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336 of 359 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2012
In going into Lover Reborn, I wanted to keep in mind something that JR Ward alluded to in the BDB companion book, that Tohrment's book was to be the conclusion of the original ten- part series, and in a lot of ways, it is. From now on, we have to form real attachments to new characters, none of which are brothers (yet), and some of which may not even turn out to be good guys. Had Ward decided not to flesh out Qhuinn, Blaylock, and the Band of Bastards, this would have been a good conclusion to what has been a great series. Lover Reborn is a great example as to how a series could be ended to the satisfaction of long- time readers, and given what occurred during those last few chapters, remind them what made them start reading the books in the first place. But I'm glad she chose to flesh out the newer characters, because when you enter a world as interesting as Ward has created, you never want to leave it. From now on, it is a kind of new world, familiar in many respects, but different in all the ways that keep you reading.

The issue most had with Lover Unleashed was how little we found ourselves invested in Payne, a character I still find underdeveloped, and frankly, unimportant to the whole world (though I'll look forward to being proven wrong in future installments). But here, here's the brother I think nearly all of Ward's readers are fully invested in, the brother nearly all of us want to save. Except how he gets saved is a source of division in readers. Is it fair that some Brothers get their HEA, even after they've died, but Tohrment does not? Why does Wellsie have to be the one who doesn't get saved? What makes their love somehow less than V's or Rhage's?

Sorry to be blunt, but in life, as in fiction, its just not always fair. In fact, I would have been more disappointed in Ward had she succumbed and brought Wellsie back. That's a brave writing choice, as brave as killing her was in the first place. What Ward has done is expose us to a different kind of romance, one that most people (thankfully) never have to experience: learning to love again after unspeakable tragedy. That's what Tohrment's book is about, that struggle that anyone who has ever lost has to go through. Does Ward do a good job making you feel the struggle? Yes, in the amount of time she's allotted. In the end, this is a book, and that's the limitations of fiction. Ward did the best she could to write what can be an impossible plotline to write to universal satisfaction. Everyone has their own feelings about the best way to love, everyone has their own feelings on the best way to grieve, and no one ever agrees about when its the right time to move on. I'm not sure I could see Tohr's struggle working out any differently than how Ward wrote it, without either bringing back a character just for the sake of it, or turning this book into a saga that stretched on through another five installments. How she went about it may not be pleasing to each individual reader, but you can't say that the overall outcome isn't how a situation like Tohrment's could be resolved.

As far as No'One is concerned, she's kind of like that girl your best guy friend just started dating: you either liked her going into it, or you were willing to tolerate her for the sake of Tohrment. Again, I felt like she could have been fleshed out a little better, but there's something compelling about her, so that you can't help but hope she comes into herself in some way significant. Is she the greatest shellan ever written? No. But do you hope she and Tohrment can make it work? Absolutely. Just like you'd hope for the happiness of anyone you found yourself invested in, as we have been with Tohrment for the last ten years.

I think most long- time readers wish each book had more focus on the main couple in question, that the "romance" part of the novels has been thrown to the wayside in favor of multiple story lines and not- quite- minor characters. And those readers are right, especially when you re- read the first five or so books. But does that mean the books have become less? No; the BDB is a different series now, for sure, but not in any way less. This was the book where I felt Ward nailed the action sequences (I audibly gasped in quite a few places, and clutched my chest during one pivotal scene), and it's also the one that felt the most "real." The emotions people felt, the moments they shared together, the way the plot unfolded to make way for new story lines; for a fantasy, this book felt the most rooted in reality. And I for one, am looking forward to Spring of 2013, to finding out just what happens in this "new" world.
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142 of 160 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2012
Background:
Lover Reborn is the 10th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and is the story of the last original Brother, Tohrment, and the female character No'One. In the first 3 books, Tohr was the most stable of the Brothers as he had been happily bonded to Wellesandra (Wellsie) for almost 200 years. Wellsie is a featured character as Tohr's beautiful, devoted, pregnant mate, and a loving surrogate mother to pre-transition John Matthew. In Lover Awakened, Wellsie is murdered by a Lesser and Tohr disappears in agony as he has lost both Wellsie and his unborn son. He is found by the angel Lassiter and brought back to the Brothers, having tried to die so that he could be reunited with Wellsie in the Fade. With help from Lassiter, Tohr begins to pull himself together; he feeds again and vows to slaughter Lessers in Wellsie's name for the remainder of his life but remains a shell of his former self.

In Lover Mine, we learned that 300 or so years ago No'One was the sheltered daughter of the leader of the glymera when she was abducted, raped and terrorized by a sympath, then left pregnant. She is rescued by a very young Tohr and Darius and brought home where she is rejected by her family who see her as no longer perfect. Virtually catatonic, she stays with Tohr and Darius who care for her for the duration of her pregnancy though as soon as she gives birth to baby Xhex, she kills herself using Tohr's knife. She spends the next 300 years in Sanctuary with the Chosen where she performs the functions of a servant and takes the name "No'One". Ward somewhat mishandled this initial introduction as the character came across as weak and uninteresting, and one who abandoned her newborn baby (Xhex) upon committing suicide.

Many readers have never wanted Tohr to be without Wellsie, who was a vivid character with a great, sexy relationship with Tohr. After Wellsie's murder, Tohr was absolutely devastated, utterly destroyed and suicidal, causing many readers to hope for their reunion, especially since other characters have returned from the dead with help from the Scribe Virgin (SV). Having Tohr move on from his bonded mate breaks a fundamental rule of the BDB world in the mind of many readers, a major reason for the furor over the Wellsie situation. Readers have expectations that happily-ever-after is forever, a bonded male will never get over his female, and that world building rules are to be followed and apply to all characters. Some have said Ward was brave to kill off Wellsie and have her "stay dead", but the inequity between her treatment and No'One, who was also very much dead by suicide, has also increased hostility. Despite this, Ward went ahead with Tohr's book though just over 1 year has passed in the timeline since Wellsie's death, the blink of an eye to vampires that live a millenium.

Review (****MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW SO PROCEED WITH CAUTION****):
Spreading events over one year, Lover Reborn opens 15 months after Wellsie's death with Tohr still suffering greatly. Ward pays tribute to their relationship with flashback scenes of the two that are both lovely and bittersweet. To kick start his reluctant relationship with No'One, Ward puts Tohr on a timetable by trapping Wellsie "In Between", her essence diminishing with time and has Lassiter tell Tohr that he needs to fall in love to free her and his unborn child. The book is really all about Tohr's pain and he spends a lot of it being cruel to No'One. There is not much in the way of actual romance, though there are one or two scenes where Tohr does show her some consideration and tenderness. No'One herself seems quite intentionally the blandest female of the series, the polar opposite of Wellsie, and one who readily acknowledges that what Tohr had with Wellsie was a once in a lifetime love. She has a meek personality that sharpens a bit as the book progresses, but is still without much charm or any apparent skills or abilities. No'One's process of healing from her own self-hatred over her rape and suicide is an important part of the book as well, as she and Xhex try to forge ahead. Her abandonment of Xhex and Xhex's horrific past hangs over them, and it isn't possible to forgive her quite as quickly as Xhex does. As the story progresses, Tohr isn't in love with No'One and then suddenly . . . he is! In a rushed ending, he gives away Wellsie's things, sells their house, apologizes to No'One (original name "Rosalhynda", renamed "Autumn"), tells her that Wellsie would have wanted him to move on, and invites her to Wellsie's Fade Ceremony. Tohr's feelings of profound grief and No'One's self-hatred which were pretty well done to this point, are both put aside from almost one page to the next as if it were as simple as deciding not to feel that way any more and ultimately made the rushed "I love you's" at the end unconvincing. Turns out it was Tohr who was actually holding Wellsie back by refusing to let go, so she and his unborn son are now able to move on to the Fade.

Ward's world building has always had issues with consistency and clarity and now crumble in a rushed conclusion falling back on deus ex machina plot devices. ******Warning: MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW***** It is revealed that No'One has also been In Between just like Wellsie (and apparently Lassiter) though she was completely unaware of it. After deciding to finally forgive herself, she is transported to the entrance of the Fade and is now able to "move on" as well. Lassiter, thinking Tohr shouldn't have to lose yet another person, goes to his Maker and arranges her return to the living (off page, with a sacrifice that is not revealed). Just like that, No'One reappears fully alive again with Tohr as her prize and apparently will now be allowed into the Fade whenever she dies (yet again). She personally makes no sacrifice for this, gives up nothing we are aware of and need not pay any permanent price for her suicide.

So many questions arise at this point as to be a distraction. Why were both No'One and Lassiter able to interact among the living but not Wellsie since they were all In Between? How is it that No'One can eat, have sex, and have a needing while In Between? Why have we not heard of the In Between before this book in the series? If Lassiter's sacrifice gave No'One her life back, why did he not make this same sacrifice for Wellsie? Is it because Wellsie had moved on to the Fade just moments before and wasn't available to save, literally missing her chance to be returned to Tohr by seconds? Who goes to the In Between and why? Are all suicides given this same treatment? Where is the SV while all this is happening and has the Maker taken over? Who is the Maker exactly and why is he getting involved with what had been the SV's realm? Why didn't Tohr go to the SV at any point and ask what he could do to bring Wellsie back, like Rhage did for Mary and what Wrath proposed to help No'One/Autumn? These questions are either ignored or addressed in the most simplistic fashion with the answer being . . . not everyone goes to the In Between and everyones In Between is different and tailored just for them. The SV, the mother of the race, is a complete no show. Ward now has no rules she needs to follow because . . . everyone's In Between is different and not everyone goes there anyway. And the Maker is in charge, not the SV. If there was ever a story that truly needed the world building to be clearly explained, this was it. There should have been a good reason for No'One to receive her life back, not just that she forgave herself and was available for Lassiter to save. But no explanations are forthcoming and even though Ward must have surely known for years how some readers would react to a solution that lacked some sense of fairness, the bottom line appears to be that No'One (a resurrected suicide) gets to live while Wellsie (a murder victim) has to stay dead because that was their destiny. Though most readers are certainly aware that life isn't fair, they should be forgiven if they would prefer a bit more fun and escapism in their vampire romance fiction.

The secondary storylines were much more enjoyable and took up a large portion of the book. Significant time was devoted to troubles between John and Xhex who are separated for much of the book, due to her need to fight and his need to keep her safe. There is finally some forward progress in the on-going drama of Qhuinn and Blay whose book will be next. The overall story arc of the Omega/Lessers vs. the Scribe Virgin/Brothers has receded dramatically and shifted to infighting within the vampire world with the Band of Bastards making a serious run at Wrath. Xcor and company are kind of fun and could be interesting adversaries, much more so than the alphabet soup evil of the past. The interaction and humor between the Brothers, which has been a hallmark of the series along with the rap music, brand names and pop culture, is also fun though there really isn't very much of it. Until the Fade Ceremony at the very end where all the Brothers and their shellans and doggen are present, the original Brothers play just a small part in the book. As a result, Tohr and No'One's story felt somewhat disconnected from the rest of the BDB world.

With each book, Ward moves further into urban fantasy with multiple storylines, more emotional pain and much less romance. Since it isn't possible for Tohr to bond again, there is no bonding scent, no "mine" moment, and the ending is more along the lines of happy-for-now, with Wellsie awaiting Tohr in the Fade. Though nobody expects rainbows and unicorns from Ward, it doesn't seem too much to hope for more joy and escapism, especially since so many other characters have been allowed to cheat death including No'One/Autumn. The message that you can recover from tragedy and find a measure of happiness is fine, but didn't resonate given the ultimately unconvincing Tohr/No'One relationship, along with the distraction of the contrived plot and truly poor world building. Most definitely not a romance with a couple that should both be heading to therapy instead of mating. 1 star for Tohr/No'One and 3.5 stars for the secondary storylines but 1 star overall because, yeah, Wellsie is still dead.
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161 of 184 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2012
I will say that just like every one else, I love the BDB brothers although I haven't loved every book. Phury's story did nothing for me, and the story between Payne and Manny left me cold (although there was so much V, Butch, and Doc Jane that the book was redeemable to me). I will also say that I love the dialogue that Ward writes. Very clever, biting, and engaging. Now having had my little love fest, I have to say that this book has me baffled. I am with every one else who was not a fan of this book. Really??? Tohr should just get over Wellsie and the baby after a year or two? I have no problem with Tohr. Exactly what a brother should be. And I guess I could see hime with someone else just not with NoOne and not the way this played out. She was so vanilla she was invisible to me. NOOO personality. I would expect that if Ward is going to push Tohr into connecting with someone so quickly, it would be someone that gets the blood pumping and engages him with some fiery attitude. He abuses her over and over and she just takes it and says thank you can I have some more please. Ick. He deserves so much better. Where was the bonding scent? Where was the I can't live without you feeling? There wasn't any. Just a casual I'm in love with you. Snore. I think the readers that are in love with this book are just going to like anything JR Ward spews out but I need some consistancy when I fall in love with a series and I think we all deserve better than this misfire. I know that JR Ward has it in her to do better. It's not like she put out one good book and the rest were crap. PLease Please Please bring back the story telling that we all love. I need my escapism.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2012
Of course, like all the rest of y'all, I love BDB. The first book blew my mind and I read it over and over. Zsadist's book? Holy moly it was good. This book? Heck no, true?

**SPOILERS**

The main storyline -- Tohr and the aptly named No'One. Just plain awful. They had no real connection except for the one where the male part goes into the female part. That's it. She lets him use her throughout the novel. She is a hand towel that he wipes his junk on after he's finished. That's it. No real emotion. The ending where he supposedly is going to marry her and put her name beneath Wellsie's -- totally stupid and devoid of real feeling.

The In-Between -- WTF? Seriously? I felt like I had gotten stuck in a Lost quagmire at the end of the novel. Wellsie and her babe (the INNOCENT CRIME VICTIMS) are wasting away in the gray place while No'One (the SUICIDE) is living it up at the mansion and getting it on with Tohr? That's the twist? Barf.

John and Xhex -- I dig these two crazy kids, but the fighting started far too quickly and didn't seem to move the story along.

The Sex -- There is a toooooooooonnnnn of it. So much so that I think it even crosses out of the romance genre alltogether and creates its own genre of Urban Fantasy/Constant Sexcapade (with a dash of intense male masturbation thrown in).

Band of Bastardos -- Sure, why not? Just kidding. I hate it.

Layla -- Everyone hates on her. I don't. She needs a good Bat. Op. Boyf. and the first 4 BDB books. She'd be a much happier Chosen.

Blay and them -- I'm a fan of the Quay, but she's drawn it out for so long I'm starting to lose interest.

The language -- love her biting turn of phrase and witty dialogue. Tired of "verily" and the "gotchu" and the "true" and the other multiple references to crap that hasn't been cool for quite a while.

Bottom Line -- *Epic Fail*. But not so much so that I won't doggedly buy the next novel and hope for the thrill of Beth and Wrath or Bella and Zsadist. Though I am beginning to realize that thrill may be as DOA as the romance between Tohr and No'One.
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115 of 136 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2012
I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book much better than Lover Unleashed but this book is still sub-par to Books 1-4. I think I need to make peace with the fact that there will be no return to the glory days. Instead, if you can find a way to judge and take the BDB World as it is now, a UF series and not a PNR series, then you will enjoy this book. It was classic Ward (post Phury books, of course).

This book starts right after Lover Mine with relationship drama. It had 4 main storylines going: Tohr & No'One, John & Xhex, John & Tohr, and the Band of Bastards. Then Ward threw in mini-plots with Qhuinn & Layla and of course the wise-mouth Lassiter. It is a good read, a long one, but a really good read.

Tohrment is still recovering form the loss of his Wellsie and his unborn child and it felt like he just used No'One as his punching bag. Be prepared to experience various emotions. You will shed a couple of tears, then you will laugh. You will feel bad again and then you will laugh again. You will roll your eyes some times, but overall it was an engaging read. I will say that I am not completely sold on No'one (her real name is revealed) & Tohr romance, but I accept that Tohr is happy and moving on. I will also concede that No'One is not the complete doormat that I took her for. She still isn't exciting, but she isn't completely pathetic anymore.

I also understand the Layla & Quinn connection. I don't like it, but hey, it was foreshadowed. I guess that is why JR Ward warned that Blay-Qhuinn fans would be upset. But don't worry, Layla develops feelings for someone else--and that person was a surprise for me. I will also add that he is a formidable threat to Wrath, so I look forward to see how this struggle will play out in the next books. I guess the BoB and the glymera had to replace what the Lessers bought to the series. So lets see how the Brothers are going to put the BoB in their place. Go Wrath!

Lassiter was a scene stealer. While I definitely agree that he should have his own book. I just thought he should have a Fallen Angel book, but Ward made sure to entrench him in the BDB world so his book will work well here too.

This book definitely sets up some interesting storylines for the next books. I am still a big fan of Ward's writing. No one does it better so I have to give it up to her. I just love her stuff! I had to accept that Ward is taking the series in a new direction and that allowed me to really to enjoy this book.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2012
Let me begin by saying this book was much, much better than the previous book; however, it doesn't even come close to the beginning of the series--those wonderful books 1-4 before the Brotherhood jumped the shark with Phury. Since Ward's books have been coming out in hardback, I think there has been a shift in editing. Maybe something along the lines of "She's J.R. Ward. She's made a name for herself. Let her do what she wants." Now, there are so many subplots it's hard to keep track of all the characters. And I use the term "subplot" loosely. "Sub" implies minor; she's given equal time to three different stories in this book, which I was lead to believe was supposed to be Tohrment's book. I was able to read the entire book in one setting because I skipped probably 2/3 (the parts concerning Xhor and the undoing of John Matthew and Xhex's happily ever after...3 days after the mating mind you!). I'm also pretty put out that she has, three times now, revisited some of my favorite couples only to tear them apart (if you count Z and Bella's novella, she's done it 4 times!). Yes, I understand reality is different than fiction; that's WHY I read fiction. It's okay to let the couples just be happy. It was novel when she did it with Wrath and Beth (and Z and Bella), annoying when she did it with V and Jane, and infuriating when she did it with John Matthew and Xhex in this book. If they couldn't make it past day 3 of their lives together without wanting to call it quits, they shouldn't have had a book to start with.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
I'M SORRY THIS IS MORE OF A RANT THAN A REVIEW----------I APOLOGIZE---------------->Borrow from Library

I agree with those that said this book left a bitter taste in my mouth. It not only did that but guaranteed that if there is another series with the BOB (Band of Bastards)I won't be buying it. I doubt if I'll even be getting it from the library . At this point, if they want fans they(the publisher) may as well offer the first book in Kindle form free or really, really cheap!

To force Tohr through these machinations was just cruel. To have No'One treated in this manner was cruel also...yes it worked out, but at what psychological debt? The author can do what she pleases and she has with this book. All the Brothers have found their HEA's none as exciting, well written or as dramatic as in the first 4 or 5 books, but hey, we kept reading and buying, so I guess we approved.

To possibly start a new series based on players that want the King dead and Glymera Vampires that are massive drug dealers/murders may be a stretch for fans. Add in what looks to be the set up for the next series with possibly Layla and the head of the BOB and it sure will bring a very dark, bleak side to the new books. With this series being no longer speculative romance, but dark urban fantasy; will the old fans that have invested so much time in this series be able to deal?

The one good thing I can say about this book is that at least it read LESS like a series of short stories and more like a book that was concentrating on a main character... unfortunately it ( Tohrs story) was ruined a bit by the side stories of Quinn and John Matthew, both who aren't really part of the Brotherhood.

This book took me well over 8 hours to read since it was so easy to put it aside and do my chores...CHORES??? Since when should a book I've been panting about for almost 7 years be so poorly written that I could put it aside? I have read, re-read and re-re-read the first 5 or so books; but from there I've been losing my fervor for this series and had really really high hopes for this one.

It was so long coming and so highly anticipated to be such a let down.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2012
I love the BDB but come on! What's happened over the last few books? I've wondered why Ward bothers to designate them to particular characters when clearly it's like reading a long drawn out miniseries with multiple plots and enough punk-ass gangsta-rap vernacular to make a gal hurl.

My first irritation was the John/Xhex drama. I honestly can't believe Ward attempted such a desperate plot between the two. To me it made a mockery of Lover Mine--all the two had endured and overcome, only to have them fight over something so trivial and stupid. It was lame...

Now the Tohr/No'One (Autumn) plot I got into, but just when it got going everything shifted gears to Layla, Qhuinn, Xcor (times ten), etc ...

In my opinion, Tohr and Autumn got shafted. For one, there was far too much dwelling on Wellsie. The ending is like an ongoing tribute, and yes, I know the poor woman died and Tohr had to sort through his grief to move on, but it felt like Ward took a secondary or even tertiary character (after all Wellsie did die many books ago) and suddenly thrust her in the lime light. The flashbacks and `remember whens' were over the top for a character that was never exactly center stage previously. Those pages could have been spent focused on Autumn, whom I really like yet feel like I barely got to know.

The one positive I can find in all my BDB anguish is that the Band of Bastards are European, therefore they don't speak punk-ass gansta-rap lingo, true?

I have no idea what's up next in the BDB world, but I hope the next two love birds get their due. And for Pete's sake enough with the Blay/Qhuinn stall pattern.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2012
*may have spoilers*

For me this book sucked! HATED how the solution was to force Tohr to move on! As a romance reader I hate that Wellsie died,but would have accepted him moving on if it happened gradually. Not you must have s*x and you must love someone else first,so that she can be set free. PFFT! I would have accepted him saying goodbye,and then over the remaining books seem him grow to love another,not this forced issue. oh and how convient that Autumn's in between was that she could give blood,take blood,kiss,have s8x,etc yet Wellsie can't even talk to Tohr and he can't even see his son.

Highlights were: Wrath with his dog George,and Rhage. That's about it.

This series was GREAT in the first 4 books,but now for me is not even a romance book and shouldn't be in the romance section of store.
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2012
Wellsie is really, really dead. Got it.

The whole bonding scent thing is over. Got it.

The whole "Mine!" thing is over. Got it.

Question marks are for losers. Got it.

Alacrity is Ward's new favorite word. Got it.

We have moved away from romance and into the realm of UF. Got it.

This is UF without in-depth character development. Got it. Wait. What?

See? I was trying to be okay with things but this is where my desire to be agreeable comes to a screeching halt. Yes, the novelty of Ward's writing style it still pretty badass. Her dialogue is still really fun to read. However, the intense focus on the emotionality of two individuals falling in love is gone. Instead, we're reading about myriad people and their relationships with one another - not all of them romantic. The problem here is that when this is done successfully with this many characters - it's usually not edited down to a book of five hundred pages. It's more of a tome. I have nothing against Urban Fiction. I just cannot figure out why, based on what I've read, I should care much about these characters that are now our focus. There is too little here to be more than just a tease for what is to come. I feel the anticipation that something stupendous is about to happen in the BDB-verse...eventually. Perhaps those things will happen in five years or so? After reading another three or four installments? Perhaps that's when I'll know and love these people as well as I've come to know Wrath, Zsadist, Rhage, etc.?

You'll notice I've not touched on the subject of Thor's grief or the whole B/Q/L thing. There are plenty of reviews of these topics here already. I'm showing some restraint. I'm quite proud of myself! Pat me on the back already.
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