The 10th installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood almost needs no introduction…but for the uninitiated, a few words:
Tohrment, leader of the Brotherhood, is still distraught after the loss of his beloved mate, Wellsie and their unborn baby through an act of violence by the Lessening Society. After almost destroying himself in his grief, he is rescued by the angel, Lassiter, and brought back to the Brotherhood to recover and, his fellow warriors and king hope, to learn to live again. He’s not ready by any means to make a leap of faith into recovery, but soon learns that the fate of his loved ones’ souls may rely on his ability to move on. Tohrment shares a connection with beautiful but sad female vampire, No’one. But embracing a new love means giving up on the old…
I admit I don't think I was ready for Tohr's book. I thought I was. We’d only been waiting for YEARS! But when it got going, I had such a sense of wrong going through me; wrong to try to force Tohr to move on from Wellsie's death so soon and under duress. Truly, not a huge amount of time has actually passed since the tragedy. From a personal belief standpoint, the urge to overcome and move on arises from within, not from an outside force telling you that you must. The whole premise of Lassiter playing matchmaker between Tohr and No’one just rubbed me the wrong way. While the writing is always amazing and poignant, I thought I'd end up a little…perturbed.
In the end, the Warden pulled through for me. She is a master at complex, shifting plot lines, spot- on dialog and male characterization. I feel like I know these characters so well because she brings them to life in a way that is unique and special. It's like coming home to an old friend and finding you can pick up right where you left off. The romance between Tohr and No’one is tentative and touching at first, then hot and sweaty and all sorts of sexy. Tohr isn’t forced, but finds his love for No’one part of the natural progression of their relationship. It’s fraught with some heavy angst throughout though. Be prepared to be a little pissed at Tohr for his insensitivity. I might have liked a little more time for the two of them, but it seems that J.R. Ward has been moving away from romance centered plots as she moves more toward urban fantasy. Not quite there, but almost. I do miss this in the series. The secondary plots were entertaining, some necessary and some extraneous. While I love John and Xhex, I didn’t really feel that their continued angst was quite necessary. The Band of Bastards, with Xcor and Throe at the helm, show their complexity as characters and I wonder, despite Xcor’s desire to overthrow the King, if they aren’t sheep in wolves’ clothing. Layla becomes a more brazen Chosen then I would have imagined and Blay and Quinn look to have their day soon. The last 50 pages are some of Ward’s best writing, the Fade ceremony in particular. Any work that can provoke such raw emotion in its readers deserves to be applauded. So, despite my initial reservations, I was more than satisfied and will be anticipating, with great pleasure, Blay and Quinn!