Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm baaaack!

Woo-hoo! The drought is over. My computer is back and better than new. Hurrah! I've been so busy, and worked so little, that I have had very little computer access. So before I go bopping around catching up, I wanted to type up a review that I wrote out longhand. Yes it's that time of year again...Black Dagger Brotherhood time!

I've got to say I'm definitely curious to see what people have to say about Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward. This book had a lot going on, some of it pretty unorthodox for a romance. I've always been a Vishous fan myself. I find the fact that he is supposed to be super smart sexy, and I dig the tattoos, the weird abilities, the tortured feelings for Butch, the Dom tendencies. Just the kind of delicious weirdness I like. I was apphrehensive about how Ward would treat his kinky and queer leanings? Was he going to to meet some chick and undergo a personality transplant, a la a Dark Hunter? Would it be all peaches and vanilla cream? I was also invested in the Butch/Vishous relationship that had developed. Could I buy V's HEA with someone else? I bought Butch and Marissa, but she was a familiar character. Also, weak soul that I am, I gave in to the temptation to read some spoiler, which made me pretty nervous about whether I'd like this book at all.

Since there are probably many, many places to read about the book at this point, I shall dispense with the synopsis and get down to business. I'm going to try to avoid spoilers, but read at your own risk. I definitely liked LU better than Lover Revealed, but...well there are several buts.

The Love--Love V. Love him. Totally tortured hero. I've got to give JRW props for sticking to her guns and making it clear that V is not your average tortured hero. He likes sex rough and his feelings for Butch went way beyond friendship. I thought that both situations were acknowledged, handled and explained well, as was his horrible childhood. These things made V who he was, not some aberrations to be explained away, by meeting the right woman. And I did buy his HEA with Dr. Jane. As for heroine Dr. Jane Whitcomb herself, I liked her quite a bit. She was intelligent, strong willed and witty. V and Jane played off of each other well, and had a repartee somewhat like Butch/V [whose dialogues provide some of the best moments in LU]. But this brings me to the big but...

The But--Not enough V and Jane. These books have always alternated between the primary romance and the larger cast of characters within the BDB universe. Now being such a fan of these books and characters, it doesn't always bother me, but in LU all the scene changes detracted from the romance. I really liked V & Jane, but damn if the story didn't keep cutting away to John Matthew and his school chums. I've enjoyed the saga of JM/Tehrror so far,but this time I wanted him to go away. He was having quite the pity party also. The best part of a romance is seeing how the emotional connection develops, and I always feel short changed if it is rushed or if we are told rather than shown. V & Jane had great chemistry and good scenes, but they came after V's realization that he was "in love". Before that, one or the other was passed out. I would have preferred some 'getting to know you' banter. The later chemistry was not quite enough to overcome this. The Primale thing took from them as well, and was kind of unnecessary. It was resolved so quickly, it ultimately served only as Phury's sequel set-up (more on that later), and there was plenty of conflict without it. Question: If the Primale is to father future Brothers (sons) and Chosen (daughters), and if the Brothers and Chosen are expected to mate as well, won't there be all sorts of creepy incest going on? The only interesting thing about the subplot was V's relationship with the ever-annoying Scribe Virgin.

The Ending--I would imagine the ending is quite controversial. Didn't bother me too much. Perhaps it helped that I was mildly spoiled (and read a similar ending in Kenyon's Sins of the Night). So yeah (spoiler warning) Jane gets shot and dies and lives happily ever after as a ghost. Seemed a bit unnecessary but whatever. My biggest problem was all the questions that kept coming to mind. Like if Jane can have sex and eat, does she need to go to the bathroom or wash up? I appreciated the humor, but it was a bit sitcom-y. Uh-oh, Zsadist sat on Jane again. Fritz, you dog, you put Jane's clothes in the washing machine while she was still in them! Oh well, although the Scribe Virgin as Deus ex Machina is getting old, I did get a bit verklempt at the ending.

The Dislike--Not feeling the setup for Phury's book at all. Hate the Chosen. They just creep me the hell out. The only thing that made those scenes bearable were some funny lines and reactions. Phury's book is going to to be Dumber and Dumber, with who can be stupider about sex. At least Cormia has already seen Phury's (Ph's?) junk, so we'll be spared an "Oh My God, it's so big! And it moves!" scene. And I love Phury so. Would've like someone with a bit more fire for him. And Lordy, how I hate the idea of John Matthew with the 'hermaphroditic' chick with the dumb ass name. I try to be open minded, but something about how she is described squicks me out. Please don't let it be so.

The Conclusion--Lover Unbound is an unusual and compelling addition to the BDB series. Disappointing in that intriguing characters were given short shrift in favor of storylines I found almost painful to read I still enjoyed it, and was completely obsessed with finishing. I was going to give it a B, but I've been thinking about it a lot, and want to re-read soon, so I think I'm going to bump to a B+. This series is staying strong, and is definitely one to try. Read in order for sure and your can check out my previous ramblings here.


Unknown said...

WOO-HOO! Welcome Back! I'm still in shock over the evil bombshell you just let drop over at Chantal's blog! EEK!

reviewer said...

I also bumped up my grade. I had it at a C- for a while.

Your review is awesome! It made me laugh and say OMG so much. The incest question is a good one, and it makes so much sense. Ew.

Devon said...

Hi Chantal! Hi QB! QB, you're the one who let it drop that Rehv's mate had appeared in all the books, and I immediately thought of the SV. The only book I'm not positive about is LA. Was she in that? Hope not, that would let us off the hook. There were also a couple of things that JRW said on her forum (ages ago, I don't really go there anymore) that kind of fit. Something about it being the most "reverent" book and the universe being altered in it.

I hope I'm wrong.

Kristie (J) said...

Welcome back! I wondered where you went to. I'm on the fence about this one. I've still only read the first two although I have the next two. I'm thinking by the reviews that this one doesn't really appeal to me that much. To me a ghost heroine just doesn't really cut it.

Tara Marie said...

I just stared this one last night, curious where it's going, unfortunately I don't have a much reading time right now.

Devon said...

Hi Kristie! Hi Tara Marie! I'll be curious what you think of it. After some reflection I might lower my grade, because I have been thinking about the book, true, but not about V & Jane, about the other characters/storylines that I found so annoying. It's weird.

It's interesting to read all the comments. Lots of opinions.

lisabea said...

Girl, we see eye to eye on this one.

Alison Kent said...

Devon - Can you email me at I want to ask you something if you get a minute, thanks!