JR Ward's books are like crack. You know they're not good for you, but you can't stop. The writing is sometimes fantastic and sometimes it makes me want to stab myself in the eye. She writes emotions well, but all the slang (some of it made up by her) gets annoying fast.
Still, Lover Mine is certainly the best BDB book since Lover Revealed. Its got one too many plotlines for me, but they all flow along nicely and there is a payoff for all of them in the end. John and Xhex are the focus of the book, which is nice since I felt like the last two books didn't focus enough on the hero and heroine's story. John and Xhex both have such tragic backgrounds and they deserved to have their fair share of the story.
As always, I found the lesser related sections to be my least favorite. I just can't care about what's going on with them other than to get a general idea of what their evil plans are. When I re-read a BDB book, I skip those parts entirely. Lash has been more entertaining than the usual lessers, but I still hated him, wanted him to die, and had no interest in his thoughts or feelings.
Ward also gave us some great moments with past characters and put some major focus on my two favorite boys, Qhuinn and Blay. I can't speak more about their storyline without getting specific, so see below for more.
Spoilers past this point!
Random plot specific observations:
- John & Xhex - This story was very well done. I have to applaud Ward for making me like Xhex in Lover Avenged when I hadn't cared for her previously. I particularly loved the scene where she sees her name tattooed on John's back. Also, I adored the scene where John and the Brotherhood find the room where Xhex is being held but she is invisible to them due to Lash's magic. It broke my heart to see John so sad and Xhex reacting but not being able to touch him. Both characters sexual abuse was well handled, and it part of what makes these two work so well together.
- Lash - He sucks and I'm glad he died. I hope he doesn't come back.
- Trez & iAm - They were much needed comic relief in this book, glad we got to see what they are up to.
- Darius & Tohr - The flashback scenes weren't really my favorites, but I see why they were necessary to set up not only Xhex's backstory but also give us some setup for Tohr's future book.
- Payne - I haven't decided if I like her just yet, but I love V, so I'm glad Payne's book will give us some more story with him.
- Layla - You try to mate Qhuinn and I'm gonna have to bend reality to smack some sense into your head, girl.
- The "ghost" storyline - Found it to be pretty boring, and I thought it was featured too much when its only real purpose was to let us know Muhrder is alive and living in South Carolina.
They. Broke. My. Fucking. Heart. Y'all.
Really, I went into the book realizing that they wouldn't be getting together permanently in LM and that it was very likely Ward would have to totally break their relationship in order to right it in a future book (or their own novella, plz). Still, the heartbreak both of them suffered in this book was difficult to read. Blay has it all but spelled out to him that if he'd be just a little more aggressive in getting Qhuinn to admit his feelings, he'd get his man. Qhuinn is still hung up on his 'I have a defect and aren't good enough for him' childhood trauma. Its frustrating to know that Qhuinn admits that one time with Blay and he'd never be able to leave the guy, and then have Blay give up on him.
I like Saxton alright, though I can't decide how I feel about him pursuing a man that his cousin is obviously in love with. Qhuinn's behavior when Sax and Blay met made it obvious that Qhuinn didn't want Sax anywhere near Blay. Still, Blay deserves to try to find his happiness where he can get it, if Qhuinn can't get his head straight. The kiss they shared when Qhuinn found out Blay was going out with Saxton was beyond hot, way hotter than any chemistry between Sax and Blay, so its disappointing that Qhuinn pulled away again. The scene on the balcony where Qhuinn basically says goodbye to Blay after Blay sleeps with Saxton brought me to tears. I hope Ward gives these two some closure soon, but I've got a feeling that the drama is just beginning with Saxton and now Layla being thrown into the mix.
I'm working on re-reading the book, and writing down my favorite quotes, so look for a future post with those!
Next up on my reading list is Burned, the new House of Night novel, by PC and Kristin Cast, so a review is forthcoming!