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Lover At Last

J. R. Ward

Published 2013                591 pages

Summary (from the book jacket)

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 first-hand.

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…

The Review

Lover At Last is the eleventh book in the phenomenally popular Black Dagger Brotherhood paranormal romance series. Established fans of this series will need no urging to get this latest offering, the BDB books are a highly addictive mixture of heady romance, hot sex, even hotter vampires and never ending drama – for us, Lover At Last is just the latest fix of “book crack”. If you haven’t read any of these books before then book eleven isn’t the place to start. While each book is a self-contained romance there is a long running story arc and multiple dramatic plotlines that thread through the entire series – so it’s best to read the books in order, from the start.

Lover At Last is the long awaited romance of Blay and Qhuinn. Life long friends, and brothers in arms, these two young vampires have feelings for each other have grown over time into “the love that dare not speak its name”. Only this is the 21st century and homosexuality isn’t a crime. Although you’d think it was from Qhuinn’s reluctance to admit he’s gay – even through he’s been screwing around with men for some time – and is in love with Blay, the one guy he won’t screw. Labelling aside, Qhuinn and Blay have been dancing around each other for several books now and for some reason I was expecting more fireworks when they finally got themselves together. Sure, there is no shortage of drama – Qhuinn’s the father-to-be of Layla’s baby, Blay already has a boyfriend (who is also Qhuinn’s cousin), Blay’s been in love with Qhuinn forever, Qhuinn’s cruelly rejected Blay forever whilst secretly wanting him… but somehow for all the drama their romance actually lacked that essential spark that makes the BDB books so special.

It’s hard to put my finger on what didn’t work for me in this romance maybe it’s that Lover At Last is more Qhuinn’s book than Blay’s, maybe more Blay time would have deepened the romance elements of the story. Perhaps it was the sex, which for most of the story seemed angry rather than loving or romantic. There is also the constant interruption of other plotlines and introduction of new characters making a persistent distraction from Qhuinn and Blay, who should have been the story’s main event.

For what ever reason, the romance parts of the story just weren’t up to the standard of the earliest BDB books. For me, Qhuinn and Blay’s romance just doesn’t pluck the heart strings and push all the emotional buttons that that Rhage and Mary, Zsadist and Bella, or Butch and Marissa’s romances did. The romance is good but it’s not exceptional, and exceptional is what readers have come to expect from J.R. Ward.

Whist the plethora of background plotlines may have detracted from Qhuinn and Blay’s romance they appear to be driving the series forward in new directions. There is Assail, Caldwell’s new vampire drug dealer who is developing an obsession with a female human thief/PI. There are political plots against Wrath and his kingship, there are the Band of Bastards whose leader Xcor has a price on his head and a serious case of the hots for Layla… who is pregnant with another man’s child. Yep, I remember why I love these books so much – it’s the totally addictive, never ending drama of which I just can’t get enough.

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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