(NOTE – I usually endeavor to keep my reviews spoiler free, however, this is the 10th book in a series. The review will not spoil any of the major plotlines of THIS book but if you are not caught up on the series, there may be slight spoilers regarding events in previous books.)
by J.R. Ward
Published by NAL
Publication Date: March 2012
Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment is a heartbroken shadow of the vampire leader he once was. Brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel, he fights again with ruthless vengeance- and is unprepared for a new tragedy. Seeing his beloved in dreams—trapped in a cold, desolate netherworld—he turns to the angel to save his former mate, only to despair at the path he himself must take to set her free. As war with the lessers rages, and a new clan of vampires vies for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between an unforgettable past, and a future that he doesn’t know he can live with… but can’t seem to turn away from.
It has been mentioned here before but I will remind you that I am a full fledged, unabashed Black Dagger Brotherhood ADDICT! I have been known to buy the same book multiple times, because I give them away to get other people addicted. I pimp them to everyone I know, readers and non-readers alike. And I usually buy every book, on release day and start it right then, greedily devouring the book as quickly as I possibly can. For the first time ever, though, I did not get this book on the release day. I wasn't even excited about it, to tell the truth. Though I liked the last book in the series, I didn't love it as much as I have most of them. In addition to that, I was apprehensive about this story. Though we didn't get to know her for long, I LOVED Wellsie and wasn't sure I'd be able to accept anyone else in Tohr's life. So, I decided to wait to buy this one. Yeah....that lasted all of three days! Come on...it's the Black Dagger Brotherhood! I was damn near tapping a vein as I saw all of my online buddies discussing the book! Excited or not, I needed to get it and get back into that world. I just hoped it would exceed my relatively low expectations.
I'm so happy to say IT SO TOTALLY DID!! I LOVED IT! It felt so right to be immersed in that world again; it was like going home and seeing friends I hadn't seen in about a year. I love the way J.R. Ward is keeping us up to date with what is going on with the Brothers that have already had their books and introducing us to new characters and storylines while keeping the major focus on the main couple. I did have a couple of minor issues with the book but overall it was a rousing success to me.
What I LOVED:
- I was concerned that I would not accept Tohr with anyone but Wellsie but I like the way this story played out, for the most part (more about the part I didn't care for is farther down). I love the way Tohr was basically forced into moving forward with his life. It was painful, angsty, he fought against it and the one thing that made him give in is the one thing those of us who loved Wellsie could understand. And it involved some hot, dirty, smutastic lovin and WHO DOESN'T LIKE THAT?!?
- I liked the focus on the Band of Bastards. It was good to get to know more about them and their agenda. I have picked a favorite among them but he doesn't yet compare to my love for any of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I am intrigued by their stories and motives, though, and look forward to seeing more of them in the future.
- I am probably in the minority in this but I liked the progression of Layla's character. I understand that she is almost universally disliked but I've always been a fan of hers and felt that she's never quite gotten her due. The developments with her in this book are setting up some very interesting scenarios/storylines in future book and I can't wait to see how they play out!
- I am also in the minority on the issue of Qhuay. I have never wanted to see Blay and Qhuinn together and am not excited about their story. I do love Qhuinn, though, and he got to be a SUPREME BAD ASS in this book, in the midst of his mopey, pining for Blay. Could've done without the moping and pining but loved the hell outta the bad assness; oh yes! Now if he would just get his piercings back, my fantasies would...I mean...ahem...I could be a happy girl again!
- I adored the glimpses of Rhage and V and Butch, etc. Loved that a lot of the humor came from some of our old favorites. It's fun to catch up with them and be reassured that all is going well for them.
- Lassiter. THAT DUDE is HILARIOUS! Love him! Can't wait to find out more about him and his future!
- I was happy with the level of humor in this one. It was full of a lot of emotion and could have been a very dark book, without much levity. I feel the humor was appropriate and needed to help get us through some of those very tough, soul scarring parts.
What I didn't love QUITE as much:
- There is a major subplot involving the estrangement of one of my favorite couples in the series. While I was eventually able to see they symmetry between what was going on between them and the major couple and understood how the familial ties all played a part in the drama, I still didn't love it. For one thing, I feel we'd already dealt with their major issue previously. Also, part of their issue is something that I can foresee as a problem for Qhuay and I really don't want to go over this ground again. So, it irritated me but, in the end, I like the way it all worked out.
- There was a twist about 15 pages from the end that I DID NOT see coming and it INFURIATED ME! I was ready to pitch the book across the room! While I respect the surprise aspect of it, it took the drama one step too far for me. I was glad it was resolved rather quickly because a chick was ANGRY!
That was it, though! Those two things are the only things that prevent me from giving the book a perfect rating but they didn't take away from the story enough for me to say I didn't love it. I give it a very enthusiastic 4.5 out of 5. I've read that the next book (spoiler alert) is going to be Qhuay's story. As I said, that doesn't really excite me but neither did this story...and look how it turned out! As usual, it's about the BDB, so I'll be there with bells on!