In this 8th installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Ms. Ward drops us right back into the middle of the Brothers vs Lessers conflict and holds nothing back. After his Xhex was taken during a raid at the end of book 7, John Matthew & the Brotherhood spend 4 weeks searching for her while she is hidden right under their noses. Imprisoned and abused at the hands of Lash, John’s old enemy and the son of nasty big bad “the Omega”, Xhex is struggling to retain her sanity and her identity. This book is smokin’ hot, viciously intense, and a roller coaster ride through the spectrum of emotions.
- Title: Lover Mine
- Series: The Black Dagger Brotherhood series – book #8
- Author: J. R. Ward
- Prominent Characters: John Matthew, Xhex, Quinn, Blaylock, & Tohrment
- Recommended reader age: 17+
- Sexual content level: Moderate
John Matthew and the Brotherhood must find Xhex before Lash turns or kills her, or she dies from lack of male vampire blood. The clock is ticking and, though her body is physically still strong, her fragile psyche is constantly teased with the knowledge that even if they found her, they wouldn’t be able to help her. John is out of control, behaving like a bonded male and taking crazy risks to try to find his female. Meanwhile, a new story arc is begun and an existing storyline is developed even more intensely.
The long-awaited John Matthew book is a doozey. It was one of those books I couldn’t stop reading, but didn’t want to finish. I found myself constantly checking my progress (e-reader) to see how much more story I had left before the book was over! All the Brotherhood books are intense and addicting, but this one in particular really had me all wrapped up in it. Some of the scenes with Quinn and Blay were just heart-rending, and John’s personality is so intense yet self-sacrificing that it’s hard to not be fully invested in his situation.
This book wraps up a few story arcs that feature John Matthew, particularly the bitterness & regret between him and Tohr, the Lash conflict, and his eerie insta-connection with Xhex. We also get to see some of the Darius history & character development. Personally, I want him to remember and know and I was hoping that would happen in this novel, but that’s either not in the cards on purpose or is being held as an ace for a later book. It’ll be fun to keep reading and see if Ms. Ward ever lets him in on the big secret. 😉
I will say that, initially, the new storyline taking place at the old manor bed and breakfast with the ghost of Elias Rathboone was an unwelcome intrusion, but after figuring out where it was heading I started to enjoy it. That said, I’d probably have felt that way about any departure from the main storylines because they were SO INTENSE in this one.
On a separate note, I really love how Ms. Ward doesn’t play it safe with the homosexual undertones in this series. First it was Butch & V, and now Quinn and Blay. We know that nothing came of Butch & V, but I think we haven’t seen the last of Quinn & Blay, and we get a glimpse of that in this book. Those scenes are really well done too – descriptive enough to portray the emotions but discreet enough to keep from turning away some sensitive readers.
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It’s hard to think of anything right now that gives such a complete and satisfying escape into the story as this series does. When I read the BDB books, I literally cannot put them down and become obsessively lost in the stories. Using that as a gauge, there are a few other series that have a similar effect on me, although with slightly less intensity…
If you like the Black Dagger Brotherhood and Lover Mine, you might also like the Night Huntress Series (Cat & Bones) by Jeaniene Frost and the Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance. Not to be too critical of Ms. Harris, but the Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampire Chronicles) series, while entertaining & enjoyable, don’t even come close to this level of intensity and vivid emotional commitment for me. Since I really like SS/SVC, that’s saying a lot for the BDB! I’m still looking for something that hits as hard as the BDB series does, so if you have a recommendation for me, post a comment and let me know! I need my next fix. *grin*
Vampires have bromances too…
Chronologically speaking, Blaylocke son of Rocke had known John Matthew for just over a year.
But that was not a true reflection of the bromance. There were two timelines to people’s lives: the absolute and the perceived. The absolute was the universal day-and-night cycle that for them added to something like three hundred and sixty-five. Then there was the way that time period had gone, the events, the deaths, the destruction, the training, the fighting.
He figured all told… that pegged the two of them at about four hundred thousand years.
On loving and losing…
The thing was, all mortals were going to lose the ones they loved. It was the way life worked. But for most of the time, that reality was so far off in the mind that it had no more weight than a mere hypothetical. There were reminders, however, and the almost’s, the near-misses, the oh-God-please-no’s, snapped your chain and got you to stop and feel what was in your heart.
With each new book in this series (with the exception of maybe Phury’s book, which didn’t give me quite the same rush), Ms. Ward continues to masterfully interweave her vivid rainbow of story arcs while tying off some and threading in brand new ones. Sometimes she brings in the new ones so subtly, over several books, that you don’t even realize where it’s going until suddenly, we have new major players that are already part of the fabric of the BDB universe. The emotional spectrum she is able to evoke is so intense and hard-hitting that it is easy to lose hours at a time reading, and sleep fitfully dreaming of them. I haven’t been so emotionally invested in a book series, and dedicated to overnight reading sessions, since the last half of the Harry Potter series was released. When Payne’s book comes out next week, I think I’m going to need to schedule a 36-hour “do nothing but read” period, or I’m going to be so distracted and antsy I’ll be worthless for anything else!
If you have not started this series, OR if you read Dark Lover (the first book in the series) but weren’t bowled over, please please please give this series a chance! Read at least through Rhage’s book (BDB#2 – Lover Eternal) and see how you feel. If you can get through that one without breaking a sweat, then this probably isn’t the series for you. However, this series isn’t one of the most well-known and -loved in the genre for nothing. Where other series are starting to lose momentum in their later books (like the Sookie Stackhouse series), the Black Dagger Brotherhood is stronger than ever and as addicting as it was in the beginning (moreso, I say!).
|5 fangs: BITE IT!
I don’t give a 5-fang rating lightly. Even as I was reading this I kept thinking “I think this might make the 5-fang mark!” and it definitely did not disappoint. Ms. Ward is the master of anticipation and building the energy and momentum of a story, and John & Xhex’s story is a amazingly well written. Do yourself a favor: take the weekend off, find a comfy chair, and READ THIS BOOK! Of course, if you haven’t read the rest, you might want to get caught up first. But don’t wait too long, because we only have one week left until #9 is released: Lover Unleashed!
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