Lover At Last by J.R. Ward
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
6 Happily Ever After stars!
Like many fans of the BDB series, I feel like I have been waiting for Blay & Qhuinn's story forever. To say that the anticipation and expectations for this book were through the roof would be putting it mildly. And having said that, it is ridiculous to think that all of the fans would feel happy and satisfied with how this book played out.
Thankfully, I am firmly in the camp that was beyond thrilled with how Qhuay's story unfolded.
Let's just get this out of the way. Things about the book I *didn't* love:
1. Too many side stories...especially the one involving Assail and Sora. Honestly, their story wasn't very interesting and while I can see potential with Assail, Sora got on my last nerve.
2. Havers. Why is he even still a part of this series?! Doesn't Jane, and Manny pretty much have the medical aspect of the Brotherhood covered?! The way he treated Layla was beyond infuriating and I really wanted Qhuinn (or even Phury) to drag him outside and leave him to the sun.
3. And speaking of Jane...has everyone forgotten that she's a ghost?! I mean, no one ever mentions it anymore and I find that kind of...weird. Maybe it's intentional on Ward's part since so many people gave her shit about it in the first place. I have never been a huge fan of the Ghost Jane aspect so maybe that is just more on my mind than other readers, but every time she popped up in this book I found it odd that there was no mention of it this time around. I mean, they always mention Z's scar. Rhage's beast...but no mention that you can sometimes walk through Jane?
Now, on to what I loved (without being too spoilery).
Oh...my...Gawd...what a badass this female has turned out to be!!! I started to like her a lot in Lover Reborn, but here she has totally become one of my favorite females in the series. I loved that she stepped out of her role as a Chosen and stood up for herself.
But, the thing that really made me love her was how she stood up for Qhuinn. <3 I can't wait for her to have her own book and her own chance at a HEA.
Trez & iAm
It was about time that we got to know the Shadows. I loved getting a peak inside their world.
I have loved this character since he first appeared in the series, but he totally came alive in this book. He has always considered himself to be somehow unworthy of love, and I can't express how wonderful it was to see him open himself up. Not only to Blay, but to the rest of the Brotherhood. Plus - he is responsible for saving the life of my all time favorite BDB character, Z. For that I will adore him for the rest of my life. From the beginning Qhuinn has been a badass and fiercely devoted to his friends. But, in LaL, Qhuinn was vulnerable and...that was just lovely to see.
The sex scenes
I am no stranger to M/M fiction, so I wasn't scared to go into this book worrying that i might not be able to handle the love scenes between two men. However...can I just say that i was....amazed, and in a good way, by how intense the love scenes were. I know a lot of people were worried that Ward would feel the need to water them down in order to not freak out a certain portion of her audience. Well, i am happy to say that was not the case. At. All. Blay & Qhuinn's first love scene was quite possibly the hottest thing I have ever read. EVER. In my entire life. They pretty much destroyed all the furniture in Qhuinn's room. It was raw, and frenzied and desperate, and unbelievably well done.
I for one, am extremely proud of Ward for how she handled the scenes. Blay & Qhuinn's story is intense and the buildup to the two of them finally being together was insane. So, the sex had to be smoking hot. And trust me....it was. Every...time.
How perfect was the last chapter? Although I was wondering where the hell was John Matthew? Everyone else that are close to Blay & Qhuinn were at that party...with the glaring exception of JM. He's their best friend, and the first person to truly accept how they felt about each other (even before either of them did themselves), so the fact that he wasn't there was sad for me. Otherwise, the scene was perfection. How amazing are Blay's parents? And the love and unconditional support of the Brotherhood....GUH. Makes me all teary eyed just thinking about it.
That last sentence of the book...meant so much to me.
Was this book perfect? No. Were there things that i would have liked to see handled differently? Yes. So why, you may ask, am I giving this my highest rating? Two words: Blay and Qhuinn. Their story deserved to be told, and Ward handled that aspect of the book in as nearly a perfect way as I could have hoped for. And in the end, that was the aspect of the book that mattered most. Their love story deserves nothing less than 6 stars, so that's what it's getting. I have chosen to overlook the things that I wasn't thrilled about in favor of focusing on the things that made me happy. And so many things about this book made me happy. Insanely, fangirl happy.
So, thank you Ms Ward. Thank you for delivering the story you promised you would. Thank you for giving my boys the HEA they deserved.