Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review: J.R. Ward - Lover Unleashed

Black Dagger Brotherhood:

Book 9:
Lover Unleashed: Dr. Manuel Manello M.D. and Payne


I actually finished this book several days ago but have help off reviewing it in an attempt to gather my thoughts about how exactly to review it. LOL! This book is supposed to be about Payne and Manny but their story consists of probably less than half of the actual book. There are several other story lines intertwined. This is what I would call a transition book, similar to what Ward did with Phury’s book.

Manny is one of the best surgeons in the United States and happens to be Jane’s (Vishous’s Shellan). So when Wrath brings Payne back to the facility with a broken back (this is at the end of Lover Mine), Jane realizes that she cannot fix it and needs help from Manny. Jane searches for Manny for hours only to find him at her grave site, she convinces him to come back and to operate on Payne. Manny takes one look at the proud warrior woman Payne and vows to fix her! Payne takes one look at her healer and feels a soul deep connection with him and knows if anyone can fix her it would be him. After a “successful” surgery Payne and Manny connect further and she truly regrets having to wipe his memories… Manny is having a bad week every time he tries to remember anything he gets a splitting headache and his work is suffering badly and he is having these intense dreams about a beautiful woman that seems so real. Payne is having a bad week, her surgery was a success but she is still not feeling anything and she is sliding deeper into depression. Payne at her end asks Jane for something to end her suffering. Vishous comes in and convinces Payne for 90 mins before she does anything. In desperation Vishous goes and gets Manny to help Payne. As soon as Manny sees Vishous he knows, just knows that what he is about to hear will alter his life. Vishous removes the veil from Manny’s memories and Manny knows the only reason Vishous would be here is because of Payne and he immediately demands that Vishous take him to her. While with Payne, Manny tries showing her that there can be life in a wheelchair but during the discussion things digress into a make out session where she proceeds to glow and starts being able to move her limbs… As Payne heals herself her and Manny get closer, yet the hope that they could be together gets further away.

In addition to Manny and Payne there is a large portion of the book dedicated to Vishous, Jane and Butch as well as Qhuinn and Layla. You will see an influx of several new characters that also get portions of the novel. (The Band of Bastards and Thomas DelVecchio aka Veck, of the NYPD).

I have to say I was disappointed with this novel, especially coming off of Lover Mine, which was one of the best of this series, in my lowly opinion.  The first half of the book was kind of boring and not much went on except Vishous losing it, I just kept waiting for something to happen. Payne and Manny were barely even in the first half or so it seemed. The first half concentrated mainly on Vishous and Jane and their marital problems while V was losing his marbles. Ok, now I know that realistically couples have problems, however, I hear my friends and family complain about their marital problems all the time. I really don’t want to read about it to that extent in my romance novel. Then you meet the band of “bastards” which were previously located in the Old Country but have decided to relocate to the New Country and their goals are to kill as many Lessers as they can, overthrow Wrath as king and find and torture the woman that killed Xcor’s father the Bloodletter. I don’t really get the influx of the Bastards. I assume they are going to be the new bad guys that eventually turn good guys, but frankly Xcor is not going to be a character that I will like any time soon. I had kind of hoped that Vishous would have found and killed him by the end of the book for daring to capture his sister, but alas he was still alive by the end of the book. Well there is always hope that he will die in the next one, if I read it. LOL! Maybe Xcor will redeem himself, although I did kind of like his minions Throe and Zypher. And there was a very smexy ménage with Xcor, Throe and the prositute. 

Payne and Manny seem just too easy, neither one of them puts up much of a fight, its love at first site and their biggest obstacle is Vishous, and well the fact that Manny is human, but even that gets resolved fairly easily. I would have liked to have seen Ward explore Paynes abilities more. So I guess Payne can look into the past much like Vishous can look into the future?? But it is only mentioned in passing but never explored. Payne can heal which we do see, but her ability like Vishous to destroy is only mentioned twice. Now, Vishous has his hand that always glows and is a constant worry but Payne can turn it on and off, why is that? Ward does not go deep enough into Payne for me; she is still somewhat of an unknown to me. Even Paynes capture was anti-climatic. Qhuinn shows up several times in this book, and finally admits his feelings towards Blay! Yay! Now if only he would tell Blay.  Now the rest of the brothers and their wives with the exception of Vishous, Butch and Jane are pretty much MIA. They are referred to but not seen much or at all. I've grown quite fond of the brothers, so that they didn't make appearances was kind of sad.

Now, I don’t want to come off like the book is all bad it does have its moments, there is a scene with Vishous and Butch that really pulls you in. It’s really pretty moving. Vishous seems to come to a much better place emotionally after that which you are happy for. He ends up redeeming himself in the readers eye, after being such an a$$ in the first half and him and Jane get to a whole new level in their relationship. There are also some tender moments with Payne and Manny as well as some steamy moments.

3 moons out of 5

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