Review: Lover Mine

Rating: 2 / 5


Lover Mine is the 8th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by JR Ward.

Let's get this out of the way first, shall we. Read this book only if you have read the rest of the series. It could be read standalone, but a lot of the complicated relationships are clearer if you go in order. Series order and reviews can be found here and here. There will be BDB terminology in this review and minor spoilers wrt this book and previous books which will not be explicitly marked.

LM picks up 4 weeks after the events of Lover Avenged. Xhex, the half-sympath assassin, has been kidnapped by Lash, son of the Omega. The Brotherhood, Rehv, John Matthew, Blaylock and Qhuinn are doing their best to find any clues to her disappearance. Something about the manner in which she disappeared and the way that he treated her the last time they were together has caused John Matthew to bond with Xhex and his panic, grief and the need to avenge are unsurpassable.

Meanwhile Xhex is enduring physical and mental abuse at the hands of Lash, who initially saw her only as a hostage, but has since fallen in love with her himself. After 4 weeks of Lash's brutality Xhex has come to several revelations, that she is in love with John Matthew and she kept him at a distance because of the repercussions once JM found she was half-sympath. And that she has finally reached her breaking point, the only reason for her survival is to seek revenge against Lash.

Xhex manages to get herself out of Lash's clutches and re-unite with JM for some bitter-sweet moments together since both know that the time they have is short. Xhex is driven by one purpose, she MUST kill Lash herself and does not envision life after the event, while JM in order to retain any self-respect and self-worth MUST kill Lash himself.

JM has a long, sordid history with Lash and the years spent away from the vampire community where he was different, misunderstood and traumatised have left deep scars in his mental make up. To allow Lash to have abused the female he is bonded to is unthinkable. To allow anyone else, even Xhex, to kill Lash is even more unthinkable. As their personal vendetta against Lash leads to the inevitable showdown, JM and Xhex must examine their hearts to determine what is really important, the destruction of their souls or finding and keeping a soulmate.

I must come clean, I almost, almost didnt write this review because of how disappointing the book was. The only thing pushing me was my OC tendencies since I've reviewed every other book in the series on this blog. Cant break that trend now, can I?

A major part of my disappointment has to do with John Matthew. If you've read my reviews you know I dont care for him at all. But, in LA, I almost thought that I would be able to read his story. Almost. It had to do with this wonderful dynamic that JM and Xhex had going on - she the tough, hard-as-nails sympath assassin, while he was the much more emotionally available, tormented younger guy. I wanted to read that story. The kidnapping in the last book upset me because I had a premonition that everything I was interested in was going to be thrown. And I was right!

Basically this book is a rehash of Lover Awakened where Bella is kidnapped and Zsadist goes crazy trying to find her. Bella and Zsadist worked because their characters were defined to fit the roles they inhabited in their book. In LM Xhex the tough warrior woman is forced into Bella's role while whiny JM gets Zsadist - it really, really didnt work for me. I was excited when Xhex was introduced because there are so few strong women in this series, I hated that for her to get a HEA she had to be emotionally and physically broken down until she seemed a changed person. I'm not saying that any person can undergo what she goes through and still come out strong, her journey probably strikes the right chords for survivors. I think I'm upset that she had to go through an ordeal which required her to be weak and needy just so JM could play the alpha male.

A huge part of my problem with JM is how much telling, not showing, there is going on around him. The first scene in LM introduces him as follows
The one in the middle, however, was trouble. Slightly larger than his buddies, he had dark brown hair that was cut short and a classically handsome face-but his blue eyes were lifeless, with about as much reflection as old asphalt.
A dead man walking. With nothing to lose.
JM is always talked up as being a fierce and extremely dangerous fighter but he really does nothing. His internal monologues are whiny, self-centered & immature and it seemed to me like other people were always picking up after his messes. Even at the climax, after all the angst over how it had to be him taking Lash out all JM does is put himself, stupidly, in danger, so others can save Xhex and bail him out. And while I can see how it might look that he took the higher road, put his own needs aside to allow Xhex her vengeance all I saw was JM being his pathetic, ineffectual self. Right, I'm sure everyone understands exactly how much I liked him so we'll move along now.

As is the case with all the BDB books, the plotline above is only the primary romance. There's ample other action going on in this book. Lash and the Omega have a falling out and Lash soon learns what it means to be daddy's boy no longer. We have a flashback with the Brothers Darius and Tohrment investigating the disappearance of a member of the glymera. And we have a storyline with a paranormal investigations unit in South Carolina (? I dont remember and am too lazy to look it up). None of these worked for me, the lesser parts never do and the minute I started reading the latter storylines I knew exactly how they were going to be resolved so that took away some of the mystery factor for me.

Which brings me to the portions which did work. Namely the triangle between JM's friends Blaylock, Qhuinn and Qhuinn's cousin Saxton. Blay's been in love with Qhuinn forever while Qhuinn just wants to conform to the norm, get married to a woman of worth, after being an outcast all his life. He treats Blay horribly then gets cross-eyed with jealousy when Saxton finally asks Blay out. All the Qhuinn/Blay portions were fantastic, the scenes shifting between them wanting to hurt each other, to intense longing esspecially on Blay's part. All I wanted to do was read about them.

It's a pattern I've been noticing since LE, the secondary romances have all the sizzling romantic tension but when they move into their own story lose all their chemistry. I certainly felt the same way about JM and Xhex in the last book and couldnt wait to read their story. The caveat with Qhuinn and Blay's story is that I'd love to read them get their HEA but as a secondary romance in one of the future books. I'm sure I will not be able to handle another book filled primarily with the teenage angst and urban slang speak that this book had.

Lastly we also get a buildup to the next book which is Payne and Manny's story. Again, I loved Payne when she was introduced - a female Brother? Fantastic!! But LM ends with Payne breaking her spine and it looks like she's going to need intensive therapy/rehabilitation (which is probably where Manny steps in, Manny to those who dont remember was Jane's boss in LU) to get back on her feet. By now you know how I feel that Payne has to be weakened in her own story ... as if the psychological number her mother, the Scribe Virgin, has done on her isnt enough. Also, this will be another romance with a human/vampire love interest and I've yet to see one of those come to a satisfactory conclusion.

And finally, if you are still reading and want to know about the series arc ... what series arc? I felt the storyline was completely stagnant in LM, while simultaneously introducing more characters for potential stories. The problem is that I'm just not interested in these characters, I wanted to read about the Brotherhood and they're all storied out. How about Tohr's story, you say? In the BDB world the men are mated for life. Tohr had his mate in Wellsie who died, so if I read about an upcoming book with Tohr I will be intensely irritated. As it stands, I'm not sure if I'll pick up the next one in the series.

-----------------------------------------------------
Series Order

1. Dark Lover
2. Lover Eternal
3. Lover Awakened
4. Lover Revealed
5. Lover Unbound
6. Lover Enshrined
7. Lover Avenged
8. Lover Mine


11 comments:

avdi said...

Now that I managed to watch Twilight and read New Moon, I think I could try the first in the series just to see if I can stomach it. HEHEHE

couchpapaya said...

Avdi - Do try it out, the vampire mythology is very different in both cases though!! How did you like Twilight and more importantly (since you read it) New Moon? Maybe do reviews? :)

avdi said...

I saw the movie on TV. I dont think its the best ever.. but the effect is interesting. The pale faces and red lips and the dull, almost blue environments.

The novel harps overmuch on the love story. New Moon was all about how Bella keeps mooning for Edward. It did seem a bit long, but the writing wasnt half bad actually.

I am not sure if I can read all four books, but I might watch the movies, if they play on the TV, I cant make the effort to go to the multiplex for it.

avdi said...

I would rather write about the Bartimaeus Trilogy really ! That was fab.

couchpapaya said...

Avdi - I know what you mean. If I catch them on TV I wont be changing the channel either :) Do write about the Bartimaeus books when you can, I'm really intrigued!!

samir said...

It is indeed amazing that you write so detailed reviews, even on books you find average or less than average. I would never have that patience, which is one reason why I like reading your reviews.
Will most likely skip this one.

couchpapaya said...

Samir - Yes, I dont think this one is your style at all :) I've been immersed in the world of the books for a pretty long time now so I could get fairly descriptive. The other boring read I had recently was The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, which you will not catch me writing about. Like you mention I dont have the patience.

Anonymous said...

I have read all books in the BDB series as has a number of my friends. We believe that the stories are not boring and the characters aren't whiney or dull and the plots repeatitive. I think, as others agree, that the stories that are based around the characters are about their journeys to find themselves. It is obvious that the overall plot is about the war between the vampires and the lessers with twists of how the brotherhood traditions are changing with a new king. I have to admit that i thought that the lesser sections of the books were useless but as the books went on the lessers views became more exciting as you wanted to know what the enemy were up to. My friends and i all agree that we have never read a series as good and as addictive as BDB. J.R.Ward should be given a medal. The books were amazing.

Anonymous said...

BDB is the best series I've read I will be always waiting for her next book she's a great writer are you male or female because that would make a difference I think I have read LM and LR About 50 times they are my absolute favorite I'm not an expert it was just my tastes sucker for happy endings lol JM and Z are my favorite brothers couldn't stand phurys story soooo boring and could not stand it if Quinn and blaylock got together total opp if u ask me and just ewww if they do I'll read ur review find out if they do and totally skip that book lol

couchpapaya said...

Anon 1 & 2 - I agree, BDB is addictive. And most importantly there is something for everyone, even if people disagree on individual books :) Thanks for commenting.

kira said...

girl, you really are the only one blog that could make me go back and react.
yeah. so i was right after all. Qhuinn and Blay ROCKS!!
i already picked up the book HOPING AGAINST HOPE that ward would get on the upward swing again. apparently, i was hoping too much.
after the events on LE (on which you said started on LU), things starting going down the drain. and it doesn't seem to stop.
how could ward do this?? how could she basically ruined xhex like that! after the great scenes where she was such a strong survivor! in the end, love made her THAT weak??
and jm? the only one in the series that we watched from book 2 grow up and was supposed to have the face of an angel. JM was supposed to be the only one who had the most perfect excuse to have the best character development in the series! in the end, he had so much exposure he was just well ... :'(
i hate you, you know that right? i wholeheartedly agree with your entire effing review. im glad your OC-ness made you do this one. even if LM is really disappointing.
okay, seeing V definitely made up for it. and the sexy 2nd romance between the 3 guys - qhuinn, blay and saxton.
but other than that? bleh.

(oh, to the others that thinks BDB is the best thing ever written blah? yeah it WAS. WAS being the operative word. after V's story, nothing's ever the same again. ugh.)

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