November 23, 2013

Mini-Reviews: Black Dagger Brotherhood (Books 10-11)

Since there are 11 books in the series so far (with a 12th being published in March 2014) and I'm somewhat binge-reading them all, I thought it would be easiest to group the books and do mini-reviews.
Here are the basics ...
The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward
Publisher: Signet
Category: Adult - Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased

Summary: Six Warrior Vampires. Lovers, Fighters, Brothers. Lethal, not Evil, they're coming for you.
(Adapted from official site)
My thoughts…
Lover Reborn (#10) | add to Goodreads
I'm about to throw out a huge statement here - this is my favorite book of the series. It was well-rounded, had a heart-pounding (and heartbreaking) romance, focused on family and the bad guys were actually interesting. It just all came together for me in Lover Reborn. If you had asked me a few books ago if I thought I'd cry over any of these books, I would've said no. I'm not embarrassed to admit I'm in this for the hot brothers and romance. But wow, you guys. Some of these scenes had me in tears.

When Tohr lost his shellan, he began living every brother's nightmare. How do you move on? He disappeared and returned, with the help of the angel Lassiter, a broken man. He's taken some steps forward as he focuses on his hatred of lessers to keep going. But Tohr is plagued by dreams of Wellsie and their unborn child trapped in limbo. Then Lassiter tells him they can't move on until he does. In other words, he needs to love someone else. This is where No'One, a vampire he has a complicated history with, comes in. I did not expect to feel so invested in their romance. Both are dealing with personal tragedies and what starts off as an attraction neither of them even wanted, becomes so much more. Their sex scenes are hot (like super hot!) but every moment shared is also about letting go of the past. Not letting their pain break them. The slow and fiery burn of their relationship was beautiful and bittersweet because they didn't think they could find happiness ever again. (But trust me, it is not an easy road for them!)

But just as vital to their story is family. Tohr and Wellsie are the only parents John have ever known. The loss of Wellsie, watching Tohr move on and still trying to repair their relationship is a lot for him to deal with. And it's all addressed through poignant moments between him and Tohr. Then Xhex is No'One's daughter and they finally share some much needed scenes as well. The series doesn't feature many loving mother-daughter relationships (somehow I think Payne's f-you to the Scribe Virgin doesn't count) and I loved seeing that. There are also a few more interesting twists that I didn't see coming and clearly, I am gushing here so I'm going to stop myself now. Basically - be excited for this book when you get to it!

Lover At Last (#11) | add to Goodreads
As you guys already know from Kelly's "Favorite Hero" post, Qhuinn is the guy we all have a soft spot for. Which is why this review is difficult for me. On one hand, this book is about Qhuinn so - automatic yay there. On the other, it didn't feel like there was enough about him because of all these other sub-plots. But I'll start with the good stuff first. Qhuinn has always been complex. Shunned by his family for having two different colored eyes and later, tragically orphaned. From the moment he transitioned, he's been kind of fickle in the romance department (to put it lightly) but his dedication to John, the brotherhood and of course, Blay is unwavering. And that headfirst instinct to save others before himself is fully on display here. In so many ways, his life is where he wants it be now. He's respected by the brothers and expecting a young with Layla, a beautiful Chosen. But he's unhappy. He and Layla want a family but they aren't in love and everyone else around him is paired off. Qhuinn is finally realizing his true feelings for Blay and my goodness, it was a long time coming. Taking Qhuinn's story out of the vampire lore context, his situation is one that felt very real and human. He's struggling with his feelings and what that means and his sexuality. I thought the author did a good job of breaking down his walls slowly as he makes some important realizations about himself.

That said, Qhuinn and Blay finally act on their feelings. We all knew it was going to happen eventually. But there's too much miscommunication and their obvious happily-ever-after felt a bit rushed and neat as a result. Then many of the secondary characters get a lot of attention like the Band of Bastards and a mysterious vampire from the Old World who has helped the brothers and is infatuated with a female burglar (I didn't really understand her role). I found myself skimming over their sections so I could be get back to the people I cared about. But there are some interesting reveals in the vampire lore which I think sets us up nicely for the next book.

Overall: I absolutely loved Tohr's book and while I didn't love Qhuinn's (which had more to do with the structure of the plot, not the character), it did make me excited for where the author is taking these characters next in The King. March 2014 is too far away!

Make sure to check out the rest of the posts!

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