Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11), J.R. Ward
Publisher: The Penguin Group
Genre: Het Romance
Tags: UF/ Paranormal – Vampires
A somewhat disappointing end (for this reader, not the series) to a series that I once loved.
This review contains a lot of spoilers. J.R. Ward fans are known to be brutal so if you are not interested in what I have to say about Lover at Last, do not read my review. We all have a right to our opinions and this review contains mine. If you are interested in J.R. Ward squeedom, read someone else’s review. You will not find that here. I also apologize in advance for the length of this review and the occasional sarcastic comment.
This book is probably supposed to be categorized as M/M Paranormal. After reading it I could not classify it as such as very little time is devoted to the main characters, Blay and Qhuinn. The author herself placed them more into a secondary character category by writing more about various other (hetero) characters than the ones the book was supposedly written about. Therefore, I am categorizing this review as M/F Paranormal.
This book was supposed to be it. Blay and Qhuinn were finally getting their story. No more back and forth. No more “Will they?” or “Won’t they?” They were finally going to get beyond their past issues and stubbornness and finally find their happily-ever-after together. So what happened? Oh, they did eventually get their HEA but am I happy with how it happened? Not even close.
So where to begin?
Let’s start with the cast of characters shall we? No, not Blay and Qhuinn. I will come back to them. It is their book after all, right? Yeah well, not really. It was more about characters that I personally had no use for and their own particular stories. Back in the day I enjoyed the back stories because they cohesively brought the rest of the story… and the Brothers… together. Blay and Qhuinn were two of those former secondary characters so I obviously didn’t mind some of the secondaries or their back stories. In this book, however, Blay and Qhuinn were not center. Everyone and their mother (so to speak) were.
– Trez and iAM. I always adored these two guys. They were two of my favorite non-brother characters. Unfortunately the author gave Trez too much time in this one. Trez, who has always been all about sex, was constantly fucking or thinking about fucking. Sure, his behavior was as a result of other issues hanging over his head but I lost interest in his sex life after reading again and again and again about him being inside yet another psychotic, drugged out woman.
– Assail. I have no real opinion of him but he was also given too much time here. Then there is Sola (Marisol) who will … in a future book no doubt… be Assail’s love interest. Dear God every time I thought that maybe we were going back to Qhuinn and Blay what do you know? More Assail and Sola and their back and forth and the sexual tension between them.
– Xcor. Just give him his Chosen already.. or better yet, find him another woman. When an author takes a total bastard character (who just happens to be the leader of the Band of Bastards) and makes him out to be a killing machine early on only to have him later fall into mush as a result of Layla? I don’t mind Xcor. I really don’t. I actually felt a little bit of sympathy for the killer but half of the stuff going on with him and the Band of Bastards was unnecessary and to be honest, boring.
– Layla. Where to begin? Are there actually readers that like this character? I obviously don’t. Granted, the author went a different direction with Layla in Lover Reborn and I am grateful for that but each time she came up in this book (and oh does she come up A LOT) I wanted to skim over pages because she tried to come across as this good girl, sweet person who “Oh poor me! I’m in love with the biggest enemy of the Brothers!” but I remember her too well from previous books. Thankfully I won’t still be around to see her have her so-called happily-ever-after with Xcor.
Note that I am not going into details in regards to Layla’s pregnancy in this review. That would be too telling for one thing. Another, I am not willing to give her anymore time in my review.
– Qhuinn’s brother. I didn’t see that one coming and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
– The Brothers. Where were the brothers???? Oh sure they were in the book in passing and even in a couple of important parts but I wanted more. I wanted more Rhage, V, Butch, Z, Wrath… all of them. I read these books for the brothers not for characters who have no (direct) connection with them. Or even Lassiter. He’s not a brother but he’s a favorite of mine. I wanted more of him.
Now to Blay and Qhuinn, the characters the book was supposedly written about.
In earlier books we watched as Blaylock’s heart broke over his love for his best friend. We watched as he was shot down again and again because he was convinced that his feelings were not reciprocated. We watched Qhuinn as he had sex with dozens of females and males alike right in front of Blay. Qhuinn knew this hurt Blay but yet he kept doing it anyway. Blay finally moved on with Saxton. The readers hated where that was going but it was good to see Blay happy even if it was not with the man he loved. Qhuinn eventually grew up and realized that what.. who … he wanted had been directly in front of him for years. At this point it was too late and he was forced to watch Blay have a life with his cousin of all people.
In Lover at Last, they finally hook up a few times. These times, of course, were scattered amongst hundreds of other pages in the book where other stories were going on. I have to give the author credit for one thing. Blay and Qhuinn do have sex on-page. I was surprised at this because of the so-called flak that she got over bringing two gay characters together sexually. Was it great sex? Nah, not really but I do give her credit for not having it occur off-page as I expected. Had she done so considering the amount of hetero sex going on my comments in regards to it would not be flattering in any way and this review would read much differently.
One comment that I actually found funny and I have no doubt it was not meant to be… to set it up, Blay had just given Qhuinn a blowjob and Qhuinn was eager to reciprocate.
“So will you give me something to suck on as I recover” Qhuinn asked.
“I said I’m thirsty. And I need something to suck on.” At this, Qhuinn bit his lower lip, his bright white fangs sinking into this flesh. “Will you help me?”
It should also be noted that Qhuinn had an orgasm that lasted literally twenty minutes. Lucky guy. 🙂
The back and forth between Blay and Qhuinn went on entirely too long. Blay and Saxton broke up before Blay had sex with Qhuinn the first time but yet he refused to tell Qhuinn this until literally the very end of the book. The amount of time the two men actually spend together is minimal which was frustrating as the book was supposedly about them. I wanted more interaction between the two men. I wanted to see them work together to become a couple. When it finally does happen it happens during a very emotional moment for Qhuinn and it is rushed. Yes, this was very nice and I admit to getting a little emotional there for a second as Qhuinn poured his heart out and Blay finally admitted that he was and had always been in love with Qhuinn. This was given like 2 pages? All of that leading up to this moment……. all the previous books leading up to this moment… and it is reduced to only a couple of pages? To say I was angry would be an understatement. Then let’s fast forward to an epilogue two weeks later. The ending was beautiful. I will admit that freely. But what about the previous two weeks? They finally profess their love for each other and “Okay that’s done. Let’s fast forward to two weeks from now without giving any information of what occurred during those two weeks?” Unbelievable.
Other issues with the book:
– Rats without tails. I didn’t do a count to see how many times that was used in the book but it was a lot.
– I felt that I was reading bad word porn throughout and I do not mean with Blay and Qhuinn. There was a gang bang and lots of graphic sex by others (I mentioned Trez). I read this book for Blay and Qhuinn not to read the equivalent of a poorly written erotica novel about other males and females having sex all over the place.
– There was a two day publishing delay for international readers. This almost prevented me from reading it. I have yet to understand why this delay occurred. 2 days makes a hell of a lot of a difference when you are waiting for a book in a series to come out. Not to mention the spoilers that are posted by everyone in America who is reading the book two days before you. I live in the U.S. My blog partner does not. While I was reading this book I had to avoid Goodreads and other social networking sites like the plague due to eager fans putting spoilers in their updates. I got the book the day it was released. What about those who had to wait an extra two days?
– Product placement got ridiculous.
– Editing. There were two misspelled words. Only two out of thousands but my eagle eye caught them. This would not have been an issue for me had I not spent close to $16.00 on an e-book and had it not been published by a major publisher. Petty? Probably, but I expected more from a J.R. Ward book.
What I loved (and yes, there are a few things I loved about this book):
– Qhuinn. Watching Qhuinn as he came to terms with not only his feelings for Blay but with his past and his finally coming to terms with the fact that he is, in fact, a gay man. It was a long time coming but when it came it was sweet.
– Blaylock. He no longer bent over backwards (well, he did but not in that sense) to get Qhuinn’s attention. His character got stronger and he made Qhuinn work for everything. He refused to fall back into the Qhuinn trap until he was 100% positive that Qhuinn’s mind was in the right place.
– The cover. I may be a minority in this one but I absolutely love the cover. With the exception of no tattoos being shown, this is how I pictured Qhuinn in my head. The same can be said about Tohr and his book as well.
That pretty much sums it up.
Final thoughts………. Today on March 28, 2013, I say goodbye to a series I have loved for years and an author who has always been an auto-buy for me. I will forever be grateful for the series and Blay and Qhuinn as I never would have discovered my love for the LGBT genre without them. But there comes a time when an author can take a series too far and that is the case with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I am disheartened as I had high hopes for Blay and Qhuinn. This is the book the fans have eagerly awaited. How J.R. Ward could destroy that is beyond me. I am disheartened and I am extremely disappointed. For those who will continue to read the series after this book… good for you. I hope you continue to enjoy the BDB world. As of this very moment I am officially out. I get adding other characters and back stories so a series can go in different directions. I do not fault an author for doing that. What I do fault her for is taking two of the most beloved characters in a series and reducing them and their relationship to what she did in this one.
Note that the 3 star rating is for Blay and Qhuinn’s story only. I do not feel the need to rate the other stories scattered throughout the book.