Thursday, 28 March 2013

REVIEW: Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11) by J.R. Ward

Title: Lover At Last
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #11
Author: J.R. Ward
Publisher: NAL Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Qhuinn, 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.

**This review contains spoilers**

After waiting what seems like forever, fans of The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward have finally got Qhuinn and Blay's Happy Ever After.

I've been a huge fan of this series for a long time and have been, like most others, especially engrossed in Qhuinn and Blay's storyline. After so much angst between these two I've grown to love their characters dearly and have been extremely anxious for their story. In fact Lover at Last has probably been my most anticipated book ever (yes, ever!) and I'm glad (and sad) to say I finished all 608 pages in two and a half days.

So lets get to it.

We start where Lover Reborn left off: Blay has a steady boyfriend, Qhuinn has decided to get his act together after finally realising his feelings for his best friend and after her needing (period of fertile time for a vampire) Layla has been (well) serviced by Qhuinn and is now pregnant.

The story focuses on the relationship between the two best friends and their journey from pre-trans buddies to vampire warrior lovers. The story of Qhuinn and Blay takes us on an emotional journey of self discovery and about Qhuinn finding himself and coming to terms with the fact that he's been in love with his childhood friend for a long time and admitting it to himself so that they can finally be together.
The kiss was the kind that you remembered all your life, the connection forged with such totality that everything from the feel of the body against your own, to the warm slide of another’s lips on yours, to the power as well as the control, was etched into your mind.

Ward has done a great job in leading these two well loved characters to their Happy Ever After and has been very brave in making the decision to bring this m/m love story into the mainstream. She could have taken the easy route and watered down the love scenes between the two males, if she had I would have felt let down as I wanted the same as what we've had with previous couples in the series and I worried that this book wouldn't be quite the same, but I'm very happy to say that she didn't and it was. She kept it real and honest and very hot! There were some very romantic scenes between them, particularly towards the end of the book, that had me tearing up, actual tears, that doesn't happen very often for me.
In so many ways, he had wanted this his whole life—or at least ever since he’d survived his transition and had any sexual impulse at all. This moment was the culmination of countless daydreams and innumerable fantasies, his secret desire made manifest.

Aside from the main story line of Qhuinn and Blay, there is Qhuinn and Layla who both have her pregnancy to deal with and it certainly isn't plain sailing. They have a rough time of it early on in the story and I really found myself feeling sorry for everything Qhuinn was having to deal with and at the same time really warming to Layla. It was great to see them both grow at

As much as I enjoy the usual side plots that develop alongside the main storyline in this series, I felt that perhaps there was a little too much going on for me in this book. All the to'ing and fro'ing through 'many' different points of view distracted from the main storyline, also giving it a slightly different feel from previous books in the series. I felt that every time I got pulled in to Qhuinn and Blay's scenes emotionally they often came to an abrupt stop and then I would have to wait quite a while before getting back to them. For me, I would have preferred Blay and Qhuinn's scenes to have been closer together, I needed to feel that emotion, to keep a hold of it and not lose grip on it amongst everything else that was happening. Perhaps I've been so invested in Qhuinn and Blay's story that I was just anxious to get back to them. This is the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars.

Having said that, and it is my only negative point about the book, I did really enjoy the side stories as they developed. I liked the fact that we got to know some of the newer characters a little better, as well as meeting some new ones, and they've been set up nicely for the next books which I'm really looking forward to. I love seeing the regular characters: The rest of the brotherhood and most of their Shellans. The banter is still always there between them all and I love how the brotherhood is now beginning to grow. Who will be next?

All in all Lover at Last has been another great read by J.R. Ward. It has had me laughing, snarling, crying and loving seeing a relationship between two strong and well loved characters of the same sex blossoming into something very real and very beautiful. A true testament to Wards writing.

Finally they are together!!!

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