Warning: contains spoilers for earlier books in series
Lover Reborn is Tohr’s story and perhaps the book that takes place over the longest expanse of time – over three seasons. The story is as much as about grief as it is love as we watch Tohr come to terms with the death of his pregnant shellan and learn to live again.
Tohr is not the only one recovering. Our heroine of the piece is No’One, the Chosen servant who has never recovered from her abduction as a girl. Once again abduction and rape are themes of this series, I find that I don’t mind it all and I enjoy the grittiness.
This book was a bit of a yo-yo of grief and bitterness from Tohr’s point of view. We’ve seen his journey of despair take place through the series, from his suicidal mission of starvation through to his rescue by the angel Lassiter. You can’t help but feel for him as the Lessers have stolen everything from him. I found the relationship between him and John Matthew particularly heartbreaking as they try to rebuild it after the loss of trust between them.
The romance was quite slow-going but because of the nature of our hero and heroine’s past it needed to be. Initially I found Tohr’s treatment of No’One frustrating, as much as her complete lack of self worth that allowed her to be treated as such. But frustrations aside, both are great characters. I loved both of their ultimate transformations by the end of the book, and No’One’s lack of selfishness is a lovely thing, she is giving, caring and noble.
However, there is a big BUT to the Tohr and No’One relationship. As much as I enjoyed it, what I really, really wanted was for Ward to find a way to bring Wellsie back from the dead. She wouldn’t be the first character to have a creative return (as No’One herself is aware). I loved the scenes with Tohr and Wellsie in the earlier books in the series and if I’m really honest, I just wanted them to be reunited and find their happily ever after, rather than Tohr to move on and find someone else. It really wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy Tohr and No’One story, I just think Tohr and Wellsie would have been better.
John Matthew and Xhex’s relationship also takes up a huge part of the storyline as we explore what happens after happily ever after. And what appears to happen is John Matthew becomes a complete douche, well at least for a little while. Seemingly forgetting that he married an older woman who is a trained warrior and an ex-assassin and wanting to prevent her going out and fighting against our new super-baddies the Band of Bastards. Now I adore John Matthew as you know, but I wanted to give him a long-hard kick and felt that Xhex was quite justified in her fury. But of course, I wanted them to get back together and waited less than patiently for John Matthew to see that he was being a complete tool.
The Band of Bastards continue to be a really interesting group of foes for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. There’s a great battle scene that kept me awake way longer than I intended to be one night! But they also continue to be baddies you quite like too. There are some really fantastic scenes containing Layla that just leave me wishing that there might be the potential for a very different love story there. I really, really hope so actually, because it’s definitely captured my imagination.
How can any of us forget the painful and unrequited love between Quinn and Blay? Poor old Quinn undergoes a transformation in Lover Reborn and my word do I feel for him. But I also feel for Layla and Saxton the other two people wrapped up in this nearly unbearable love square. I didn’t see the development between Quinn and Layla coming and it’s certainly made things much more complicated. But the ending of the book leaves me waiting with terrible impatience for how things are going to develop in Lover At Last.
Ten books in and this series is still going strong. I’ve had my issues with them, but they are addictive and the characters completely compelling. Yes, I perhaps would have favoured a different ending for Tohr, one with Wellsie in, but despite that I still enjoyed watching his road to recovery and new love. I always adore John Matthew even when he is being a fool, and every book should have plenty of scenes with him in as far as I’m concerned! I can’t wait to see what happens between Quinn and Blay next in Lover At Last, and also the Band of Bastards make for great reading.
Rating: 4 Stars
Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward
(Black Dagger Brotherhood #10)
Piatkus Books (2012)
Paperback: 572 pages