only these books could be longer. Even though I’m happy with what I get, I just want more. More romance, more magic, more everything, because she does it so well. I felt as though I only got teasing glimpses of the rest of the gang. It’s not enough. I just want more! That’s how she keeps us hooked, with the teases and the shots of her awesomeness. But that’s okay with me. I’m a loyal customer, and I can’t wait for the next book!

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Unknown said...

Great review! Felt like you were expressing my feelings...:)

Danielle said...

Thanks, Lucy! I'm glad you enjoyed it too.