Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #9
Published by NAL on March 29th 2011
FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book because the major stories were all ones I cared about. The vast majority of the book is one of three stories: Payne and Manny, V, Jane and Butch, and Qhuinn and Blay. For me, it felt more relationship focused and that pleased me. I also really liked going deeper into V, Jane and Butch’s relationship.
THE STORY: Payne, the twin sister of V, has spent hundreds of years imprisoned by their mother, the Goddess Scribe Virgin because Payne killed their father. During a training session with the King, Payne is seriously injured with a broken spine. V and his mate Jane desperately need the help of the human surgeon, Dr. Manual Manello. And thus, Manny is dragged into the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a world of vampire warriors. The connection between Manny and Payne is intense and immediate, but there cannot be a future between them even if Payne recovers.
OPINION: LOVER UNLEASHED is a typical book in the recent Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are multiple stories most of which began in other books and many of which continue past this book. For me, the plus of this book is that the largest chunks of the book are about the twins Payne and Twin and those they love.
The main story, of course, is Payne and Manny. I liked this story because of Manny himself. Ward does an exceptional job of quickly making Manny a character I want to root for. His brief interaction with the BDB a year ago (although wiped from his memory) has changed him. Jane’s “death” has left him with a great deal of emptiness in his life. When he is brought to heal Payne, it really is love at first sight for these two. Payne’s character remains a little more opaque in the book and I didn’t feel as much connection to her, but I really did like the interaction between these two.
The secondary storyline about V’s spiral out of control after Payne’s injury is the angst filled storyline here. Learning about Payne and then almost losing her has unmoored V from all the progress he has made since meeting Jane. His reaction threatens his relationship with his mate. I absolutely loved this storyline which I think is the highlight of the book. I’m a sucker for these situations where a couple delves deeper into their relationship. Some lingering threads of the series are resolved with V and Butch and I was happy that V and Jane grow even closer as their story resolves.
The minor story with Qhuinn and Blay continues here. Qhuinn has hit rock bottom and it is time for him to start recreating himself. Nothing is resolved here but it seems like the story is slowly inching towards these two’s story being resolved. With two others involved in the story, Ward does a good job of keeping everyone likeable and not going for the easy out of making villains out of the characters which serve a function of keeping Qhuinn and Blay apart.
The focus on the internal operations of the Lessers is missing here. Instead, a new group is introduced as foils against the BDB — the Band of Bastards. It appears that this group of vampires will play an important role in upcoming books.
WORTH MENTIONING: I’ve had a much better reaction to these books now that I space out the reading of them. I think my brain can only process so much before I get annoyed and frustrated. Having read the disappointed reviews of this book, I also think I benefit from having some knowledge about where the series is going so that I don’t have unmet expectations. I honestly don’t think that the world building in these books is consistent anymore. Things feel less grounded, more fluid and there are well documented conflicts. I read the books for the characters so giving myself a break between books makes the inconsistencies in the story lines less obvious.
CONNECTED BOOKS: LOVER UNLEASHED is the ninth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood. At this point, I don’t think there is any way to understand this book without having read the others in the series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.