Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Berkley NAL Hardcover; 1st edition
Available: April 27, 2010
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Book Received From: A friend
John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown. Taken in by The Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was-or his true identity.
Xhex has long steeled herself against the attraction to John Matthew. Until fate intervenes and she discovers that love, like destiny, is inevitable.
Lover Mine picks up a few weeks after Lover Avenged left off, where Xhex has been abducted by Lash, the evil son of the Omega. She is being held in Lash’s brownstone bound by a magical spell. Trapped in a bedroom invisible to all except Lash, she is determined to fight Lash with everything she has in hopes of finding a way out or until the brotherhood finds her. Lash’s purpose for abducting Xhex is vengeance. Xhex killed his lover and he plans to take his revenge on her slowly and painfully. But Xhex puts up a vicious fight and he finds himself falling for her in his sick sadistic way.
John Matthew is hell bent on finding Xhex. He is not sure if she is alive or dead but he is determined to bring her home one way or another. He has never openly shared his feelings for Xhex with others but when he gets Xhex’s named tattooed on his back in the old language, his boys Blay and Qhuinn have a good idea of his feelings for her. Still, John Matthew does not ask the brothers for help in finding her, choosing instead to do it his own way, on his own terms.
Qhuinn and Blay have shared a deep bond of friendship since before their transition. But this relationship is complicated by Blay’s feelings for Qhuinn that go far beyond friendship. He has come to terms with the fact that he is gay and he is in love with Qhuinn. Qhuinn has always been promiscuous even knowing on some level how hurtful it is for Blay. But, there may be reasons for why Qhuinn behaves the way he does. When Qhuinn’s cousin Saxton asks Blay out on a date, Qhuinn’s protectiveness toward Blay kicks into high gear, claiming he doesn’t want Blay to be hurt by Saxton. In all honestly though, jealously is at the root of his behavior.
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 journey’s 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.
John Matthew and Xhex have many obstacles to overcome. First their separation, then their communication issues as well as some serious emotional barriers that must come down. John knows in his heart he is bonded to Xhex and would die to protect and defend her, but Xhex has spent most of her life shielding herself from the kind of love she feels for John. There is a very intense scene where the reader is witness to the depth of Xhex and John Matthew’s feelings for each other. Although they are in the same room with each other, John Matthew doesn’t know Xhex is with him and has no idea he has just bared his heart and soul to her. In this moment Xhex sees John true and raw and she aches for him but is not able to reach out. I think this is perhaps one of the most moving, emotionally raw scenes I have ever read in a paranormal romance.
The friendship between Blay and Qhuinn is on very shaky ground in Lover Mine, complicated by the romantic feelings Blay has for Qhuinn. This relationship takes on a whole new direction when Qhuinn believes Blay may be ready to move on and explore his sexuality with Saxton, Qhinn’s cousin. I found myself deeply disappointed in Qhuinn’s behavior, not because he can’t return Blay’s love, but because of the sometimes selfish way he handles his feelings. However digging deeper into his story, I realize there is so much more to his feelings for Blay and the reasons for his confusing behavior. This storyline is heartbreaking to say the least. I was moved to tears more than once and I truly hope that both Qhuinn and Blay find happiness however it comes to them.
My one real complaint with this book was with the constant interruption to flow of the story. There is a side story having to do with the filming of a paranormal reality show, as well as several flash backs to Darius and Tohr in the 1600’s. While the reason for the reality show storyline is eventually revealed, the random insertion of chapters on this storyline was distracting and confusing. Since there were no real clues as to where this storyline was leading, it felt more like a third leg rather than a supporting storyline. While the flashbacks provided some necessary history to key characters, they were slow, and again, popped up at weird places in the book. Just when I would get some good reading momentum going, Ward would slam on the brakes with one of these odd chapters. It all makes sense in the end but I really wished the information could have been presented in a better way.
I’ve seen many discussions about the over-the-top slang and branding that Ward does in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It’s one of those things about this series that I both love and hate. There are many times I’ve rolled my eyes while reading, but then on the other hand, it’s part of who the brothers are, and what makes them bigger than life. The slang was certainly over the top this time, no doubt about that. It took me a while before I could figure out what the ‘sitch’ was. ‘Sitch’ = situation, duh. The branding was ever present and the reader gets to know who designed so-and-so’s suit and what make and model car everyone is driving but it did seem to be toned down just a bit this time. At one point John Matthew snapped his phone shut and I was actually disappointed I didn’t know what kind of phone it was. *g*
The scene has been set for the next book in the series, for Payne—daughter of the Scribe Virgin and twin sister to Vishous—and her love interest Manny. While Payne played only a very minor role in this story, and Manny was only mentioned near the end, we are left knowing that the two of them will meet up. J.R. Ward leaves us without much indication of what direction their story may go. Some part of me hopes that this is because she plans to make the relationship between Blay and Qhuinn the stronger storyline in the next book. We’ll see.
Lover Mine is one of my favorite books in this series. The relationships and friendships are complicated and at times absolutely heart wrenching. This book offers all that you want and need in a romance novel while still maintaining that special gritty edge that makes the Black Dagger Brotherhood a truly unique series.
My Favorite Quotes:
Had he really put a forty in his friends puss?—John Matthew
I miss you. I miss you so fucking bad it hurts, but I don’t know how to find you even though you’re right in front of me. —(I’m not going to say whose thoughts these are, but I will say it may not be who you are thinking)
I’ve giving away a signed copy of Lover Mine HERE. Smexy Books is also offering a chance to win a signed copy Lover Mine in her blog so make sure you get over there and enter!! Katiebabs at Babbling About Books and More will have some fun BDB goodness up on her blog on Thursday including a chance to win a copy of Lover Mine.
Other reviews of Lover Mine: