My Rating: 4 Stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
Recommended only for those who have read the series.
We've all been waiting for this book - doesn't matter if you are a fan of Tohr or not. We all wanted to know... how would Ward do it? How would she win us over after taking Wellsie away from us?
Lover Reborn opens sometime after the conclusion of Lover Unleashed. Life in the Brotherhood Mansion is busy as usual - with newly mated JM and Xhex, Payne and Manny and the introduction of No'one (Xhex's mom). The Brotherhood is back on the streets fighting the Lessers and we learn more about the new player in town, Xcor.
The story flowed pretty smoothly and I didn't feel like there were extraneous storylines like Ward has included in the past. The primary focus of the book remained on Tohr and No'one, with a side dish of JM and Xhex.
At times I was annoyed with the JM/Xhex storyline... they were just mated and had their trials - why put them through more? But it did work as a mirror to what Tohr has gone through in this life. And with the complete interconnection of JM/Darius/Tohr/No'one/Xhex, it made sense to include it.
I am glad that Ward is developing new "bad guys" and moving away from the whole "lessening society/Omega" scene. However, it is odd that now we haven't seen either the Omega nor the Scribe Virgin for a couple of books. They are the makers and takes of the Vampire race - I hope Ward finds a way to integrate them back some how.
Xcor is a complex being and I enjoyed seeing both complete viciousness and tenderness from him. I just hope his focus on Layla isn't a repeat of Lash and Xhex. I would like to know more about the B.o.B. and watch their attempts to take over the Kingdom from Wrath.
We also meet newcomer Assail. He is of warrior stock, a member of high society and the only surviving member of his bloodline. I liked that he appears to be in the game for himself - he is taking over Rhev's drug business. He seems to have a history with Xhex and has some redeeming qualities. It will be interesting to see how his character is developed and on which side of the fence he takes root.
Because I'm a huge Blay/Qhuinn fan, I must speak to this as well... WTF? Is it me or are they falling further apart? Gah! After the last book, I thought things would move forward, but NO! I know Ward tossed us a very small bone near the end of Lover Reborn, but it just wasn't enough for me. And I'm disappointed that the "special event" Wrath has Saxton working on (to change the laws) didn't pan out in this book. I feel that should have been closed. But between Qhuinn and Layla and their mutual dim outlook on life - I suppose we are going to have to watch things get a lot worse before they get better for either of them.
Lassiter - LOVE HIM!
Wellsie - may you rest in peace. I will say the whole "in between" thing was not really my favorite plot device, but Ward needed something to get Tohr motivated, and knowing he may condemn her and their son forever did work effectively.
I will say there were a few tender moments in the story that had tears in my eyes. I know a lot of folks are talking about how emotional this book was for them, but for me, not as much. But there were scenes between JM and Tohr that did have an impact on me. I enjoyed watching the two of them work out their issues together.
Finally I will speak about Tohr and No'one (aka Autumn - really? what a sucky name, I'm sorry!)... That was an interesting ride. First I didn't feel anything for the couple - he was clearly broken (and an a$$), and I just didn't feel any connection - but I suppose that is because there wasn't one. However, Ward did a careful job with the couple and about the 40% mark in the book, was one of my favorite scenes involving the pair. No'one went to feed from Tohr for the first time, and we were privy to his thoughts. I felt that Ward did a fabulous job with Tohr. He realized that he had to make a conscious effort to let go of Wellsie and allow himself to enjoy life a little. I am so glad we got to read his internal struggle and I felt this scene was well played.
However... My love affair with the couple didn't last all the way through the book. Not sure when my feelings waned, but after the book was over I realized that I didn't have a strong connection to the pair. I wasn't even sad when near the end of the book, something rather dramatic happened that threatened the HEA. I was kind of like "yup, we knew something had to happen." That isn't to say I still didn't enjoy the journey, and as always cannot wait for the next stop in Caldwell!