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Review: Lover Reborn

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Lover Reborn
Author: J.R. Ward  
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: NAL Hardcover
Black Dagger Brotherhood #10
ISBN: 0451235843
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Hardcover (592 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds

About the book:

     Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment has been unrecognizable from the vampire leader he once was. Physically emaciated and heartbroken beyond despair, he has been brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel. Now, fighting once again with ruthless vengeance, he is unprepared to face a new kind of tragedy.
     When Tohr begins to see his beloved in his dreams—trapped in a cold, isolated netherworld far from the peace and tranquillity of the Fade—he turns to the angel in hopes of saving the one he has lost. But because Lassiter tells him he must learn to love another to free his former mate, Tohr knows they are all doomed….
           
     Except then a female with a shadowed history begins to get through to him. Against the backdrop of the raging war with the lessers, and with a new clan of vampires vying for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between the buried past and a very hot, passion-filled future…but can his heart let go and set all of them free?

What VampBards talking about:

     Lover Reborn, J.R. Ward’s anxiously awaited title in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series was well worth the wait.  I was on pins-and-needles throughout this title.  Expertly crafted plot, with so many highs and highers, I felt as though I was on a roller coaster.  By the time I’d reached the end, ask Mr. VampBard… I’d cursed Ms. Ward several times and threatened to write her hate mail.  ‘S all good, though.  Feel me?
     The first thing that I’d like to mention about Lover Reborn is that it’s a painful title to read.  It churned up a lot of emotions for me, and required Kleenex.  Prolly Puffs Plus with Aloe.  Watching the Brother, Tohrment, stuck in his grief, was even more difficult than in past BDB titles.
     Lassiter continues to be a key player in Tohr’s existence.  There’s a bit of an important factoid that comes out in this title:  Wellsie isn’t in the Fade… she, and the unborn child, are in the In Between.  This place, where Lassiter was prior to his Maker giving him the option of guiding Tohr to do what was necessary for him to let go of Wellsie so that she could move on, is a dismal place – a personal purgatory.  Tohr is led to believe, by the angel, that HE is the reason Wellsie and the young aren’t in the Fade.  He’s told it’s going to take blood, sweat & tears for her to be released from her prison… and Tohr had better hurry up, because she couldn’t live in that place forever.  Lassiter sums it up pretty well here, when he’s talking to Tohr about why he was assigned to him, and where he stands about the assignment:

“I don’t know… I guess I just want what your shellan does.”  He shrugged.  “End of the day, the quick and the dead are the same.  Everyone’s just looking for home.  Plus… I don’t know, you’re not so bad.”  (location 3083, Kindle edition)

     Don’t worry though.  The angel provides a lot of comic relief during tense situations.  Thank him for keeping the Kleenex consumption down to a mere box.  Seriously.
     Because he loved Wellsie with his entire being, looked forward to their son, Tohrment’s devastation was utterly complete.  His memories were so vivid and heart-wrenching for the reader, realizing that he was dwelling in the past.  In this passage, Tohr has Wellsie’s mating gown lain out on his bed in the mansion:

“Tohr slipped his palm down to the satin skirting.  Closing his eyes, he imagined her warm, vital flesh filling out the gown once again, her breath expanding and contracting the confines of the bodice, her long, long legs holding the skirting up off the floor, her red hair curling down to the black lace of the sleeves.” (location 1200, Kindle Edition)

     Because Tohrment had a serious turn-around, things do turn out alright for Wellsie and the young.  Even after the reader experiences the major schtuff with Tohr, he does right by her in the end, after tap-dancing around all the REALLY difficult stuff.  Traveling on this journey of healing with him was really what Lover Reborn was all about.  I’m so glad I was able to set aside my reservations about reading this title, and was able to immerse myself in the Brothers once again.
     No’One, Xhex’s mom, is also an integral player in Lover Reborn.  Not only is she building a relationship with Xhex, but she finds herself re-connecting with Tohr.  She learns about Tohrment’s life, since her death, by taking a peek into one of the peering/vision bowls of water used on the Other Side:

“No’One picked up the bowl, holding it with her palms, not her fingers.  With barely perceptible movement, she began to  circle the water, picturing Tohrment’s back as clearly as she was able.
Soon enough, a story began to unfold, told in moving pictures that were russed in living color, and animated by love.”  (location 2193, Kindle edition)

     Here, we’re able to re-live the love Tohr and Wellsie shared.  The event, something we haven’t seen previously:  the moment Tohr found out Wellsie was carrying his young.  Yes.  This was one of those Kleenex moments.  No’One understood that no one would ever replace Wellsie’s place in Tohr’s heart, especially the way he was feeling and reacting at this point-in-time.  Especially the anger.
     No’One evolved as a character in a substantial manner.  Her transformation throughout the course of the book was spectacular.  Around the 97% mark… yup.  Get out your Kleenex again.  I threatened hate mail to Ms. Ward if she didn’t fix that part in a really, really good way (no spoilers!).
     We all know it’s going to happen.  Tohr and No’One hook-up.  Initially, Tohr thinks that he’ll just be able to let someone else in enough to get Wellsie on her way to the Fade, do a bit of feeding so he appears to be on the road to recovery.  No. Dice.  This plot line takes some serious ups & downs…maybe like a 12-step program…hairpin turns… cork-screws… 180-degree turns.  All. Over. The. Place.  Sometimes, I didn’t know what way was up; I surely enjoyed the ride, however.  In this passage, Tohr finally gives in and sees No’One through fresh eyes.  It’s a start:

“And No’One, in spite of her opinion of herself, was a hell of a lot more attractive than root vegetables…” (location 4809, Kindle edition)

     No’One’s involvement, however, doesn’t come without a price to herself.  She has to face her abuse at the hands of the sympath that raped her before she can allow herself to become physical with Tohr – even to allow him to feed.
     There’s some conflict with JM and Xhex this go-round.  I really like the way Tohr makes a connection with JM in this passage, typical WARD snark:

“In the wake of No’One’s pissed-off departure, Tohr decided that short of the fact Jonh Matthew hadn’t managed to cut himself on the hand and foot thus far tonight, it looked like Tohr and the kid had a lot in common:  Courtesy of their tempers, both were now dressed in the Captain Asshole costume – which included, for no extra charge, the cape of disgrace, the booties of shame, and keys to the F*(k Up mobile.” (location 1925, Kindle edition)

     And…this passage also shows how ‘up-a-creek-without-a-paddle’ the boys find themselves.  JM even gets his butt-in-a-sling with the other two members of the New Troika.

“No,” Blay cut in.  “This is not okay.  You cut the shit, John – you let him come with you.  I don’t care if you’re going to be with Xhex or not.  You owe this to him (in reference to Qhuinn).  (location 2994, Kindle edition)

     While JM is going through some issues with the marital bliss thing, he’s also still mourning Wellsie.  I loved the way Ms. Ward relayed John’s inner turmoil over her loss:

“Goddamn it, she was never going to know that he’d made it through his transition, or that he was a halfway decent fighter, or that he’d gotten mated.  If he ever had a child of his own, she’d never hold it in her arms, or see a first birthday, or get to witness first steps or first words.
Her absence made his own life seem less full, and he had the awful feeling that was always going to be true.”  (location 10398, Kindle edition)

     Qhuay fans will be happy to know that they have some continued heat… and there’s a brief Blay/Sax scene… Um.  And there’s some surprising stuff going on with Qhuay.  My jaw hit the floor in a MAJOR way.
     Ah, the villainhood in Lover Reborn, besides JM and Tohr for being complete jerks at times, fell to the Band of Bastards.  This troop of vamps from the Old Country are led by Xcor, son of Bloodletter, and his second-in-command, Throe.  Interesting dynamic here.  I’m absolutely positive we will see the BoB in the next installment of the BDB.  Too many unanswered questions.  Oh, and the DRAMA these boys cause… I’m pretty sure that soap opera writers couldn’t do any better.  **dramatic eye-roll**  We do, however, learn that Xcor may not be as he appears on the surface.  Interesting.  Veeerrrryy interesting.  Yeah, he still wants to over-throw Wrath, but the conflict provides the reader with LOTS of action, for those that enjoy the battles.  Not so much going on with the lessers in this title, however (yay).
     I am able to safely say that I truly enjoyed Lover Reborn.  Even with all the cranking-up of the conflict to unimaginable heights that caused laughter and tears, I enjoyed the story.  I may have cursed Ms. Ward several times throughout reading the book.  I still have utmost love for Tohrment.  I was satisfied with the ending, even though several times toward the end, I nearly threw down my Kindle and didn’t finish, feeling that the author was not going to allow the conflict to resolve to my satisfaction.  Never fear, J.R. Ward delivered.
VampBards Rating:
Personal favorite – a must read (A+)
 
 
 
Purchase Info:
Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood #10)
Reviews of series titles:
Lover Mine (BDB #8)
Lover Unleashed (BDB #9)
Twimom’s Thoughts on Lover Reborn (4 Stars)
  • I’m not done reading yet so I just skipped to the rating. I’ll be back for the review soon. So glad to hear you liked it though!! 🙂

  • Una

    I just finished and am SOOOO with you Vampbard! She made have had some issues with V, but Tohr…she did right, the story came out as it should…I’m currently in awash of emotion. Although, with some of the “ending” info…so want the next book…wonder who it will be….

  • Hey girl! Great review and loved how you broke it down! I loved this book!!! One of my favorite in the series and it truly showcased why this series and Ward’s writing is just the best!

  • @Vixen: Love to hear your thoughts 🙂
    @Una: you know my feelings about Tohr already. Had she not done this story right, I’d have been done.
    @Bells: I suppose I should have added more about how the Brothers seemed cohesive in this title. Moreso than in the past couple. That comeraderie, i suppose, is one of the reasons I truly love this series.
    @TwiMom: going to read your thoughts 🙂

  • I agree with Una… Ward did something right on this one and was a huge recovery after V’s book. It was perfect for me, since that was the last book I read in the series, before I lost faith in Ward. Oh boy did she deliver? I was most impressed with how well this book could stand alone. For someone that missed the last 3 chapters of the story (Revh, Payne and JM)this book did awesomely well bringing me up to speed 🙂 Great review Vampbard!

  • I really enjoyed the book, but I think because I am not in love with Tohr and Autumn/No’One, I’m not in love with the book. Ward did an amazing job with Tohr and I enjoyed every step of his grieving process, but in the end – was it necessary for him to find another female to move on? Still, very good book and MUCH better than the last one! JM is still my favorite!

    Ward will be announcing TODAY who the next book will feature!

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