Mar 27, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 10 Comments

Review: Lover Reborn by JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #10)

Paranormal Romance
March 27 2012
Hardcover
572 pages
NAL Publishing
Received from publisher

Yummy Man – Tohrment
Kick Ass Chick – No’One

From Goodreads –
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?

———-

(A quick note before I begin my review.  I feel I should explain how I rate the books in this series.  This series belongs on my keeper shelf.  Even the books I didn’t quite love and give 3 stars too belong on my keeper shelf.  They are guaranteed re-reads.  I find it difficult to use my ‘usual’ rating scale when it comes to these books so I rate them by comparing them to one another.  Meaning, I stand the installment that I am rating up against my absolute favorites in the series and go from there.  If I loved it just the same or more I rate it the same way.  If I liked it less, I think about how much less and go from there.  Also, this review is spoiler-free but it will spoil some things for those of you who are not completely caught up on the series.  Just thought I should let you know about those two things before I begin.)

It is amazing how we crack addicts fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood are when it comes to new books in this series.  The year long wait between books seems endless.  We talk about the next book as soon as we close the current one, before it is even confirmed who will be the hero and heroine.  We speculate and hypothesize all year long about what might happen in the next book.  We obsess over it.  Yes, I said it:  we obsess over it.  Any little tidbit that JR Ward shares with us, we dissect and read over and over again to see if she stuffed some hidden message or meaning into it.  Yes, we are a strange brew.  Then, when finally the newest book arrives in our hands, we completely lose track of reality and let the book suck us in.  We go into ‘reading hibernation’.  Even if we are not enjoying the book and we wonder what the f Ward was thinking when she did this and this and this, we still can’t put the book down for longer than we need to pee.  We barely even eat – we just can’t be bothered.  Then we reach the end, cry a bit, giggle a bit, *swoon* a bit and bitch a bit then we start the whole process over again.  Yes indeed, we BDB addicts are a strange breed.

Before beginning Lover Reborn, the tenth installment in JR Ward’s insanely popular series – the one that introduced me and got me hooked on Paranormal Romance in fact – I think I harbored the same apprehensions as pretty much everybody else.  This book is Tohrment’s book.  Let’s remember that Tohr was happily mated in the beginning of this series and in one of the most heart and gut wrenching scenes in the entire series, lost his mate Wellsie to the enemy back in book three.  He cried, John cried, I cried.  Let’s also remember that these guys should only get one mate in their lifetime.  So when JR announced that Tohr would not only be the hero of this latest book but that he would also find a new HEA, well holy hell on a jumpstick there is no way this could go well.  Ward just can’t replace Wellsie.  Ever.  She was full of fire and life and it was impossible not to love her.  And to think that she was going to be replaced!   No way.  No f*cking way.  Am I close here?  Is this what you are thinking too?  Well, have no fear because JR Ward did an amazing job with Lover Reborn.  Not once do you feel as though Wellsie is being replaced – that is not what this book is about.  It is about moving on after the air has been removed from your lungs.  It is a book about finding strength and courage and new balance in your life.  It is a book about friendship.  It is a book about hope and about living.

Tohr…man oh man.  Not only was I going into this book thinking they were going to try to ‘replace’ Wellsie but I also went into this book expecting a huge pitty party from this Tohr.  I kept waiting for Tohr’s “My life is so empty.  Whoa is me.  I miss her so much.  Wha wha wha” to get on my nerves but it never did.  Curious that, because there are quite a bit of scenes involving Tohr and his mourning Wellsie, but all of his ‘miserable scenes’ are done in the right context  so it never felt like a pitty party for me.  My heart went out to him and I really enjoyed his transformation in this book.  I can’t wait to see him fully back to himself in the next book.

No’One is amazing!  Going into this book (yes, as you can see, I was anticipating not enjoying this book too much lol) I was thinking “Payne was from the ‘other side’ and she was all demure and stuff and now we have No’One, another lady from the ‘other side’ and she’s going to be all ‘Verily’ and demure and stuff and poo boring.”  Yeah…not.  I really should have just gone into this book knowing that JR would not mess this up, because No’One is just wonderful .  Not once does she try to take over Wellsie’s place.  She honors her memory and completely understands that a part of Tohr’s heart will always belong with her.  I especially enjoyed her scenes with her daughter, Xhex.  Watching their relationship blossom put a smile on my face.  And no her and Tohr’s relationship isn’t a lightning bolt ‘how did I ever not see you right in front of me’ kind of thing.  Lover Reborn is divided into four parts:  Spring, Summer, Autunm and Winter.  It takes a full year for Tohr to be at a ‘good’ place and it takes that long for No’One to come into her own too.  So no ‘wham-bam-thank you man’ for this couple.  And the seasons and their cycle is very symbolic too.

Now if you are as obsessed with juicy tidbits and rumors about what will happen in next BDB books, you know that JR said that in Lover Reborn, John and Xhex would ‘not be okay’ in this book.  Well, did she ever call it.  I really like this little trend, if you will, of seeing how main characters from past installments are turning out.  Yes, we will always hear their names and know that they are still alive, but we don’t often see them for chapters at a time.  JR seems to be including a new couple in each book lately and I am happy she is.  We’ve seen Wrath and Beth pop back and in the last book we saw Jane and V.  This time we see quite a bit of John and Xhex and what they go through will mostly likely not surprise you and shock you all at once.  I know it did me.  And their scenes were where most of the ‘heat’ came from in this book.

We also see quite a bit of the other Brothers this time around.  Not as much as John and Xhex, but they are all mentioned and I think all the men at least have one or two lines!  I know I missed that in the last book so I was happy to see that this time around.

Assail is a new character that we meet in Lover Reborn.  He is a vampire and an aristocrat.  I honestly can’t say I fully understand his purpose in this world – whether he will ultimately be a good guy or a bad guy – but he’s not terrible.  I just found that, as Xcor was in the last book, he was just put there and left for us to wonder what his point is.  He gives off the same vibe as Rehvenge did when we first met him and I’m assuming we’ll find out more about Assail in the next book.

Speaking of Xcor, I really don’t like that guy.  His character isn’t terrible as such, there is a lot to him and we’ve only just beginning to see his many layers, but I am really not liking where his character is fitting into this series.  To me, it’s almost like he feels like the forced villain.  Am I glad that the lesser have taken a bit of a back seat in the past couple of books?  Absolutely.  It was time to come up with something a little bit new on the bad-guy side of things.  But Xcor and his plans…meh.  They tick me off more than anything.  And who is he to go in and say all those mean things about our BDB boys?  No, I didn’t like where his scenes went and I’m not 100% sure I like where his ideas are headed.

Layla.  Yes, I am going to give her her own little paragraph because if Lover Reborn is any indication, her book (or at least her as a main secondary plot in a book) is coming soon.  She is actually part of a little cliffhanger in this one.  We get a glimpse as to who her HEA may be and it surprised me, believe it or not.  I thought “yes!” then I thought “no!” “boo!” then “Grrr…” too.  I’m anxious to see what you guys think of who JR is setting up as her guy.  I think many will agree with my “boo!” reaction.

Lassiter is in this book a lot.  I am, now give me a second to hide behind my chair before continuing on, not a huge Lassiter fan.  Actually, he sort of bugs me.  Um, quite a bit actually.  But in this book he is amazing!  He’s toned down and actually seems to give a sh*t about someone other than himself.  He’s warm and kind and really, he impressed me.

If you cry easily when you read then you are screwed my friend.  I don’t cry easily.  In fact, it takes quite a bit for me to cry.  But man oh man the last 70 pages had me balling my eyes out.  I’m not talking little girly tears:  I’m talking big snotty unattractive, have to put the book down so I can compose myself for a minute, tears.  These are just beautiful scenes and they really capture the journey that Tohr has undertaken since losing his Wellsie.

Speaking of the last bit of the book, I think this would be a good time to chat about Qhuay.  Now, I’m sure you are all aware but I will spell it out anyways:  Quay is Qhuinn and Blay.  These are the two guys that everyone wants to see get together.  JR has stated that yes, they will indeed to each other’s HEA and man has she been teasing us about it since she announced it.  No, I will not tell you whether or not they have fun-naked time in this book nor will I tell you if they are even talking.  But what I will tell you is that the very last scene of this book, right before the epilogue, amazing.  It made me *woot* and I am not even a Qhuay fanatic like many of you are.

All in all I was very impressed with Lover Reborn.  JR Ward reminds us why these books are so addictive and why we drool, anticipate, break out in sweats and stalk her site while waiting for a next installment.  She handled Tohr beautifully and No’One really is a superb match for him.  I know some of you will disagree (because to each their own) but I don’t think that number will be as large as we all originally feared.  You can rest at ease:  Tohr get’s the perfect happy ending he thoroughly deserves.

4.5 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

“’Don’t be an asshole.’

Rhage summed up the regurgitation with two words:  ‘Kettle.  Black.’

Fucking hell.  ‘Did you guys plan that out?’

‘Yeah, and if you don’t fight us’ – Hollywood bit down on his grape Tootsie Pop – ‘we’ll do it again – only with the dance moves this time.’

‘Spare me.’

‘Fine.  Unless you agree to home it, we will rock the dance moves.’  To prove the point, the moron linked his palms behind his head and started doing something obscene with his hips.  Which was backed up by a series of, ‘Uh-huh, uh-huh, ohhhh, yeeeeeeeaaah, who’s your daddy…’

The others looked at Rhage like he’s grown a horn in the middle of his forehead.”

—–

“Too soon, it was over, and he was retracting his canines from fragrant flesh.  He licked one, twice, stroking at her with his tongue –

‘Okay, that’s enough.’  Phury gathered her up from the chair, smiling at her with true warmth.  ‘You go find Qhuinn now – you’re going to need some strength.’

This was true, Throw thought with a stab of guilt.  Indeed, she looked pale and seemed slightly woozy.  Then again, she had fed him twice in as many hours.

He wished his name was Qhuinn.”

—–

“’Your back!’  He looked like he’d had cat claws in him, great streaks of red cutting down his torso and spine.

He glanced over his bitten shoulder and smiled with more pride.  ‘It feels great.  I’m going to think of you when I’m out tonight, every time they pull.’

As he disappeared into the bathroom, she shook her head to herself.  Males were…well, nuts.”

Books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series –
Dark Lover
Lover Eternal
Lover Awakened
Lover Revealed
Lover Unbound
Lover Enshrined
Lover Avenged
Lover Mine
Lover Unleashed
Lover Reborn

  1. hmmm, interesting. Every time one of these books comes out, I feel like I need a re-read of the entire series to remember where/who everyone is. Great review, but I think I’m in trouble if you had so much emotional issues at the end. I hope my pre-ordered copy shows up SOON! smiles….

  2. Well put Ms. Julie!!!
    I totally understand where you’re coming from, the last book was little lacking in the romance department, but dam! I still loooved the book.
    I’ve read 6 chapters so far, but now I decided I’m going to wait for the audiobook (hopefully it won’t be long)
    I just looove these books on audio, and it has to do a lot with the narrator, once you get used to the way he sounds and the way he delivers these books, you can’t help but to fall in love with his performance.
    Let me know when you have a chance to listen to one, I’d love to give you any of the books in the series (your choice, so you can experience what I’m talking about). T
    hanks for the review 🙂

  3. Really great review! I’d all but given up on these a few books back because I was growing tired of paranormal books. However, these were good, and your review makes me want to dive in and catch up. I’m only two, now three, books behind! Great review, loved it!

  4. *happy dance* What an awesome review. You captured every single thing I was wondering about in this book. Thank you for no spoilers and yet you gave me a ton to be excited about. I was so nervous about this book and I have the exact same feelings about Xcor. You also have me very curious about Layla. Truly I was wondering if she was going to make an unexpected 3 way with Layla and Quay.
    I’m going to try my hardest and hold out for the paperback. The Kindle version is just as expensive as the hardcover and I don’t like hardcovers. Library already has huge waiting list so I am going to try. (but its not likely) LOL
    Well said!

  5. Christi – I always feel like re-reading these books before a new one comes out too. I did that for Lover Mine but not lately. It’s neat to re-visit these sometimes. 🙂

    Lup – I will let you know. Hmm…I wonder which one I’ll want to listen too? 😉

    Sarah – Lover Mine is tied as my most favorite in the series. The last one was meh. This one made up for it. lol

    Katie – I am very curious to know how you feel about the whole Qhuay thing after reading this. Promising enough for you? 😉

    Michelle – Good luck with that. 😉

  6. Qhuinn, tear falls from eye. Blay hurts. Sigh.

  7. I bow down to you for somehow making this review so spoiler free. I agree with a lot of what you say… except the part about Xcor. I think he feels like a forced villain because he’s not really a villain at all. He’s gonna be a hero. And I like where she is going with him and you-know-who a lot.

    There was really only one part of the book I actively disliked. And I know you know what I’m talking about b/c you read my reviews. Giant Grrr.

  8. Loved this review! I have never done the audio book thing but it sounds like I should! Tx!

  9. Great review! I agree with you pretty much whole-heartedly. This book was so much better than the last and the flow of the plot was cohesive. I felt she treated Tohr with the proper respect. I’m with you on the BoB – I am wondering if Throe is going to end up being the super baddy here. I felt a power shift. And how will Xcor be allowed to survive? So many questions! Like you said – we are already ready for the next book!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *