Lover Mine, by JR Ward

>> Monday, June 18, 2012

TITLE: Lover Mine

PAGES: 542

SETTING: Contemporary New York state
TYPE: Urban Fantasy / Romance
SERIES: 8th book in Black Dagger Brotherhood series

In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. Long divided as a terrifying battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race: the warrior vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him. After he was taken in by the Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was- or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny. As a vicious personal vendetta takes John into the heart of the war, he will need to call up on both who he is now and who he once was in order to face off against evil incarnate.

Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John Matthew. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow the male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.
I just realised I never posted this review, even though I've already read and reviewed the one that comes after it. Anyway, since I actually had this pretty much written and it only needed a bit of tidying up, here we go.

SPOILERS for the last book ahoy, so stop now if you haven't read it!

At the end of the last book, Xhex was taken prisoner by the evil Lash, son of the Omega, who had become fascinated by her. John Matthew, long crazy in love with her, although lately feeling betrayed and fighting it, is determined to rescue her. There, that's probably all the set-up I need, considering this is NOT the book to start with in this series, and anyone reading this will probably have read the previous ones.

The romance shaping up between John Matthew and Xhex has been a powerful lure throughout the previous, sometimes a bit blah books in the series. I haven't liked everything Ward has done with these two (for instance, there were a couple of things Ward had John do in the previous book that annoyed the hell out of me). However, I really, really wanted to read this. Part of it is that there just aren't enough romances out there with a nice boy hero and tough bitch heroine combination, and this was shaping up to be a brilliant one. Because when Ward does something, there are no half measures, she really, really goes for it (does she ever!), so good boy John was always incredibly, amazingly sweet, even after turning into a towering hunk of muscle, and bad girl Xhex really did do some horrible stuff. No fake bad girl here!

What I got in Lover Mine was a good story, but not as good as it could have been. I liked that Xhex is no maiden in distress and that she basically escapes herself, and I liked that she wasn't defanged, as I said earlier. But the dynamics of the relationship between her and John were incredibly tedious and disappointing, and they drove me crazy. It was just way too much back and forth that didn't really come from real character development. Love you, love you not. Be mine forever, we'll break up once we kill Lash. On, and on, and on. And on. Argh!!! I wanted something much better for this two, especially given how much angst there has been here, and therefore, how much I wanted a satisfying payoff.

I was also expecting a lot more difficulty on Xhex's part in entering her new life, but there wasn't much of that at all. I felt her character development was given short thrift. The woman had ISSUES in previous books, but here it's pretty much, hey, presto, I'm fine! I didn't really see any difficulty controlling her sympath nature. You know, the one that took painful cilices worn practically permanantly before? Yes, that one. It was a bit like Bella Swan turning into a vampire.

There's quite a lot of stuff on Blay and Qhuinn, a storyline I'm actually really interested in. However, I'm getting pissed off with Q. There's one point where he goes all "like he would want to be serious about someone who'd get naked straight away with a stranger", and then tries to excuse himself and claim he hasn't double standards because he rates himself just as low as them. Sorry, doesn't compute, if that was true you wouldn't think you deserve anything "better". His dilemma doesn't really gel for me. Plus, his reaction when it looks like Blay might actually stop pining for him and go for someone else, is classic dog-in-the-manger. Still, I'm willing to stay with these two and find out what happens.

And of course, there are loads of other things going on. There's stuff about the lessers (pretty blah), a couple doing ghost-hunting who run into something unexpected (didn't mind that subplot at all), and more. I really didn't mind having so many storylines knocking about. I've actually come to like that about this series, and kind of missed it in the previous book in the series and the one that starts her other series, where I really had a bit too much of the hero.



Darlynne,  20 June 2012 at 16:42  

Once upon a time, I was a diehard fan of this series. Each new book made me breathless. I don't know where the magic has gone, but I honestly can't find it now.

There were some good things in Lover Mine and there will always be good things in every book. And I will read each new story it comes out, but I've stopped re-reading them and didn't even buy Tohr's book.

I has a sad.

Darlynne,  20 June 2012 at 16:43  

AS it comes out. Sheesh.

Rosario 21 June 2012 at 06:50  

Yeah, exactly the same here. I'm now reading them months after they come out, and I'm not particularly fussed. It's a shame, it was a genuinely exciting series when it came out...

Danmark 21 June 2012 at 11:00  

Lover Mine has all the goodness we've come to love about the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Strong alpha vampires who live, love and fight hard. Although the focus of the series has moved beyond the actual brotherhood and their journeys to love and into the next generation of fighters, it still maintains that edge that sets it apart from other vampire series. There is much to talk about in this book, however I'll focus on the relationships in this review since I believe that Lover Mine digs a little deeper than some of the earlier books in the series, touching on the intricacies of love and friendship and the ties that bind these delicate yet intensely deep relationships.

Rosario 22 June 2012 at 08:06  

Danmark: sounds like you enjoyed it quite a bit more than I did! :-)

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