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Review: Lover At Last by JR Ward

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Lover At Last
Author: JR Ward 
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: NAL
Black Dagger Brotherhood #11
ISBN: #978-0451239358
Genre: Paranormal Romance, m/m romance
Format(s): Hardcover (608 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds

About the book:

     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.

What Im talking about:

     Like almost every other fan of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I have been waiting for this story since Blay and Qhuinn shared their first (extremely passionate) kiss in the sixth book, Lover Enshrined (June 2008). I am happy to report that for me, Lover At Last met my expectations and is a wonderful addition to this long-running series.
     There is a lot that happens during Lover At Last, and I’m not going to try to give a play-by-play summary, but rather hit a few of the high points. Overall, I felt the writing was tight and the flow of the book much better than those in recent history. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I actually enjoyed every section and subplot, and I didn’t skip over any parts. All of the pieces created a richer story that I simply adored.
     First and foremost, this is the story of the love between Blay and Qhuinn. Although there is a lot going on around the couple, the book never loses focus on the ending point — their union. I knew that with their shared history, this wasn’t going to be an easy journey, but thankfully, their path to HEA wasn’t made to be ridiculously difficult. Prior to this book, we started seeing a more mature Qhuinn, and his transformation and growth continued during Lover At Last. At one point when he thought he might die, Qhuinn’s first regret was that he would never know is unborn daughter followed by the fact that he hadn’t told Blay his true feelings. As a parent, I got that and adored Qhuinn even more because of it. He has grown up.
     Blay… poor Blay. The young warrior has been hurt so many times by Qhuinn, and frankly, I didn’t blame him one iota when he continued to push Qhuinn away, even letting him believe Blay loved Saxton. I adored reading Blay’s innermost thoughts as he wondered if Qhuinn truly was growing up. His confusion and hesitation was all too real and perfectly done. I also loved Blay’s interactions with his family. Those parts of the story added value by demonstrating and contrasting the backgrounds of both warriors.
     Luckily for us, we didn’t have to wait the entire book for some sexy hookup time. At first, the couple’s sexual encounters were driven by anger and filled with desperation. It was very emotional to watch Qhuinn beg, taking whatever he could get, and have Blay push away when he felt they were getting too close. In the end, their romance was both passionate and sweet. The epilogue was probably one of the best scenes ever in a BDB story. *sigh*
     As far as the numerous side stories go, I have a hard time picking which is my favorite. First, we pick up again with the Lessers – and before you cringe and want to skip… these sections are not overly long and contain and/or initiate other powerful scenes that I enjoyed immensely. One of my absolute favorite scenes in the entire book falls into this category. While hunting Lessers, the Brotherhood finds itself in danger of losing one of their own. Qhuinn steps up big time and attempts to fly a plane to take the injured warrior home. The journey and conclusion was powerful and brought tears to my eyes. Just wonderful!
     There is also the continuing drama of Layla’s pregnancy (with Qhuinn). Again, I was prepared to be annoyed, but let me tell you, Layla grew some big ones since the last book. She’s a much more confident woman and I love how she stood up for herself when Havers tried to put her into a tough place. And the time Layla and Qhuinn spend together furthers my adoration for Qhuinn and how both characters have matured.
     The book also deals with Xcor and his Band of Bastards. Xcor is simply evil and twisted, and it will be interesting to see how Ms. Ward finds a way to redeem him. There is also a significant side story for Trez (thinking he may be the next book?!), and another dealing with Assail – the vampire who took over Rehv’s drug business in Caldwell. Both were left with significant loose ends that will hopefully be addressed in the next book. Finally, there is a very small and somewhat subtle thread dealing with Wrath, Beth and the idea of an heir/child. I really enjoyed the set up for some major (future) drama and conflict there.
     Honestly, I truly enjoyed Lover At Last from beginning to end and every bit in between. Blay and Qhuinn (and the reader) finally got the story they so richly deserved. I was delighted that every part of the book, including the numerous side stories, were well-written and enjoyable. Overall, I feel that as a whole book, Lover At Last is the best yet of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

My Rating:

 
Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)
 
 

Purchase Info:

Lover At Last (BDB 11)
Reviews in the Series:
Lover Mine (BDB 8)
Lover Unleashed (BDB 9)
Lover Reborn (BDB 10)
  • I have actually only been reading negative reviews of this book, for some reason that seems to be the first ones that came out with a vengeance. I’m so glad to read a positive one. Thanks for this. I have to read one more book to catch up – but I don’t think I’ll ever be done with the brothers. XOXO

  • ParaJunkee: I stayed away from reviews and comments until I had written mine, and I was shocked that so many people didn’t feel the same as I did. I hope you get a chance to catch up soon!

  • Ward is a hell of a writer and this book even with some issue I had, (like the past few books) had me form the first page. The ending was the best I’ve read in this series and she made me believe in Qhuay’s HEA. I want more of these two in future books.

    I’m team Xcor and Layla and bite me off a piece of Assail *rowl*

  • I haven’t read it yet, but I want to throw my two cents in – PLEASE let the next book be mostly about Trez! I love this series to death, and I’m Team Qhuay all the way, but this series is definitely, definitely lacking in diversity. I would LOVE a romance from a person of color’s perspective.

  • KT: I saw your letter to Ward… nice! I would love to see more of the couple in future books -especially since Qhuinn is *whispers* a Brother. However, as her world grows and grows, we see less and less of prior characters – for example very little of JM in this one, and he’s their BFF. Plus almost none of many of the mates.

    I love the direction she’s going with Layla and even XCor and it will hopefully be a great journey. And I too enjoyed Assail – I love how neutral he is b/c soon he’s going to have to take a side!

  • Erin: there is more of iAM and Trez in this book – with some SERIOUS changes occurring. Ward is definitely setting up Trez for major conflict and hopefully a book soon!! Thanks for stopping by – I hope you like LaL.

  • Jen I loved you review! Although I don’t agree totally!
    Overal it was a good book I could do with more shared emotion between the MC’s, I would deffinatelly love more JM, I loved the Brotherhood interaction and absolutely adored the Airplane scene!

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