Literary Review: Lover Reborn (Book 10) by J R Ward

Probably one of the more tedious novels in the series. Lover Reborn is the culmination of the storyline of Tohrment’s grief over his beloved Wellsie’s death and how he attempts to move on by learning to not just let go, but truly let go.

Before moving on, let’s look at the ninth cheat sheet about some of the players in this particular novel: Book Thingo: Black Dagger Brotherhood Cheat Sheet Part 9
– Black Dagger Brotherhood: Tohrment, son of Hharm
– Hharm
– Lassiter
– Muhrder, son of Murhder aka Eliahu Rathboone
– The Coffins
– No’One
– Story of Son

Two new characters who will both play a significant role in dragging Tohrment out of his stupid includes the Fallen Angel Lassiter and the enigmatic No’One.

Available Summary:

Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment is a heartbroken shadow of the vampire leader he once was. Brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel, he fights again with ruthless vengeance- and is unprepared for a new tragedy. Seeing his beloved in dreams—trapped in a cold, desolate netherworld—he turns to the angel to save his former mate, only to despair at the path he himself must take to set her free. As war with the lessers rages, and a new clan of vampires vies for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between an unforgettable past, and a future that he doesn’t know he can live with… but can’t seem to turn away from.

This particular novel dives quite a bit into what happens after someone from the species of the Brotherhood passes from this world aka their afterlife. Much like how for humans the majority believes in some sort of hell, heaven and even purgatory the Brotherhood believes in something very similar. For anyone that was paying attention to the previous novels you’d notice how the “In Between” that has been spoken of continuously throughout this Book has been mentioned in the past… most blatantly in the following passage:

Hannah messenger: No you’ve passed on, you’re just in the middle right now.

Jane Whitcomb: In the middle of where.

Hannah messenger: Your ‘In Between’, neither here nor there.

And if you are curious as to what it is going to take for someone that has died to truly pass on the explanation is (I believe) as clear as day here:

Here’s my message, you’re going to have to let go of him. If you want to find peace you’re going to have to let go of him. […] Otherwise you’ll be lost here, you only have so much time you can be neither here nor there. [..] [Else] you’ll be lost forever. Let him go, Jane […] And if you do you can see the real me on the other side.

Although both of the above excerpts came from Book Five… Book Five also dealt with the death of Jane and the repercussions when one isn’t able to completely “let go”. Even though both parties initially were not able to let go of one another. Once Viscous was able to realize that Jane was gone (via his mother the Scribe Virgin) and Jane agreed that the only thing she could do was more on (thanks in part to the aid of the messenger)… Jane was able to completely pass over into the afterlife.

Well until the Scribe Virgin intervened but that’s a different story.

So this is Tohrment’s conundrum. He has been holding on to the memory of his shellan Wellsie that she and their unborn son have been unable to pass beyond the “In Between” and the fallen angel has been designated with the job to help Tohrment through his suffering in hopes of releasing Wellsie from her own torment so that they could all move on in their lives (or afterlives as the case may be).

What no one realizes until far later is that there is also one other being here who is stuck in their own version of the “In Between” and as thus in unlocking the secret that helps the primary couple (Tohrment and Wellsie) to move on from her death to just live… they are also releasing someone else in the process….

And that is where I think the book is very different from all the others before it. On the surface, Lover Reborn focuses on Tohrment and his ability to move on from the memory of his shellan, one step at a time to eventually open his heart to the possibility that he could love someone again. But throughout the majority of the book we find that Tohrment was continuously going through the motions as opposed to actually living in the moment… but why? Because he is subconsciously creating a love triangle for himself that has him torn between his old love and the new possibility. Until he is able to completely break free from his self-imposed love triangle, Tohrment will never be able to move which would doom his beloved shellan from finding peace in the afterlife.

The best way to describe the above situation is in a very short line:

Life was complicated but the truth was simple. – Lover Reborn

No kidding.

As tedious as my initial complaint was in regards to how this particular book unfolded over time, I have to admit it was almost necessary in order to accurately tell the story of how one from the Brotherhood could possibly move on from the death of a loved on. Not only a loved one, but their mate. It’s hard, it’s difficult, and it would take a lot of words to really comprehend how their mood not only affects themselves (emotionally, mentally, physically) but everyone else around them.

The most poignant scene of this particular book was when Tohrment invited John Matthew (his adopted son) to join him in clearing out the home they all shared before Wellsie’s untimely death, and bit by bit they clear out all their belongings, all of her belongings, the furniture, etc. Tohrment donates everything that ever belonged to Wellsie, or rather reminded him of Wellsie to the Women’s Shelter run by Marissa… and walks away, because in order to move on he had to – yup – let go.

Getting to the point where he is able to let everything go had to be a hard and draining process, and considering where he came from it had to take a while for him to feel remotely ready to do that.

Granted with all the serious stuff going on with the Brotherhood and Tohrment (and by extension John Matthew) there is bound to have some comedic moments and the Brotherhood doesn’t disappoint on occasion. However, the bonus points without a doubt belong to Lassiter the Fallen Angel, with his constant wise cracks and grating personality, it was a nice balance to everyone, even though most people are bound to disagree with me on that point.

This novel also examines a bit on Tohrment’s past before he ever married Wellsie and is a necessary piece of the puzzle, and how it makes sense in the end as to why things turn out they way they have.

Then again, at the end of the day… this is not a novel I would be willing to repeat anytime soon. Despite the always well written plot and the drops of other storylines to come. Perhaps if I feel the need to revisit the entire series I would consider it… but that won’t happen for at least several years at best.