Literary Review: Lover Mine (Book 8) by J R Ward

Title: Lover Mine
Author: J R Ward
Series: Book Eight
Format: Audiobook

So this is a nice change, the female is more than your typical “strong” vampire protagonist from the previous books… she not only holds her own in the battle against the Lessers but she also out there fighting as hard as any other member of the Brotherhood.

How does this tip the balance of the pairing chosen for these two? Well that is difficult to say, but first:

In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. Long divided as a terrifying battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race: the warrior vampires of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him. After he was taken in by the Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was – or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny. As a vicious personal vendetta takes John into the heart of the war, he will need to call up on both who he is now and who he once was in order to face off against evil incarnate.

Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John Matthew. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow the male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.

So what is a “symphath”? Well… take a look at Book Thingo: Black Dagger Brotherhood Cheat Sheet Part 7, for a bit of a lowdown of not only Rehvenge and Xhex but the Symphath Culture as well…

As for a bit about John Matthew? Well you would need to know more about his “father” Darius which can be found at the Book Thingo: Black Dagger Brotherhood Cheat Sheet Part 8
– Darius, son of Marklon, reincarnated as John Matthew aka Tehrror, son of Darius of Marklon
– Qhuinn Warrior, formerly Qhuinn, son of Lohstrong, and Blaylock, son of Rocke
– Saxton, son of Tyhm
– Transition

The problem though is this: Xhex and John Matthew have both been thrown through the wringer of life not once, or twice, or thrice… but several times in their lifetimes. Xhex was let down and not just taken advantage of despite her superior than average skill set… but she was taken advantage of in such a way that it strip her almost entirely of her pride and sense of self.

John Matthew came close to that in his lifetime until he was introduced to the world that he was meant to be a part of. Not only that but he also went through so much loss that he had to find ways to recreate his life and put the pieces back together after they were callously smashed into hundreds of tiny pieces.

Life goes on. no matter what the world did to you, you could survive. – John Matthew from Lover Mine

As is the continuous underlying thread in this series:

It doesn’t have to be easy to be right. – Tohrment from Lover Mine

Granted there are times when it could be tedious and the formula just starts to become predictable… so granted when it came to this particular novel I was slowly losing interest, but as it was for all the past female protagonists there was something about Xhex that I felt a sense of kin to… and no I won’t mention what it is.

I understood what Xhex was going through when she felt herself to be at the bottom of the hole looking up and wondering if she would be able to get out of it. Going so far as to believe that there was no way she could get out of the situation that life threw her in.

But when she was finally out in the light the real battle began and who of the Brotherhood could relate to her? No one but John Matthew:

And the two of you make so much sense that you have no idea how much sense you make together. – Tohrment from Lover Mine

One of the slowly being interwoven stories within this novel was that of Quinn and Blaylock and their slowly and surely growing relationship… The separation, the hurt, pain, etc… how this trio of friends attempt to work through everything together and yet there are signs that their trio could break off and splinter because of unresolved feelings that have been growing over time:

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. – Quinn from Lover Mine

Looking back (since it has been at least six months since I have listened / read this particular novel in the series) this is probably one of the few novels I would consider listening to again… sure there is a slight sense of finding the princess in the tower moment, but at the end of the day the growth between these two was so extreme and so poignant and such a long, hard battle that it is impossible to understand it all in just one sitting.

John Matthew understood this best… the irony of life as it were:

Maybe this was just life, for everyone on the planet. Maybe the survivor’s club wasn’t something you earned but simply what you were born into when you came out of your mother’s womb. Your heartbeat put you on the roster and then the rest of it was just a question of vocab. The nouns and verbs used to describe the events that rocked your foundation and sent you flailing weren’t always the same as other peoples, but the random cruelties of disease and accident and the malicious focus of evil men and nasty deeds, and the heartbreak of loss with all it’s stinging whips and rattling chains… At the core it was all the same. And there was no opt out clause in the club’s bylaws unless you offed yourself. the essential truth of life he was coming to realize wasn’t romantic and took only two words to label: shit happens. but the thing was, you kept going, you kept your friends and your family and your mate as safe as you’re able and you kept fighting even after you were knocked down, goddammit you dragged your ass off the ground and you kept fighting. – John Matthew from Lover Mine

John Matthew couldn’t choose whom to love and whom to mate with, that much is clear. However, he can choose to either follow through or let it go and it was clear as day that there was no way for him to let go of Xhex, and refused to do so when it appeared she was lost to everyone:

Fate was not easy but it got things right, eventually everything that came to pass was exactly how it was meant to be.

So yeah… I wouldn’t call this my favorite of the series, but definitely high up that ladder. Not only that, but it is one of the series that most people might consider too fantastical to be true and yet this particular partnership happens more often than not in reality. What else can you do with life…

Don’t look backward, only forward – Tohrment from Lover Mine

This might actually one of the more thought provoking novels in the series for me… something that I relate to more than most and as thus harder to swallow on first reading (much like . However, once I managed to muddle through it would

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