April 4, 2013

Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11)

Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11), by J.R. Ward
Published March 26, 2013
Publisher:  NAL
Format: e-book - I own
Genre:  Urban Fantasy, Adult Paranormal Romance

 Rating:  4 STARS

(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.

Talk about a hotly anticipated book. I was jonesing to read Lover at Last like I want a Hershey bar after dieting for two weeks. No - make that two months. I wanted it BAAAAAAD. When March 26 came and I downloaded it to my Kindle at 5:30 in the morning, I just sat there and petted the cover image while telling myself that I couldn't start reading it right then because I had to get ready for work. 

And, after all that anticipation, I have to tell you that I expected a lot. I mean, this is the Black Dagger Brotherhood. One of my favorite series of all time. And I absolutely adore Qhuinn. I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I expected whatever I got to be perfection. Perhaps that was my problem. I set the bar way too high in my mind. Because, to be honest, I was slightly disappointed. 

My problem was not with Qhuinn and Blay's story. My problem was that there wasn't enough of it. There was A LOT going on in this book. It's become a hallmark of the BDB books that, along with the main story, you get offshoots that set you up for the next book or two down the line. I knew that. But, in this case, it seemed like there was more of those side stories than usual. In addition to Qhuinn and Blay's story, we also had:
  • Xcor and Layla (and Xcor and the BoBs and Layla and Qhuinn - all interrelated)
  • Assail and Sola
  • Trez and Selena
  • Wrath and Beth (!!!)
  • Mr. C., the new forelesser
  • Saxton
That's a lot of other stuff that took away precious time that I felt was needed for Qhuinn and Blay. Their story has been building for so long now. They really needed more page time. BUT, I will say that, the page time they did get was well spent. Their story was sweet and frustrating and engrossing. Qhuinn broke my heart and then put it back together again. And, Blay was so frustrating, but man, when he gets his stuff together, wow is he amazing. 

The epilogue was a little out of place, though, I thought. A lot of what happened in it was a complete disconnect for me. It's not something that I would've ever seen Qhuinn do, and that made it feel really superficial and fabricated. I could've done without it. 

The side stories was all okay, but I feel like I didn't absorb them like I should have because I rushed through them to get to the parts about Qhuinn and Blay. It feels like Ward is trying to give Xcor a semblance of a heart. Assail seems like a Rhevenge clone to me, albeit a lesser version of him. He's more "bad" than Rhev ever was, and honestly, I wasn't all that taken with Sola, who is a new character. 

Trez's story starts in this book, and of all of them, this one was my favorite. He and his brother iAm have been around for quite a few books now, so we have had an opportunity to get to know him. I think that helps with the engagement - I feel more invested in his story than in Assail's or Xcor's. I look forward to his own book. 

Which will NOT be the next one, because as Ward announced last week, the next book will bring things full circle and be about Wrath and Beth (hence the !!!!s above). Ward's been flirting with the idea of them having a baby in the past few books, and events in Lover at Last indicate that the issue will be brought to a head in The King, which is the title of the next BDB book (no "Lover" in the title - curious...). 

And, yes, we do meet the new forelesser, but honestly, the lessers seem so much... less... then they used to be, especially with baddies like Xcor and Assail on the scene. Then, there's Saxton - poor Saxton - who was Qhuinn's sad stand-in until Blay got his head on straight. I think we'll see more of him moving forward. 

All in all, Lover at Last was a good read. How could it not be? I had some problems with it, but none that couldn't be overlooked. If you're a fan of the series, this is definitely NOT to be missed. 

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