Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Lover Unleashed Lover Unleashed
Brotherhood of the Black Dagger Book 9
by J. R. Ward

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jan Butterworth

Payne and Wrath were sparring at the end of the last book, Lover Mine, and she broke her back. The Scribe Virgin allows Wrath to take Payne from the "Other Side" to the Brotherhood mansion. Being blind, Wrath doesn’t realise she’s the twin of Vishous. It’s only when Doc Jane examines Payne and looks into a face with the same features as her hellren, does V know he has a twin. Payne has been cloistered on the "Other Side" for centuries, held immobile as punishment.

Payne’s back needs a surgeon with more skill than Doc Jane has, so she suggests Manny Manello. He’s a human surgeon who had a thing for Doc Jane before she died and became a ghost, and V’s shellan. He and Payne feel an instant connection, though they face immense objections from V, her brother, and Wrath, the king.

V and Doc Jane are a major sub-plot, with any unresolved issues coming out. The main one being V’s need for BDSM. Butch helps with sorting their issues out. I had never seen the point of Doc Jane before but this book has made me really like her. There’s a Qhuinn/Blay/Saxton sub-plot too. Qhuinn decides to stop living his destructive man-whore life and removes his piercings, while Blay is badly hurt fighting lessers. I always thought Qhuinn would end up with Blay but now, with Layla becoming a close friend, I’m not so sure.

The answer to who killed the Bloodletter (the twin’s cruel father) is given in the book’s opening. The Band of Bastards is also introduced, a band of warriors who destroy lessers, and anyone else who gets in their way. Their leader is Xcor, a son of the Bloodletter who is determined to avenge his father’s death by killing Payne. The brothers have come over from the Old World with the intent of killing all lesser, overthrowing the king, and Xcor claiming the throne.

There are also a series of brutal deaths that have nothing to do with lesser. Instead they’re the work of a human serial killer. The book doesn’t have too many different storylines, though you need read the previous books in the series to quickly grasp the various story arcs. These are not a teenager's vampires. The Brotherhood is rough, violent, raw, and very, very sexy. Definitely adult only.

My one complaint is I now have to wait till March 2012 for the next book – Thor’s story.

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