Sunday, April 8, 2012

Book Review: Lover Reborn

Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood #10)

Author :  JR Ward
Publication:  NAL, Hachette Digital
Publication Date: 27th March 2012
Source:  E-book owned by reviewer
Buy it at Amazon and Indie Bound
Audience: Adult; Paranormal Romance


In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. The city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race: the warrior vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. 

Now back in the Brotherhood - and unrecognisable as the vampire leader he once was - Tohrment is physically emaciated and heartbroken beyond despair. When he begins to see his beloved in his dreams - trapped in a cold, isolating netherworld - Tohr turns to a self-serving fallen angel in hopes of saving the one he has lost. When he's told he must learn to love another to free his former mate, Tohr knows they are all doomed . . . 

Except then a female with a shadowed history begins to get through to him. Against the backdrop of the raging war with the Lessers, and with a new clan of vampires vying for the Blind King's throne, Tohr struggles between the buried past, and a very hot, passion-filled future . . . but can his heart let go and set all of them free?

My Review

*Takes a deep breath* Let’s get one thing straight from the off- his name it TOHR not Thor- he is not blond and Norse, and he certainly doesn’t own a stonkingly big hammer! *relaxes now that pet peeve is dealt with*
For those hot blooded readers who have been living under a rock, this is the 10th book in this highly successful urban vampire series. With this book, the WARDen has gone back to some of the brilliance that made us all fall in love with this world in first place. There is banter, more scenes with the old guard that we all love (I am STILL waiting for 24-hour live streaming from the Mansion and the Pit!), and sex. Hot damn, is there some sex, and not just between Tohr and No’One. For those of a sensitive disposition, please be warned that there is eloquent homoeroticism in the love triangle between Qhuinn/Blay/Saxton. What I didn’t expect was the emotional timbre of the book- I am not a blubber but I actually cried at one particular scene (unlike the rest of the BDB-reading universe, it WASN’T at Wellsie’s Fade Ceremony).

The book gets of to a slow start, with Tohr on a self destruct mission, stuck in an In-Between nothingness of his own as he struggles through his grief. If Vampires are prone to mental illness (and we know they are given that Ehlena’s father has schizophrenia) then I would think the Tohr is depressed- he is hopeless, nihilistic, and life holds no colour for him. He lives in the past, if he lives at all. Enter Lassiter (who is a complete scene stealer throughout this entire book!) who keeps trying to get Tohr to see that by being so inward looking, he is condemning Wellsie to Dhund (hell). Tohr is angry, and bitter and projects that out at those around him, but the person who comes in for the toughest time with him is No’One.
No’One is a blank slate at the start of this book. We know about her tragic history- abduction by a sympath and rape at his hands, the birthing of Xhex, and her taking her life with Tohr’s blade. But there is little fleshing out of her life or character as servant of the Chosen on the Other Side. Now she lives in the Mansion, finding purpose in her life by changing the Brothers’ linens. (On a side note, who would actually want that job, given what goes on there? *raised eyebrow ). We begin to get an understanding of the psychological complexity underpinning her nothingness through her interactions with Tohr, Xhex, and somewhat surprisingly, Fritz.

The first half of the romance between Tohr and No’One is sweetly written. They are two damaged beings, punishing themselves for the perceived sins of the past, and completely cut off from anything resembling emotion. They talk. They connect. They bonk. A.LOT. And it’s touching and heartfelt…… until it isn’t . It starts to be clear that Tohr is just going through the motions, and using No’One as some kind of booty-call. No’one, whose self-esteem has reached its nadir, goes along with this, seeing this as some way of paying Tohr back for what she did all those years ago. It all gets to a point where Tohr, tired of being hounded by Lassiter and confused about his developing feelings for No’One, tears into her in a monologue that starts with a few home truths and rapidly crosses a line into a vicious verbal flaying. This is where No’One (or Autumn as she has been renamed- seriously, WARDen?!?) comes into her own, gives Tohr something to think about and retreats to Xhex’s cabin to lick her wounds. THIS is where I cried.

Through a couple of squeaky plot contrivances the two do eventually get it together but their pairing does raise some questions about how it all fits in with the vampire world building rules that Ward has set up- can you love someone without bonding them? Did Tohr and No’One (this Autumn thing is really not flying with me) love each other the first time they met, when he cared for her during her pregnancy?
In other news, Lassiter, Lassiter, Lassiter! I want to see more of him. This scene between him and Doc Jane was priceless:

“I want to see the front of you.”
“That’s what all the girls say.”
“Do you expect me to roll you over? ’Cuz I will.”
“Your mate’s not going to like this.”
“As if that’s going to bother you?”
“True. It actually makes it worth the effort.”
With a groan, he shoved his palms into the shimmering silver pool of blood beneath him, and flopped over like the side of beef he was.
“Wow,” she breathed.
“I know, right? Hung like a horse.”
“If you’re really nice—and you live through this—I’ll promise not to tell V.”
“About my size.”
She laughed a little. “No, that you assumed I’d look at you in any fashion other than professionally.”

The WARDen peppers the rest of the book with multiple plot shockers involving Wrath and the Band of Bastards,  and I liked the whole reworking of the Reborn motif, in a number of different ways, but that is a real spoiler so I won’t say anymore about it here.  While I had a couple of small niggles with this book (the aforementioned ‘Autumn’ naffness, and the John:Xhex ‘why-can’t-their-relationship-ever-run-smoothly’ schpiel which mildly irritated me) it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of this book- I simply couldn’t put it down.

                Blysse’s Hot:Plot Ratio

There was hot- oh boy, was there HOT! And oodles of great plot- extremely satisfying all round.


  1. GAH!!! this is killing me! I'm getting to this book this week even if I have to commit murder to do it.

    1. Is that murder, or Murdher? ;-) It's a real treat Michelle- so what are you waiting for? I'll be interested to hear your thoughts.

  2. Great review! I just finished this past weekend and I loved it! I loved that quote you chose with Lassiter & Jane. Hilarious! Oh and I'm with you on the name change for No'One :-)

    1. Thanks Amber! Lassiter is rapidly becoming one of my favourite characters :-)


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