Literary Review: Lover Unleashed (Book 9) by J R Ward

Ah yes, the ninth book in the series dives further into the vampire lore, in particular Vishous’ background and past when tied to his (unknown to him) twin sister Payne. Much of this information between brother and sister you could find in the Book Thingo: Black Dagger Brotherhood Cheat Sheet (Part 5)
– Vishous, son of the Bloodletter
– Payne
– Dr Manuel Manello
– Medical quirks
– The Bloodletter

One of the things I found myself thinking about this particular novel in the series was various similarities between this particular storyline and that between Vishous and his mate Jane Whitcomb in Book 5: Lover Unbound. In fact I may go so far as to say that a small part of me felt that this was like Lover Unbound only in reverse… but really that similarity is only drawn because the human mate happens to be a well renown doctor in both cases and that the vampire in both instances happen to be the offspring of the Scribe Virgin (the all mighty being of the vampire species).

However, the similarities (for the most part) end there. Dr Manuel Manello has blood ties much closer to the vampire species than Jane does… though Jane knew who her husband was to be as a child even though she didn’t really understand it much as a child.

Before I go on though:

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can – and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night – like vampires – he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide… just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

As stubborn as her brother, she doesn’t want to let go of Manuel when the time came… which really came as no surprise. But when Payne disappeared due to another group of vampires wanting to take down the Brotherhood… well Manuel wasn’t going to take this lying down and just stand in the sidelines, instead he went right back to the home of the vampires and ran into Butch.

So it would seem that Butch and Manuel shared a common parent, in the form of their father… who would have thunk. After a few exchanges and whatnot it would appear that Payne had managed to convince her captors that she be let go by revealing the truth of her actions in the past and as thus everything works out fine.

At the time of my first read through it made sense to me the action and sequence of events and what not… but as time passed I started to feel that this was a kind of a anti-climatic moment… kind of like a chess match which out of nowhere there is a check or checkmate and the other party stands down for a moment in favor of attempting to win the war at a later date.

The other thing that seemed almost too convenient was how Manuel is easily able to disappear from his human life and be enclosed in the life of the vampire world… much like Jane Whitcomb and Mary Luce.

Granted the convenience of the matter works in some cases and like I said, when reading or listening to the books the first time through it made sense but in hindsight it became more of a “what the heck” moment.

However, despite the feel of several “deux de machina” moments this was one romance that I actually enjoyed from start to finish. It grew (albeit quickly as they always do) and grew in such a way that I wanted to be there in the moment with them. When Manuel opens his life to her and vice-versa there was a connection that was palpable and worth following.

Despite a few moment that I didn’t really care for… I couldn’t help by find myself reading and re-reading the moments that they spent together, especially when he takes her to meet the other love of his life – his horse (or rather mare, since this is a female horse). Just seeing the scene with the three of them together as one was something I couldn’t help but go back to over and over and over again.

At the end of the day, this is probably going to be a novel that I wouldn’t mind rereading should I have the chance down the road, afterall… to me Manuel is a romantic that even I could get behind, despite his male stubbornness. 😛

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