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Graphic Designer, painter, dreamer, fashion addict, unhealthy obsession with shoes and jewelry. Film lover and oh yes....books! :D
Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9) - J.R. Ward FINALLY finished this. I don't know why but this wasn't easy for me to finish. Actually, that's a lie I do know why it was difficult to get through. The story seemed to drag on forever and I found myself losing interest a few times. I really liked Manny and Payne. They were sweet just wish they were given more airtime in this. I felt this was more of V's story then Payne's and it was frustrating. Payne and Manny kind of took a back seat in this which was disappointing.

Contrived Re-writing History at it's Worse
Sorry Ward, but I'm calling you out on this because it's completely unavoidable given the number you did in here. Clearly Ward wasn't happy with where she left things with V and Jane or wanted a redo for some G-d unknown reason cause there was a whole bunch of reinvented 'drama' and contrived angst that all of the sudden popped up in here with V and Jane that IMO made no sense. It wasn't believable to me and came off as a last minute 'rewrite' and change to what previously happened in V's book. It's like both characters did a complete 180 in here. I was NOT happy about that. She seemed to do a whole lot of back-peddling and revising history which pissed me off. It put readers in the position of questioning V's feelings towards Jane and wondering if he was truly happy. As a fan of their story, that made me chafe.

In fact, the whole Jane/V/Butch subplot in this was a a huge unnecessary waste of space. And the idea of her writing this in because she felt Vutch fans weren't 'happy' (are you kidding me?!) is ridiculous and infuriating on so many levels. I'm hoping it's just BS gossip and not true. Sorry but V and Butch are not a couple, that's how it played out and that's how it should stay IMO. Both Butch and V were written as being happily mated and completely in love with their shellans, so now having both males acting like their shellans come in second place completely undermines and rewrites the whole story that Ward gave each brother. Foul Ward! Having V show signs of insecurity of his feelings and shoving Butch in the mix as the 'only one' who can help him just screamed contrived bullshit. They are best friends who have a close relationship, it was addressed and settled in V's book (what more could you ask for to clear the air?!) that Jane was his love and he can't live without her. Apparently that was a 'bogus' attempt at clearing the air for some. And excuse me but Jane can't handle V's DOM lifestlye? REALLY???! Since when? Yeah sorry but that's crock. The last time I checked the girl was completely happy and a willing participant in his sessions if Rehv's 'run in' with them in Lover Ahvenged was any indication. Yes she's a big fan of his kink lifestyle. Always was always will be, that was a never a question. So now all of sudden she's not really into it and doesn't really like V playing a Dom...BS meter is way up there on that. And her not being aware of his entire sordid history with his abusive father was another load of BS. She didn't just hear about it 'once', in Lover Unbound they had a nice thorough emotional conversation while holed up in his room an entire day, V opened himself up completely to Jane and explained his scars and his whole history and they talked about it MORE THAN ONCE Ward. If you really expect me to believe that all this has magically been swept under the rug just for Butch and V's magic kinky time you are out of your effing mind. Contrived rewritten inconsistencies don't count for jack in my book. I don't like inconsistencies and rewriting character history just to benefit or make certain people happy. You wrote the story that way, stick to it. Don't undermine the integrity of the characters cause some fans want to bitch about why characters didn't get this or that. Not everyone gets what they want in the land of fiction, which is why there is fan-fiction, so if this reasoning is really true as to why Ward thought it was necessary to revisit the whole V/Butch drama then it's a real shame. She managed to completely undermine and eff up the integrity of the characters and their pairings for a few pages of shits and giggles that meant nothing. Eh.... *breathes*

Moving on....

Thankfully there was a wrap up to it and everything was settled but I didn't think any of that story was necessary and I will just pretend that the characters had a major brain fart moment. V's issues took front seat in this and Payne's story suffered from it. Minus their first meeting in the beginning the next scene Manny and Payne share together doesn't happen until the middle of the book. Major WTF for me. They are the main players in this, they aren't supposed to fade into the background.

Payne intrigued me. I loved that she was so protective and worried over her twin. The whole identical twins and sharing the same features/coloring was great. And excuse me but flipping cute. V surprised me with how quickly he jumped into the protective brotherly role I thought he would for sure be freaked out by it but he surprised me with this take charge attitude. Their growing relationship was really sweet and almost made the all the lame drama worth it. Manny was just awesome as ever. He did remind in many ways of Butch, and what do you know that correlation ended up playing into it at the end. I do think the ending wrap up was a little too neat and tidy and a whole wallop of convenient and kinda cheesy. I mean with Butch it was a nice unexpected twist, it worked. Here? It just seemed recycled and unimaginative. How many relatives does Butch have out there? And the whole reason/plot point for Manny losing his job was unrealistic and contrived and really weak. He shows up to work disoriented one day and is put on leave? REALLY??! He's the chief of staff, is the top surgeon of Caldwell and NY, he's given no warnings, no days off, nothing just loses his job over that one day of being disoriented? Come. On. Ward you can do so much better than that. That was a way too simple and an easy 'out' for him to come live at the mansion w/ the Brotherhood. And I do wish Payne got to do more ass kicking in this. I was really wishing and hoping she would share scenes with Xhex. Those two I felt had a lot in common and it would have been awesome to see them fighting side by side.

Also, it did bug me how none of the other characters living in the mansion were given actual dialogue. They made appearances in a few scenes but were acknowledged with a few grunts, mumbles, nods and that's it. I mean Ehlena is a nurse at Jane's clinic she played a major role in helping Jane take care of Payne and the Brothers she was present in a lot of scenes yet the girl didn't utter. one. word. through the entire book. WTH? That was aggravating and unrealistic to no end. Ward couldn't scrounge up a few words to give her instead of turning her into a mute? I call foul on that one.

Oh! And what the heck happened to NoOne?? She wasn't even mentioned or seen anywhere in this book which I found really strange and kind of absurd. She came from the Sanctuary solely to look after and serve Payne, it's the reason she crossed over. Did Ward forget about this?? We don't hear about her or see her at all in this. Payne didn't even mention or ask for her once. I found that really strange and careless in regards to the writing. It's a big detail to gloss over IMO. NoOne should have played a role in this story yet was nowhere to be seen. She clearly is going to play a major role in the next book, Tohr's book, yet here we don't see her at all?? WTF Ward? If that was intentional then that makes no sense because Payne is the one of the main reasons she came over to the other side, she should have had interaction, dialogue, freaking TALKED to her yet she seemed to be nonexistent in this. Big WTF for me.

And onto the never ending triangle: Saxton/Blay/Qhuinn. I haven't mentioned this before so I may as well mention it now in this review just to get it out. The whole Qhuinn/Blay story is breaking my heart and making me want to rip my hair out. I love those two so much they are being stubborn idiots I just hope they get it together. If Ward has a plan for them she better get on it now, just do it cause there's only so much more teasing and stalling I can take with those two. Outside parties included. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. Authors have to be real careful when dragging out certain stories or possible pairings in lengthly series like this. It sucks the fun out and build up if it's dragged out to infinity. As for the 'outside parties' love Saxton, he's one delicious charming sexy guy, Layla I could do without. Maybe it's cause I'm bias I dunno but her 'struggle' to fit in the real world and satisfy a male sexually does nothing for me. Been there done that with all the other Chosens and Marissa. I'm over the whole fragile ethereally beautiful 'perfect' female vampire thing. Please move onto something new. I'm already a big Qhuinn & Blay fan, I want them to get their HEA but not at the expense of dragging this out any further with torturous slow pacing and ridiculous reasons for them being apart. It made sense at the beginning and I think what needed to happen has in regards to Qhuinn and finding himself and figuring out what he wants. The only question now is when or even if it will happen (and I really hope it will or else I will have a major bone to pick with the Warden). Cause seeing Qhuinn making continuous eyes at his BFF and fantasizing about him while he's with another man is unbearable. His reasons for staying away are now just wishy washy BS. I've read this series in short progression so thankfully it wasn't as drawn out for me but still, I'm already getting tired of the torture wheel. If this keeps going it will get to the point that the possible payoff won't be worth it or I won't care. And that whole 'vision' Qhuinn had with Layla made me really nervous. I really hope Ward doesn't take that where I fear she will. That would be cruel.

And as for the new crew of 'badass' bastard vampires....I'm intrigued. So far. At first I didn't care much for them thought of them as nothing more than lessers with fangs. But seeing how the whole interaction with Payne played out (not to mention that surprisingly HOT scene with that prostitute um....HELLO @_@ *fans self*) I'm curious about them. Throe in particular. Seems like that guy has the most conscience and heavy heart among his band of brothers. I'd like to know his story. And Xcor surprised me as well. I'm curious to see where Ward takes these guys. I really hope they don't go the evil route. I wouldn't mind seeing them joining the Brotherhood's fight against the Lessers.

As a whole, it was a decent story. Just not the best and the overall plot could have definitely been juiced up. Aside from Payne's injury nothing really happens which is disappointing.