Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood) – book review

Lover Unleashed
by J.R. Ward
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Publisher: Signet
Book #9 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series
Number of Pages: 511
Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Ages 17 and up
CW: violence, homophobia, misogyny, gore,
ableism, suicidal thoughts, rape
Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

With the focus of this book being on two characters who are known more on a surface level, I wasn’t sure if I’d be as immersed in the story as I have been with most of the other books in the series. Although this is technically Payne and Manny’s book, in reality, it is just as much V’s book.

Vishous didn’t know about his twin sister Payne until the end of the last book, Lover Mine. None of the brotherhood did. Not even Wrath, who was friends with Payne, knew who her family was. With V’s first introduction to his twin being her desperately needing medical help, it’s very emotional for one who suppresses his emotions at all costs. Not only does this mess with his mental well-being, but it also messes with his marriage and his relationship with his best friend Butch. The turmoil V, Jane, and Butch all have to go through is agonizing. Yet the way Butch steps up to the plate and the vulnerability Vishous finally shows to those that love him the most is phenomenal. I was never sold on Butch and V not ending up together in a romantic capacity until this book. They love each other deeply and very well could have been a couple, but Butch needed that one small step down from mate to be able to do what needed to be done. I don’t think their connection is any less than V’s connection with Jane, it’s just different. Still beautiful no matter what the label is with them.

When it comes to Payne and Manny, that relationship is a slow burn. Poor Manny. The Brotherhood has messed with his memories too many times and it’s having dire consequences for him. Plus, meeting Payne has changed him. She’s his mate, only he doesn’t know what that means, who she is, or even that he knows her. There have been hints in past books as well as sprinkled throughout this one that there may be more to Manny than it seems. That reveal is a lot of fun in this book that has a lot of painful and gut-wrenching moments. Manny’s connection to Payne will not be denied and I loved them both, at different times, trying to ensure each other’s happiness.

The story of Quinn and Blay hasn’t been left behind. Quin is turning over a new leaf, which I’m glad for. But he’s still stubborn, and now it seems Blay is becoming just as stubborn. There were a few revelations with Quinn that were interesting. One that bothered me is about him being color blind. First of all, I have no problem with him actually being color-blind. I have a problem with the fact that it seems to him that means he can only see shades of grey??? Okay, fine. He’s not human. I can go with that. Until he, repeatedly, thinks about different eye colors and the intensity of those eye colors. More than once in this story it is something he has reason to reflect upon. So I’m curious to see how the author either pivots and changes this aspect of Quinn, or explains how this all works.

That all being said, I’m loving how full the Brotherhood mansion is getting and the different personalities that are filling it up. There are some new foes in town for the brothers that should give a nice refresh to the series. I found their stories much more interesting than those of the Lessening Society, which wasn’t a big focus this time around.

4.5 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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