Lover At Last by J.R. Ward

This is going to be epic –my only thought as I cracked open the 11th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Lover At Last by J.R. Ward. This 591-page behemoth has got to be the longest book yet. It’s no wonder because this book not only (finally) offers the story of Blay and Qhinn, it expands this story by three additional plotlines. The world of the brotherhood is about to be an entire galaxy.

13570854Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another….

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions… but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together… finally become one.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read Ward, so it was so refreshing to hear her witty, crass tone jump off the page. Ward is badass. period. She’s really outdone herself with this one. Not only is she tackling one of the first mainstream romances about (gasp!) two males, but she’s expanding the world surrounding the brothers three-fold. Ward not only delivers fresh, new characters but she revisits practically everyone– Wrath, Beth, Rhage, Thor, Z, V, Rehv, Hhex, John Matthew, Fitz, Butch…all of them! Practically everyone gets their own cameo in this book and I loved seeing everybody. What’s amazing is her characters are so diverse and unique that you can tell every single one of her characters apart. They all have their own pasts and personalities that lead them to different but similar futures. I love living in her world.

Ward writes with such unforgiving honesty that I envy her ability to just create, no judgment, no holding back–just an ass-kicking good time. (Side note: There was one thing that stuck out to me this time around. Ward references so many modern-day things, which I like because I can see what she’s talking about, but 20 years from now the reader won’t be able to understand “Mayhem” from Allstate is a comical character on an insurance commercial from the early twenty-teens. Sometimes it’s just a little too much, no matter, I enjoyed the crap out of it anyway.) I’m amazed that she keeps building and building her series and I don’t want it to ever end.

Now to the good stuff, Blay and Qhinn. This relationship was a loooong time coming. I thought the story itself was good. There was a lot of drama between the two because they couldn’t be honest with each other but the emotions just added to the sexual tension. And Ward does not hold back on the love scenes in this book. They are as dark and sexy as ever. However, between Qhinn and Blay I was more fascinated with the subject matter than turned on. It didn’t really do anything for me but I’m so, so glad they got their happily ever after. (They LITERALLY got a happily ever after people.)

One thing that surprised me was the additional storylines that were created in this book. We only get to see Blay and Qhinn half the time. We get to see the stories of Xcor, Trez and Assail unfold–complete with sexual tension of the heterosexual variety. (A good call on Ward’s part to play to what some of us ladies need to see to get our fix.) I loved the potential for another book with each of these characters. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want Xcor and Layla to be together because I do, for like forever. One of their scenes was so sweet and hot at the same time I thought I was going to spontaneously combust!

There is also a lot of action in this book. Between the Band of Bastards and the Lessers there’s a lot of political intrigue and ass-kicking. My favorite part of the whole book was the plane scene with Qhinn and Zhadist. I was practically in tears. There is just so much I could say about this book. It was truly, truly epic and I cannot wait to read more. Some people feel like Ward should wrap this series up but I could keep reading for many, many years to come.

The next book in the series, The King, comes out in 2014. This one will be about Wrath and Beth coming full circle back to the characters from book 1. Perhaps that’s why she changed up the title by not including the word “lover.” Regardless of the name, I will most definitely be devouring this next installment.

STARS: 5 out of 5

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