July 19, 2011

Review: Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 5
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 25, 2007
Purchase Link: Amazon
In Caldwell, New York, war rages between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now the cold heart of a cunning predator will be warmed against its will.

Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, son of the Bloodletter, possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father's war camp he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time-until a destiny he didn't choose takes him into a future that cannot include her.

Jane Whitcomb has been an ignored child growing up as their family always favored her younger sister Hannah. On her birthday and the night that Hannah died they asked the Ouija board who she'll end up with. The answer spelled V-I-S-H-O-U-S.

Vishious knows sixteen languages, is a lover of books, a computer genius, master craftsman and son of The Bloodletter, the most infamous warrior in the history of vampires. Like most of his Brothers, he is cursed. Vishous has the curse of Sight, his hand can incinerate things on contact and his body marked by his own father as a warning to everyone that he's a danger to the society. Raised in his father's barbarian camp, he's been exposed to violence, rape and a myriad of ways on how to administer and endure torture, emotionally and physically. The identity of his mother remained unknown to him until his 303rd birthday, turns out he's a godling and has pre-ordained responsibilities that has to be performed as agreed upon by his parents before his birth. He is to be Primale (sperm donor) of the Chosen (harem) to sustain the race.

Love. Betrayal. Sacrifice. Death. Brotherhood. And major S&M.

Yup, apparently Ward did some research on some alternative lifestyles and decided to include it in this book. It's not bad, it's done with taste and you won't be reading some nasty dialogue. However if you're on the extreme right side of the fence, it might make you feel  uncomfortable. But considering Vishous backstory, it's only fitting that he will be into the Dom-thing.

Consistent with the previous books we'll see preludes to what will happen to the story of the Brotherhood as the series progress. The flow of the Brotherhood's life is already mapped out by Ward and as she writes the succeeding books, she just fills in the details as she goes along. That quality excites me and prompts me to go on reading. It's not all good, there are some rough spots but the flaws doesn't deter me from being fascinated by these hot, leather clad men who can suck out the air in a room with their sexual intensity and brooding personalities.

As always, Butch (my favorite) is still the comedian and the way he banters with people is just flat out hilarious. Any bromance going on in Lover Revealed has been cleared up in this book as well. In the scene below, Butch just asked V about his sexuality and after V admitted that he has misplaced feelings for Butch he went on to allude about the abuse he experienced as a pretrans in his father's camp:

V looked into his bestfriend's eyes and realized yeah. Butch wasn't going judge him. They were cool no matter what.

With a curse, V rubbed the center of his chest and blinked. He never cried but he felt as if he could at this moment.

Butch nodded as if he knew exactly what he was doing. "Like I said, my man, it's whatever. You and me? same as always, no matter who you screw. Although... if you're into sheep, that would be tough. Don't know if I could handle that."

V had to smile. "I don't do farm animals."
"Can't stand hay in your leathers?'
"Or wool in my teeth."


The first 450 pages of the book were amazing. V's story is something akin to the conception of Greek demi-gods, full of hardship and sacrifices, situations that will force the hero to come out of a person and realize his destiny. How he shed his tough-guy demeanor and bonded with Jane was very endearing. We expect to read another Warrior softened by love and whatever emotional baggage they have will be finally sorted out by their chosen mate. And yeah, the story was going in that direction...

Until Jane was shot and died.

That was the best part of the book because Ward kept it real. It's a very good twist and you can feel the tragedy that really happened because how the story build up to that point was written wonderfully. I heard myself saying "Oh, no!" several times as I was reading the chapter because I felt the loss of a loved one, the loss of a dream and a future that will never happen. And the drama that followed Jane's death is a page taken from a Leonardo DiCaprio movie.

Until the most ridiculous and impossible thing happened that ruined the whole thing. Jane lived and walk amongst us as Casper the Friendly Ghost who can eat, drink and have sex! Pssshhh!!!

Like SRSLY?! I feel like Ward's or the editor's computer got hacked and typed in an alternative ending on the last minute before it was turned in for publishing. I can't believe that I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning digesting the 500p book only to be confronted with major disappointment!

Enough said.

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