by: J. R. Ward
Published by: NAL Hardcover
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Nook Edition Owned by Reviewer
Lover Unleashed, the 9th installment in J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, is the story of Payne, Vishous’ twin sister. Payne is wounded and left paralyzed after one of her spars with Wrath. Enter Dr. Manuel Manello. Manny is brought in to operate on Payne’s spine, and of course he becomes Payne’s love interest. Yes, the Manny who use to work with (and crush on) V’s Shellan, Jane. Payne must adjust to life on this side, and V must adjust to not only having a sister he didn’t know about, but also how she was treated by their mother, and as well as dealing with having Manny around. Lover Unleashed brings us through some twists and turns, introduces us to a new band of fighters, meets some expectations, and leaves some things hanging. I have to be honest here and say that as a V girl myself; I was very pleased with this book. However, as a BDB fan, I was disappointed. I waited anxiously for this book, and I am left feeling, well, conflicted. I expected to devour this book, and instead I found myself skimming through parts.
Because of my mixed emotions, I’m going to treat this review a little differently from my reviews in the past. I’m going to break off now and tell you what I liked about Lover Unleashed, and what I didn’t like. There will be spoilers included in the next portion of this review. So if you haven’t read the book yet and don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now. Because I really, really, really want to end this review on a high note, I am going to start off with what I didn’t like.
First of all, I was disappointed in Payne. I expected her to be a kickass female. Hello – she has been sparing with the Blind King all of this time. She is a fighter! I was really shocked to be reading her as if she were a Chosen. Thinking about it now, I realize I shouldn’t have been too surprised. The Scribe Virgin would have raised her as a Chosen – however, we know what kind of “raising” the Scribe Virgin did. It was really hard for me to get use to Payne talking like a Chosen. And while we’re talking about Payne, it was a little too much cheese for me that the cure to her paralysis was sex with Manny. Seriously? Come on, now.
The other thing that really bugged me was that we really didn’t get to know Payne and Manny that well at all. It seemed like the book was more about Vishous and Jane than it was about Payne and Manny. (You will find this little bit explained more in the next paragraph – because as a V girl, I loved all of the V time. But, it’s Payne’s book. We really should have gotten more time with Payne.) The last thing that is a real dislike for me is the lack of the other Brothers. I missed the rest of the Brotherhood.
Now, let me tell you what I really liked about Lover Unleashed. I loved how we got to really see Vishous and Jane together. The end of Lover Unbound left me unsatisfied with their life. I didn’t really understand how it worked with Jane being a ghost, and I had to fight to come to terms with their happily ever after. In this book, Vishous made me so angry, and then he made me fall for him all over again. I wanted to kick his ass…and at the same time, I wanted to cuddle him and make it all better. I hurt for Jane, and this was the first time that I have ever felt an emotional connection with her. I loved how Butch manned up and gave Vishous what he needed, and how both Jane and Marissa allowed him to be there for Vishous. When I think about Lover Unleashed, I immediately think about Vishous. He really stole the show in this book. The time we spent with Vishous, Jane, and Butch was by far my favorite thing about this book.
That being said, I also liked the new band of fighters. Xcor and his band were a welcomed change from the boring Lesser storyline. I have really gotten so tired of the Lessers that I usually skim their part, so it was a very nice change of pace for me to have these new males introduced, and I am very curious to see how they will play into the changing vampire society. My only complaint from this part of the story was the major let down when Payne was let go peacefully. It felt like the final fight scene in Breaking Dawn when we were built up to this huge battle, and then everything was wrapped up and tied with a pretty bow. However, if they are to become a tangent army, fighting not with the Brothers, but perhaps alongside them, then I can understand the need for the ending we got.
Another thing I really liked was the insight into the world of Team Qhuay, and the vision that Layla brought to us of the child. I’m looking forward to seeing how things turn out with that scenario. We should have some very interesting turn of events coming our way with how things are changing for our vampires. Their society is in upheaval, and it looks as if things will be getting worse before they get better. This hopefully will mean good reading for us!
It really breaks my heart that I am giving Lover Unleashed 3 birdies, because I really did enjoy the book. I just can’t say that I loved it. And the only reason that I couldn’t put it down was because I was so vested in the Butch/Vishous/Jane storyline. So would I recommend it? If you are a BDB fan and a loyal follower of the series, then absolutely, you must read it. In my little world of BDB thinking, I rate it as better than Phury’s book…but not as good as Rehv’s book. For me, it’s along the same lines as JM’s book. I read, and I skimmed. I enjoyed Lover Unleashed, and I really loved parts of it, but overall, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.
Summary from Goodreads:
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.