Mar 29, 2013

Posted by in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Lover at Last by JR Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11)

loveratlasst4 star

Paranormal Romance
March 26 2013
Hardcover
591 pages
NAL
Received from publisher

Yummy Man – Qhuinn
Yummy Man – Blaylock

From Goodreads –
Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another….

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions… but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together… finally become one.

———-

Lover at Last is the eleventh book in JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. It’s a little series, unknown by most really, but I think it’s worth checking out *snort*.  Lover at Last is one of the MOST anticipated paranormal romance releases of the year and for me, it lived up to the hype.

For this review, I’m going to talk characters and happenings in a point form sort of way.  It’s just easier than trying to rehash everything that happened in this book in lovely paragraphs that meld one into the other.  And fans of the series are already well aware of the amount of stuff that happens in a Black Dagger Brotherhood book.  Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking I can make all that stuff look pretty in a review 😉

Let’s start with the main characters from past books.

The Brothers and their mates.  I think Mary, Marissa, Autumn and Cormia are the only ones we don’t actually see in this book.  Honestly, Mary is the only one I missed.  This surprised me because in their own books, I like these women.  Everyone else is there in one scene or another and I was very happy for that.  It’s just not the same when all of the Brothers aren’t all there in a book.

Xcor.  I have to admit that I have not really jumped on the Xcor bandwagon.  There is potential for a great character there but so far, I’m not feeling it.  It’s not him per say but what he brings to the series.  Yes I agree that the Band of Brothers brought a new and interesting dynamic to the series but why oh why do they have to be trying to go after Wrath and the throne?  That is the part I am not a fan of.  Maybe it’s because I am a little protective of the Brothers, their mates and their friends, having reading them for the past 10 books and growing quite attached to them, and I don’t like the idea of someone going after the throne and hurting those I care for.  Right now, that storyline is just…annoying me.  But Xcor with Layla I like!  I like what she does to him and I am really anxious for their book (assuming there will be one).  I understand that their book will be filled with the ‘Xcor wants to be king’ plot but I also think that their book is where an uneasy truce will come between the Band of Brothers and the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  Because ultimately they both want the same thing: to rid the world of lessers and to do what’s best for the entire vampire race.

Layla.  OMG I love her!  I know many have not always liked her but I have.  I liked her innocence and I love how she is coming into her own, finding herself.  She is becoming to me what John Matthew was before his book – someone I feel proud of as I read.  She has a couple of pretty memorable scenes in this book and I even ‘boo-ya’ed her in one.  I almost hope her book isn’t next because I want to see where she goes from here and I feel there is a lot of story left to be told with her.  And you know how it is, once a character gets his or her own book, they are not as visible anymore.  I’m not ready for that to happen to Layla yet.  I didn’t know exactly how I felt about her being with Xcor but I think they will be a good match.  Even if he’s just meh for me right now 😉

Assail.  I never really got the point of him.  I still don’t.  But that didn’t damper how much I loved reading his scenes in this book.  He is so awesome!  He’s slime, almost compulsive and creepy,  but he’s awesome.  He’s neither a good guy nor a bad guy, which is a nice change in this series since there is usually only really good or really bad, and he keeps you guessing.  And Assail with Sola?  Amazing chemistry.  Amazing.

Sola.  Yes, she’s new.  And she’s spunky!  Assail calls her ‘his little burglar’.   I love that.  I loved seeing him so unhinged over her!  I hope they have a book and soon because they are very entertaining together.

Trez.  There is a whole sidestory with Trez which means Ward is setting us up for his book.   I never felt strongly for Trez, meaning I never disliked him but I can’t say I liked him either.  He was just there, in the background, and I was okay with that.  I’m not sure how I feel about him having his own book.  But there is a lot of information about Trez and what a Shadow really is and it was enough to get me started to feel curious about him.  And who is HEA is looking to be?  Very interesting to say the least.  I never expected it to be who it is – not to say that I really expected anything.

And a quick note about iAm, he is one good man.  Shadow.  Whatever.  He is a very loyal character and I liked seeing a little more of him in this book too.

Saxton.  *sigh* What a good man…

Luchas. That is all I’m saying.

Of course, let’s not forget Qhuinn and Blay.  *sigh* I have been rooting for these two forever but I have to say that I have not been fanatical.  I love them and I always have but you will not see me complain that the sex wasn’t dirty enough or that there wasn’t enough time with them on the page.  I am not a big m/m reader but I was happy with the level of ‘smut’ in this book.  It was hot!  And I found there was plenty of Qhuay time on the page, and not only sexy times.  When I picked up this book, what I was looking for was real emotion and a good ol’ HEA and that’s what I got.

I always knew Qhuinn was an exceptional character and now I know it tenfold.  Ward does such a great job with him.  We have watched him change and grow through most of this series and in this book, what we witness is nothing less than incredible.  He completely matures in this one but he does it in a way that suits him.  It wasn’t like an after-school special – it was à la Qhinn and it was perfect.

Blay is actually where my biggest beef lies with this book.  What the hell Blay?!  Why, why, why would you do that?!  I kept asking myself that one question over and over and over and never did come up with an answer.  And I wish I could say more but I can’t because that would be one hell of a spoiler.  But even though I wanted to shake Blay more than once, he is still a good male.  I love him for Qhuinn.

Blay’s parents.  I love them SO much!  They are hardly in this book at all but the scenes they have are ones I won’t soon forget.

The epilogue.  It was perfect.  Just perfect.  I re-read it twice.  Then again the next morning.  Part of the epilogue involves the boys talking about a tux and that scene just cracked me up (it captures each male member of the house so well) and Qhuinn in the epilogue…beautiful.

The next installment.  There are three possibilities in my eyes:  Assail and Sola, Layla and Xcor or Trez and ??? (I don’t want to spoil that one for you ;))  I believe Ward will be doing Trez next.  I don’t feel as though the other two storylines have developed enough to carry a whole book yet.  I may be wrong but that’s what I think.  If I am right, I don’t think I will look forward to that book as much as I have past installments. Will I read it? Of course. But I won’t be dying to read it. Hopefully she’ll announce it soon so we won’t have to guess for too long.

POV changes.  Yes, these are annoying.  You know what I am talking about…  You are in the middle of reading about the main couple and the newest thing they must face together in order to face their love and realize just how amazing they are together then bam!  lessers.  Then back to the main couple for a second then bam!  something other than what you really want to read about.  I know this is necessary to develop the series and introduce us to future plot idea but it’s still annoying.  But damn if it works.  It gets me curious about these other storylines all while being frustrated and wanting to get on with it so we can get back to the ‘good stuff’.  At least Ward doesn’t do the cutting thing in the middle of a sex scene.  Her sex scenes are h.o.t. so flipping to another POV in this middle of one of those would be such a crime.

Romance and chemistry.  If your main complaint about the past few books is that there is more ‘kick ass’ story and not enough romance story then you’ll be happy with this book.  The only subplot that does not involve a love interest or crush or romance in one form or another is the one with Mr. C and the lessers.  And even that is a very small part of the book.  I like the romance in this series because I feel Ward does it well and it’s everywhere in Lover at Last.  And the chemistry…wow.  Ward writes great chemistry, whether it’s between friends, mates or potential lovers and seeing a whole lot of that in this book was nice.

Overall, I really enjoyed Lover at Last.  It gave me exactly what I wanted.  I got interesting new characters, visits with old characters, twists in existing plotlines, new stories to follow, romance, heat and a perfect happily ever after.  For me, it was everything a JR Ward book should be.  I was very happy with it.

4.5 stars

Note-worthy quotes

“Closing his eyes, he prayed that this was okay.  That they could stay like this for just alittle bit.

Shit, the sudden fear he felt was nothing short of torture, and it made him think about the nature of courage.

Specifically how little he’d had of it when it had come to Blay.”

—–

“Turned out Qhuinn was a snuggler.  Who knew – and how fabulous.

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
Lover at Last

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  1. I was disappointed, so disappointed. If it wasn’t for the epilogue I think I would have actually disliked the book. She copped out completely and lost her voice in the process.

    The book was Qhuinn and Blay’s only in the sense that Qhuinn was on the cover, there were too many other story lines that got too much attention. It felt like she took the novella she had originally planned on writing & forced it into this other book.

    The emotion between Qhuinn and Blay was fantastic and Qhuinn’s journey was handled very well.

    Maybe this was, for me, like some movies have been for my husband–I had such high hopes that nothing was going to quite live up to them but this may very well be my last BDB book.

  2. I agree with most of your review. I also really enjoyed this one. I think I am one of the only people, however, that didn’t mind the changing stories and scenes. It happens in other books… This was the first time that I actually enjoyed all of the side stories.

    As for Blay, again, I think I’m in the minority… but I think his character was perfectly portrayed. His heart had been broken way too many times for him to just jump on the band wagon, so to speak. LOL.

    I agree about the next book being Trez… we’ll see.

  3. The ended had me choked up but like most of the recent BDB books, I had some grrr issues. The angst Qhuinn went through and his mad plane flying skills for a first time pilot, as well as the crazy POVs and subplots on top of subplots made my head spin at times.

    I don’t know how Ward does it but she still has me wanting the crack.

  4. I had some definite GRRR moments reading this book, too. While I generally loved the Qhuinn, Blay, Layla sections, Blay’s inability to JUST SAY IT got old. I’m also completely turned off with the whole drug story line, which means Assail is turning me off. The lesser chapters seem to really drag and have no purpose other than to talk about the drugs again. Annoying.
    Like you, Julie, I’m not on the Xcor bandwagon yet. He obviously seems to have some redeeming qualities, but I don’t completely understand his motivations (hence our FB conversation). That story line has a lot of holes that need to be filled for me.
    And though the Qhuinn and Blay sex scenes were no doubt sexy, I felt like they were missing some of the understanding and depth and details that Ward’s m/f sex scenes have. Maybe because the m/m perspective is difficult for a woman to completely understand? I don’t know. But I want to see what some of my gay male friends would have to say about their authenticity.
    But, of course, I will continue reading this series! I definitely want to know where it’s going.

  5. Great review!

    I agree with so much you said… though I think the next book is Assail’s because of what happens with Sola…

    I really liked Layla in this too! such a nice surprise!

    I was like you about Blay… WHY??? LMAO

    Another thing I agree with you… why does Xcor needs to want the throne??? he could just want power… the throne is so final, isn’t it?

    also Assail reminds me of Revh as the Reverend hehe =D

  6. Great review Julie. I was not sure I want to read this book, as I am totally not interested in reading gay romance. But I think I can skip those specific scenes and still enjoy the book.

  7. Redbutterfly says:

    Great review Julie, I agree with most of it ^_^ And I’m with @Twimom227 – I enjoyed all the side stories

    The things I desagree with:

    . I wanted more sex scenes between Blay & Qhuinn. I’m a big fan of m/m romance so I was expecting lot of sex lol Even though I wasn’t mad about them not using lube XD

    . I also agree with @Twimom227 about Blay’s attitude. Qhuinn pissed on his heart/love and now that he finally man up doesn’t mean that Blay can’t make him grovel or has to believe him implicitly.

    . I LOVE Xcore, even though I wish he wouldn’t go after the throne *sigh* totally shipping Layla/Xcore and I really want to see how it resolves and I don’t mind wait a few books to see it but by God not as many as Qhay took

    About next book:

    It’s called The King and it will be about Wrath and Beth and their heir.

    video about the announcement: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151343852116120&set=vb.29402628230&type=2&theater

    Also Qhuinn and Blay will be mated. Their story is not over. We will see more of them. – *SQUEEEEEEEEEE*

  8. Allison – Ward always writes multiple storylines into her books but I do think she’s adding more and more as the years go by lol.

    Twimom – I understand why Blay did what he did…sort of. Yes, he’s been hurt but he can also find his balls and say “I’m not ‘there’ anymore but that don’t mean I’m with you either.” What he did made it seam like he was a big ol’ cheater the whole book!

    KT – Yeah…the plane made me giggle. But I can see how it was important to the plot.

    Liz – I agree with you about the sex scenes being sexy but O-o at the same time. But I feel that most of Ward’s sex scenes are a little bit O-o which is what makes them so much fun to read. So I just sort of let them go with the flow. lol

    Larissa – I am totally with you where Assail is the new Rhev. Don’t know if we really need another one but he’s still fun to read lol.

    aurian – I would skip the sex if you feel you need to but still read the last few chapters and the epilogue. They are just filled with such great emotion and fit whether it be for a man / man or woman / man relationship. 🙂

    Redbutterfly – I think Ward needs to keep Blay and Qhuinn in the front otherwise she would have many angry readers lol. And no, NO couple should have to wait as long as Qhuinn and Blay to get a book lol.

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