Review: Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11) by J.R. Ward
*** This review is spoiler free. Read on with confidence! ***
Lover At Last was probably my most anticipated book of 2013 and, in many respects, it did not disappoint! The action scenes (and I mean the fighting action – where was your head there? Hmm?) were seriously intense and absolutely re-read worthy. The characterization of Qhuinn and Blay was spot-on with how they’ve been built up over the past few books and their energy was damn near explosive. I loved practically every scene they had together, even the ones that were so minor they left me craving more. Man, I seriously love Qhuinn. He’s so intense and sometimes scary, but always honorable and loyal with a core of humility that is, well, humbling.
When it comes to the sex, the physicality between Qhuinn and Blay was unlike anything we’ve seen before from the Black Dagger Brotherhood, raw and completely unbridled. Exactly what you’d expect from these two powerful warriors and their long-unrequited love. Their fights were just as epic, with nastier things said between them than any other couple in the series. Hell, Qhuin and Blay as a couple were more intense all-around than most other pairs in romance in general. And what I love so much about that is that it’s completely fitting, considering their rocky relationship and traumatic past.
Layla’s story really tugged on the heart strings and brought new dimension and depth to both her and Qhuinn’s characters. Speaking of Qhuinn and Layla, we knew they couldn’t keep their naughty secret from the Primale forever, and you won’t be disappointed with how things go down in that sitch! The WARDen has a knack for occasionally taking some of the scary out of these big, strong, badass males and infusing them with entertaining reality-tv-like drama, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on the Brothers and their very memorable antics in Lover At Last!
There were a few things that really snagged on my nerves though, including the persistently annoying Assail story arc; I found it more than a little tiring. Every time things started getting interesting with Qhuinn and Blay (or really, ANY other part of the book), ‘BAM!’ here comes Asssail with his druggie politics and boring forbidden romance with some chick I really couldn’t care less about, whose grandmother made me want to punch a kitten (I adore cats – it takes a lot to make me want to punch a kitten). Xcor’s story arc, whom I really disliked when he and the Band of Bastards were first introduced, I didn’t mind so much and really started amping up in the last quarter of the book. Trez’s story is finally going somewhere as well, giving some spotlight action to the mysterious Shadow brothers. But Assail, this fairly new character who has very little to do with the brothers directly, seemed to get nearly as much page time as Qhuinn and Blay, and damn if it didn’t feel like a cock-block.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like the way Ward integrates multiple story arcs and the others (Xcor, Trez, the Lessening Society) were appropriately proportionate and fairly engaging, but seeing Assail every other chapter got old, especially since it took a while for his story to get interesting. This is Lover At Last, not Some Other Lover Maybe Sometime In The Future; we have waited YEARS for Qhuinn and Blay to finally get together and I resented the constant switching to this relatively new character so much that I finally just started skimming large portions of his chapters. Maybe that’s the root of his name… Assail-ing other people’s story arcs and annoying the snot out of those of us reading the book primarily for the long-awaited Qhuay story. *grin*
Gotta love Qhuinn’s inner monologue…
He landed face-first into the windshield, his ass getting hit with the kind of breeze that turned him into a bug on all that glass. And then it was a case of oh-heeey-gurl-heeeey: Thanks to the glow from the dashboard, he caught the OMG! on the faces of the pair of guys in the front seat… and then his bright idea turned into goat fuck number two of the evening.
Lover At Last is all about Blay…
In order to seem casual, Qhuinn went over by Tohr and pretended that he, like the Brother, was just monitoring the progress of the lift. Not. It was all about Blay, of course. It had always been about Blay.
And all about Qhuinn. Huzzah!
The male was incredible in the field. And loyal to the point of psychosis. And smart. And sexual to distraction. And a hundred thousand other things that Blay had to admit nobody else came close to. But he had one serious defect, and it wasn’t his eye color. He couldn’t handle emotion. At all.
Blind or not, Wrath is no figurehead king…
“I am very comfortable with conflict, be it of the legal or mortal kind. My father was a mediator, a bridge maker. I am a grave maker. My father was a persuader. I am a taker. My father was a king who would willingly sit at your dinner tables and converse with you about minutiae. I am not that male.”
Rating: Lover At Last