Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (spoilers abound)

Posted April 14, 2011 by Casee in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (spoilers abound)Reviewer: Casee
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #9
Also in this series: Lover Mine, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen
Published by NAL
Publication Date: March 29th 2011
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 512
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four-stars

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.

It’s really hard for me to review JRW’s books because I’m so opposed to what I see is her manufactured persona. My opinion isn’t humble, yo. She’s not writing what is “downloaded” in her head by the characters. She’s obviously writing what her readers want to read. Let me preface this review by saying this was as much Vishous’ book as it was Payne’s. Which might have worked (the twin thing and all) if Vishous hadn’t already had his book, hello. To me, a halfwaysortakinda fan that hasn’t quite given up, it was an obvious way of saying “I’m sorry I screwed the pooch and made Jane a G.D. ghost in Lover Unbound”. Pul-lease. Most of us are over that. If you’re not, you’re obsessed and need help. Bottom line, although I like V I wanted more Payne. Heh.

Dr. Manny Manello’s life has pretty much gone to hell since Jane died. When she resurfaces from the dead and tells him that she needs him to operate on someone, he really has no choice. He’s a doctor and his instinct is to heal. When his memories are released of the day that Jane’s husband came in the hospital, he is furious. Then he’s entranced by his patient. All he can think is that he has to save her. After he does that, his memory is wiped. He doesn’t know that of course. All he knows is that he’s drawn to a room in the hospital for a reason he doesn’t know. Day is night. He has big chunks missing in his memory. It must be a tumor.

It was actually painful to watch Manny go through what a mind wipe can do to a human. It’s obviously understandable why they need to wipe their presence from a human’s mind, but this was the first time that the consequences were apparent and very noticeable. Manny literally thought that he was going crazy. A man that ran a hospital and could basically operate with his eyes closed questioned his sanity because someone else decided what was best for him to know.

Then the BDB needs Manny again because although he operated flawlessly on Payne’s spine, she still isn’t walking. There is no progress at all. They once again return Manny’s memories and ask for demand his help. There was a key to healing Payne and only Manny could trigger it. That was well crafted and thought out. I thought it was perfect.

It might sound like I didn’t like this book, but I actually did. The romance between Manny and Payne was actually sweet. Manny saw Payne as delicate and a woman that needed protecting when Payne was a warrior in her own right. I really thought it was wonderful the way that Manny accepted Payne as she was and didn’t try to stifle who she was.

There was also another set of characters introduced, vampires from the Old Country. So I suppose there will be yet another spinoff. There was a lot of Qhinn self-reflection. At this point, I don’t care what happens with Qhuinn. Just get it done already.

On that note, I WANT TOHR’S BOOK.

4 out of 5.

four-stars

7 responses to “Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (spoilers abound)

  1. I couldn’t agree more. From my POV, the actual love story between Manny and Payne almost felt like an afterthought. I really didn’t need to read more about the Vishous/Butch dynamic (I know some fans are still angry that she didn’t portray them as an actual couple and another bunch of fans couldn’t get over Jane turned into a ghost), however, fact remains that he had his whole story told (and in far more detail than Payne) and then we had Butch’s book as well, with some Vishous in the mix because of their bromance.

    Frankly, you rated it far more generously than I would have. Though I do realize what you are rating is the actual story of what are supposed to be the main characters in the book: Manny & Payne (unless I misinterpreted the intent).

  2. @Mireya You’re exactly right about my rating of the book. When I finish a book, I immediately put my rating on Good Reads. In this case, as I was writing the review I was thinking that I probably rated it a 3 or 3.5. When I saw I rated it a 4, I was pretty surprised. Then I remembered that it was based on Manny and Payne because their story was sweet and it was what I was hoping it would be. It was just too short.

    Truthfully, I am completely over the V/Butch dynamic. There has been way too much attention given to the two of them and I could care less at this point. Nothing these two can do will further the series along as far as I could see. If anything, they are a detriment (see review).

  3. Oh,

    as a sorta half fan myself I really enjoyed this book.

    I don’t know if it’s because I come from a fantasy reading background and I am used to all the multiple plotlines but I don’t seem to obsess much about ‘who’s book it is’ and how much screentime they have been given.

    One thing I will agree on though is that JR spends far too much time online and far too much time writing to keep the rabid’s happy.

    If you go back to the beginning it is clear she has tacked things on and added stuff (and not even in a clever way). It’s like writing by committee. I don’t like it. As an artist you should have the conviction of your original story and go with it.

    Also, I think it’s a massive mistake to do Tohr’s book next. It’s waaaaaaay to early. Well, for me it is. Approx a year to get over Wellsie. Nope. Too soon.

  4. @Sayuri: I understand what you are saying. For me, the problem is that when I pick up a book expecting it to be romance, I expect it to center on the two people that are supposed to be the main characters in the story, in this case, it would be Manny and Payne. To make it worse in my case, I LOVED Payne and Manny, so having to go through pages and pages and pages about a bromance that, in my mind, was over and done with, was a waste of my time.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the author is now trying to please everyone… and frankly, I don’t think it’s working that well either.

  5. Well, Part of me thinks that Ward should have stuck to the original brothers and stop pulling characters out of nowhere, but anyway,

    I did like the Payne/Manny bits of the story but there weren’t that many of them. For me it was mostly Vi-part 2.

    I want Tohr’s book too.:P

  6. She’s not doing Tohr’s book next is she?

    I agree that a year is way too soon to give Tohr a new HEA. I just feel cheated somehow. She does keep adding characters that just NEED to be written about which takes away from the originality of the series.

  7. Willa

    I think Ward has strayed so far from her original story arc that she doesn’t know where she is anymore.

    Contradictory world building, handy
    deus ex machina’s and not knowing which way to swing with various characters.

    She lost me on book 5 – too many fab books out there to spend any more time with these.

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