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Monday, July 25, 2011

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Lover Unbound


TITLE: Lover Unbound
SERIES:
Book #5 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
AUTHOR: J.R. Ward
NARRATOR: Jim Frangione
PUBLISHER: Recorded Books
DATE OF PUBLICATION: April 17, 2009 (first published 2007)
FORMAT: Unabridged Audio CDs - 17 hours, 25 minutes
GENRE: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1436107617

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS:

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other—six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now, the cold heart of a cunning predator will be warmed against its will… Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, son of the Bloodletter possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father's war camp, he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time- until a destiny he didn't choose takes him into a future that cannot include her...

MY REVIEW:

Wow, this installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series just knocked my socks off! I love Vishous, and I loved that he was such a huge part of Butch’s story in Lover Revealed (Book #4). Right from the beginning of the series, I have always been drawn to the unique relationship between Butch and Vishous and was even more intrigued how they physically balance good versus evil as discovered in Lover Revealed...the Destroyer and the Savior.

Vishous is a fantastic character with so much depth. I don’t know how Ward makes us fall in love with these bad boys!

As with Zsadist, we learn that Vishous had an abusive upbringing that has left both physical and emotional scars. His father, the Bloodletter, was a cruel man and Vishous suffered at his hands.

**SPOILER ALERT!

After Vishous is injured in an attack by a Lesser, he is taken to a human hospital before the Brotherhood can get to him. Enter Dr. Jane Whitcomb, the smart and strong doctor (I love how Ward always writes strong female characters) who operates on Vishous and stabilizes him long enough for the Brotherhood to find and rescue him before daybreak. Oddly, Vishous finds himself drawn to the good doctor and forces the Brothers to kidnap her on the premise that he needs her to take care of him while in recuperation (yeah, right!).

In true Ward style, Vishous and Jane fall for each other passionately. For the first time, Vishous gives all of himself over to another, body and soul. The two complete each other beautifully, but Vishous knows their time together is not infinite because he is the Primale, meant to be mated to The Chosen and impregnate them to ensure the success of the future vampire race. There is no other Brother that can be the Primale: Wrath, Rhage, and Zsadist all have Shellens; Tohrment disappeared after Wellsie’s death, Darius was killed, and Phury is celibate.

After Vishous returns Jane to her regular life and wipes her memory clean, he cannot help but suffer an aching loss. He is an empty shell without Jane in his life. This stirring passage is from their good-bye:

“He put his bare hand to her cheek and felt the softness and warmth of her face. He knew that when he pulled out of here, he was leaving his stupid f...ing heart with her. Sure, something would beat behind his ribs and keep his blood moving around, but it would just be a mechanical function from now on. Oh, wait. It had been like that before. She'd just given the thing flesh and life for a short time. He pulled her into his arms and rested his chin on the top of her head. Holy hell, he was never again going to smell chocolate and not think of her, not pine for her.”

Vishous says to Jane: “I love you. And I’m going to keep loving you even after you don’t know I exist.”

Phury to the rescue again: He makes the ultimate sacrifice and decides that instead of pining away for his brother’s pregnant Shellen, Bella – someone who he will never be able to have – he needs to move on with his life. And what better way to make up for two centuries of celibacy than with 40 females?

From Phury’s thoughts: “Love was worth sacrificing for, he thought as he left his room. Even if it wasn’t yours.”

With the blessing of the king and the Scribe Virgin, Phury steps in as the Primale to free Vishous to be with Jane.

Vishous and Jane have a torrid reunion, and the two vow to make whatever sacrifices are needed to make their relationship work. Just when they are at their happiest, disaster strikes and Jane is gunned down by a Lesser right in front of Vishous. She dies, and Vishous is torn to pieces which made my heart ache. I made the mistake of listening to this section of the book in my car while driving to work, and I was weeping and misty-eyed. J.R. Ward, how could you do this to us? It was bad enough when Wellsie died, but now Jane too?

We learn earlier in the book the identity of Vishous’ mother, but I purposely did not reveal her. At the end of the book, she makes a touching sacrifice for Vishous which proves to him that she really does love him despite what he may think of her. Vishous, in return, gives her an equally moving gift and a floodgate of tears overwhelmed me!

There are two more shocking reveals at the end of the book: One pertains to the person who shot Vishous, and the other is yet another secret kept by Vishous’ mother.

Ward keeps giving us further clues about John Matthew, and my gut tells me that he is the reincarnation of Darius! I'm looking forward to learning more about John Matthew and his obvious attraction to Xhex!

Ahhhhhhh, what an ending...what a book!

Jim Frangione, narrator, is always a pleasure! I am positively blushing while listening to him read those passionate parts!

MY RATING: 5 stars!! One of my favourites that is definitely worth re-reading!

This book qualifies as:
#44 for my 2011 100+ Reading Challenge
#27 for my 2011 Audio Book Challenge
#27 for my 2011 "Whisper Stories in My Ear" Challenge
#18 for my What an Animal Reading Challenge IV 
#10 for my Vampire Challenge 2011
#9 for my 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge (Item #88)
#5 for my Black Dagger Brotherhood Reading Challenge
#5 for my Paranormal Romance Challenge 2011

5 comments:

  1. So glad you enjoyed!
    V's my fave, sexy and smart with a bit of kink. Xhex and John Matthew are amazing characters, you'll love their relationship

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  2. Hi, Aki!

    Yeah, Z and V are my favourites -- along with Rhage. I can't wait to read more about John Matthew & Xhex!

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  3. I haven't heard of this series, but your review is amazing! I do enjoy listening to audio books while I'm in the car and I must admit that I don't do it nearly enough.

    I see that you are blasting through your reading challenge, your over half way there! You inspire me :-)

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  4. Thanks, Stacey! I listen to my iPod all the time, especially when I'm doing mundane things like laundry and cooking. I enjoy listening in the car as well, and I love listening while walking.

    If you like paranormal romances, I highly recommend the Black Dagger Brotherhood series! If you can get it on audio, even better!!

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  5. I only read to the spoiler alert. I haven't read this series yet, and do want to get to it one of these days with all the amazing things I hear of it. :) Glad to see the books keep going with greatness. :) Thank you!

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