In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. The city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race: the warrior vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
Now back in the Brotherhood - and unrecognisable as the vampire leader he once was - Tohrment is physically emaciated and heartbroken beyond despair. When he begins to see his beloved in his dreams - trapped in a cold, isolating netherworld - Tohr turns to a self-serving fallen angel in hopes of saving the one he has lost. When he's told he must learn to love another to free his former mate, Tohr knows they are all doomed . . .
Except then a female with a shadowed history begins to get through to him. Against the backdrop of the raging war with the lessers, and with a new clan of vampires vying for the Blind King's throne, Tohr struggles between the buried past, and a very hot, passion-filled future . . . but can his heart let go and set all of them free?
For those who were a bit disappointed with the previous installment in this series due to it putting the main couple in a secondary role can rest assured that in this release the main couple's emotional journey is front and center. Relationships between a few couples are in turmoil in Lover Reborn which makes for an emotionally intense roller coaster of a story that I just gobbled up between tear drops and am now in withdrawal waiting for the next release in the amazing Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
The death of Wellsie completely shattered Tohrment's life and he's still trying to deal with it and just going through the motions when this story opens. Upon learning that Wellsie is suffering because of his inability to move on Tohr finally starts taking baby steps towards restarting his life. Enter No'One, the only woman kind enough to put up with Tohr's moments of anger and willing to be second in his heart. Tohr's suffering was very realistic and made my heart ache with his struggle to move on and the conflicting emotions it caused him. Entering into a relationship with No'One didn't happen overnight, there was a slow build-up to their coming together. In one way I liked the slow burn, it made their coupling that much hotter and it was more realistic for his character considering that Wellsie was the only female he'd ever been with. In another way, this part of the story dragged a bit and frustrated me at times. I enjoyed No'One and Tohr together. It was nice seeing that caring side of his return and seeing No'One slowly come out of her shell. Their sexual interludes were intense and varied and I definitely like the way JR writes the sexy sexing.
The path to their happy ending was a rough one where I wanted to slug Tohr for his insensitivity at times and for a particularly vicious verbal attack he made towards No'One. I was also frustrated by her subserviant behavior at the beginning but was cheering her on as she slowly started standing up for herself. By the end, the evolution of their characters made them a wonderfully compatible couple. He became a worthy male to her and she a worthy female to him.
John Matthew and Xhex are also having a rough time as she's trying to find acceptance in this male-dominated world. She's a strong woman who just wants to continue fighting against the Lessers like she always has. But John's bonded male instincts consume him where he wants to keep her away from the fight. This is like taking a part of her soul away. Fighting defines who she is, doing what must be done is in her genes. By taking that away she feels as if he finds her lacking and incapable. John loves her tremendously and it's hard seeing that the strength of his love is smothering her and making her feel weak. As they continued pulling apart I was practically screaming at them to make amends. Seeing them finally find their way back to each other was an amazing scene with some memorably romantic words and actions.
As if emotional issues aren't enough for the Brothers to deal with, the Band of Bastards are stepping up their plans to overthrow the Brotherhood. Assassinations and back door machinations abound as Xcor discovers he has a heart and decides to be different than his cruel father and brings his brothers closer to him by becoming a better leader. Through an intriguing part in the plot Xcor finds himself even more obsessed with the Brotherhood for reasons having nothing to do with politics.
And now for the part of the story that made me scream and pull out my hair....the Qhuinn/Blaylock/Layla triangle. I'm one of the readers strongly in the Qhuay camp and continue to be frustrated by them constantly being kept apart. In this book an act is committed that completely enraged me. It comes about in a very convoluted way and felt like a ridiculous plot device to keep Qhuay apart. My only hope that we can move on from this ridiculous act are Qhuinn's final words upon seeing Blay across the room,"Our future has come." And 2013 can't come soon enough for me to see these two Brothers finally come together.
JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series continues to keep me enthralled. She's has me laughing one minute, crying the next, and wanting to scream at the pages in frustration. But I always keep coming back. These characters are richly drawn and appeal to me on every level. The mix of romance, action, and exciting twists and turns keeps me on the edge of my seat everytime I pick up the latest installment until the final page is turned. As long as Ward keeps inviting me into this exciting world, I'll definitely keep revisiting.
My rating for this is an A.
*I purchased this book myself.