Friday, April 20, 2012

Impressions: Lover Reborn (BDB #10) by J.R. Ward

Yes I read this book, even though after reading Lover Enshrined I swore I would never read another BDB book again. But, yeah... I wanted to finish reading the stories about the "original" brothers and so I caved. Yeah.

Tohr and No'One's story/romance turns out to be about sex, sex,and more sex as a remedy to the brother's angst and refusal to get over the loss of his first shellan/wife Wells. Yeap. Tohr turns into a user and abuser (he abuses No'One verbally), until almost the end of the book, just so the poor schmuck can get over his 'owie.' Oh, and no romance for him either. Nope. No bonding, no bonding scent, nothing. Just an "I love you" at the end and an "she'll do" attitude. Meh...

Then there's No'One/Autumn who's a glutton for self-punishment with her "I'll take your abuse now, and some more later, yeah give me more" attitude. Just another female of "worth" who doesn't think she's worth anything in this series. And yeah... she settles for being 'less-than' at the end too. All that angst for Tohrment and Autumn and no real romance to speak of... just a wimpy little second best type of second chance at love for our beautiful Tohr.

The rest of the book is all about Xhex putting her foot down about being treated as a female of worth! Yeah... it's all about being "allowed" by her hellren/husband John Matthew and the Brotherhood to fight. She's given a crumb at the end when they assign an investigation to her (no fighting involved), but going by the past histories of the females in this series we have to wonder if that will last. 

There are no real "villains" in this story. The villains are obviously being slated to be future "heroes" at some point. The Band of Bastards are introduced as a whole bunch of rogue vampires looking to take down Wrath as king, with the idiots from the glymera as their backup, but already some of those characters are being developed for the future. The lessers don't really play a role in this story.

Layla, Quinn, Blay, and Saxton are all featured with Quinn and Layla going into the realm of the ridiculous, and Layla playing that usual servile female role that just grates. We all know she has been trained to be blood donnor to the whole of the BDB world, but in this book her lack of brains -- her portrayal as a brainless bimbo -- just floored me.

But this read wasn't all negative for me. No. Good funny/fun moments? Rhage doing his booty dance -- lord he brought back some great memories and made me laugh! Lassiter and his addiction to television and Real Housewives . Lassiter and Tohr at the movies. And yes, there's that certain 'something' (the crack factor) that is still there and that pulls at the reader -- particularly to an old addict like me.

Other good things I found after not having read this series for a while? Although the POVs change and the storylines abound, this book as a whole flows much better than the last few books I read from this series. It all meshed quite well and that's a huge improvement.

And as a side comment, for a series that is no longer paranormal romance, there was an awful lot of romancing and xhexing (yes, the x and the h are there on purpose) going on from the beginning to the end of this book.

I'm glad I read Lover Reborn, though. It has been a long time and it was good to revisit a series that provided me with many hours of enjoyment and that at one time enthralled me. Grade: C-

22 comments:

  1. I picked this "tome" up from the library last week on impulse. I haven't read a BDB book since Phury's (sp?) when the series shifted from PNR to just plain paranormal, but I really couldn't resist Tohr's HEA.

    I haven't read it yet, and now I'm thinking I may not. Part of what turned me away from the series (besides the sudden shift in genre) was the treatment of the women and how submissive they were. It seems not much has changed since then.

    Glad you were able to enjoy the revisit. If I do decide to crack it open before returning it to the library it will be for nostalgia reasons.

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    1. Hi Brie! I guess we stopped reading the series at the same time. :) And yes, I couldn't resist reading Tohr's HEA.

      I don't know what to tell you? It didn't turn out to be a great romance (in my opinion), but you know what? I was glad I read the book and finished off reading about the "original" brothers. It was like closing a circle on this series. You know how much we all loved it! So, yeah... even though on one hand it wasn't great, on the other I was glad to read it. Nostalgia played a big role for me. :) I have good/fun memories from all our great discussions of this series.

      PS: The portrayals (treatment) of the females? Hmm... yeah... you won't find that changed much. Although you know how that aspect of it can always be rationalized in one way or another.

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    2. I agree with everything. Even though I thought I was done with the series, I couldn't resist the urge to pick this up when I saw it, knowing that Tohr was the last of the first Brothers. Maybe I will read it now, as a bit of closure to a series that I loved so much.

      And yes, we had such fun times chatting about this series! It really was my crack for a few good years!

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  2. Oh Lord! I didn't read the last book (last 2 books?) and reading this makes me happy I didn't. I AM glad that the crack factor is still there and that there are fun and funny moments in it but the rest of it just doesn't speak to me at all. I was hoping that we could see Tohr find some balance, closure and maybe even possibly true love but it seems from your review that none of that happened. Poor Tohr.

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    1. Tracy, there are some fun moments, but I looked for those. *g* There's a lot of angst in this book for the most part. LOTS of angst. And yeah... that pull is mostly nostalgia, although not enough to pull me back to read the rest of the series, lol!

      Poor Tohr, indeed! I understand the whole Wellsie loss, etc., but his romance really wasn't a romance to me. The emotional connection between those two poor souls wasn't really conveyed at the end and that's a shame. I don't know. FYI, if you're into the Quinn/Blay relationship, Ward sets it up in this book, although she throws a curve in there for that too. :(

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  3. lol you made it a lot farther into this series than I did! I gave up after Lover Unbound. I dropped the series mostly because I was annoyed with how Ward portrays women in the books. From what you've said about this installment I'm glad that I stopped reading them.

    Ooo! I hate it when the hero is emotionally abusive throughout the whole book. I never understand how people can root for him and the heroine to get together when the hero is such a douche.

    Great review!

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    1. Samantha, the portrayal of females in this series has been the subject of much discussion. It has been a few years since I read an installment in the series, and I'm afraid this one made an impact. Oh well.

      The hero (Tohr) in this case uses No'One for a purpose and shows no respect for the lady unless told to do so by another character. The heroine, however, is portrayed as an enabler until almost the end. There are apologies extended, etc... but...

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  4. No bonding scent? not Mine moment?
    That sucks, poor No'One, but then, it kind of sounds like she's okay with it.
    So sad.

    I'm kind of over the whole Layla, Quinn, Saxton and Blay thing. It's like this lot - save Saxton who just wants to have fun - just wanna suffer and be emo.

    *sigh* I was hoping Tohr would fare better, she used to be a favorite.

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    1. Alex, no. Nothing. And yes, she was okay with it.

      It's a bit contradictory because without the "Mine" there shouldn't be that possessive factor there, and that should make it better for the female in this case. However, with someone like Autumn who is submissive, it shouldn't matter. Plus, if you go by Ward's world building you know there's something not right there.

      I never paid much attention to the younger set Quinn, Saxton, Blay, since I left off at Lover Enshrined and they were just getting out of their transition. So, I'm not interested. Layla, well... that character has certainly devolved, instead of evolving. Wow. And yes! I also hoped for a better HEA for Tohr, it's the reason I read the book. ;P

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  5. I stopped after Zadist (or however you spell his name) book. My favorite character was actually John Matthew, but even when his book came out, it wasn't enough for me to pick it up. Guess I did avoid the crack factor :)

    Too bad this didn't turn out to be a better book :(

    By the way, some of you have mentioned the shift in genre... What shift? LOL.

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    1. Oh you gave up early in the series, and you did avoid the crack addiction. LOL! This book wasn't a great read for me personally, but I bet tons of fans loved it. :D

      The shift in genre? It supposedly shifted from PNR to UF in the middle of the series. The shift began around Lover Unbound (Book 5), but it was cemented with Lover Enshrined (Book 6). It worked for me as PNR because the HEAs were always the goal, but for me personally as UF there are too many plot holes in the world building to appeal or make it a viable series to follow. Oh well.

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  6. Tohr was my favorite but I think I'll write my own HEA for him in my head. :) I gave up on this series after V's book and it looks like the reasons I gave it up are still there.

    Even though I haven't read the last 5? books, I wouldn't consider this UF since there is a new couple's road to HEA in each book. I think the reason so many think it left it's PNR status behind is because there are so many story lines competing with that HEA. It also sounds like the world building is still weak & IMO it would need to be much stronger to be considered UF.

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    1. Leslie, good idea. :)

      I was curious about the UF status of these books when I read this installment and wondered if/how the series had changed. Going by this installment, it hasn't changed much. The multiple story lines are still there, the central villain/enemy storyline is weak (although left open), and the focus is still on couples and their angst/sexual encounters/romance. The differences I saw were that in this one, a couple that found their HEA in a prior book were still working out their differences in this book, and that the shifts from story to story flowed better. But, someone who commented on my Goodreads post said that these books are a sort of "soap opera" with a central story that is pushed along. I tend to agree on the soap opera label. After a while it felt like I was reading one.

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  7. Ha! Ha! You actually read it! Never thought you would.

    I haven't read it yet. Don't want to pay for the hardback and refuse to pay the ridiculous price for the ebook. I'll either get it from the library or wait for the paperback.

    Just finished writing my review or Lover Unleashed. Oy! If you didn't like LReborn do not read LUnleashed. The worst book in the series IMHO.

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    1. Ha! Ha! Indeed! It's all your fault! LOL! You got me involved with all your talk of the BDB and well... I read something recently that INspired me... lol!

      I didn't buy it, I borrowed this book, and yeah... even though it wasn't a winner, I'm glad I read it and found out what was what with Tohr. Sigh... And Oy! Now you're going to make me read your review of Lover Unleased? LOL! I'm need to read it to find out what THAT's all about. Are you trying to pull me back into this?

      PS: Godfather III: "Every time I try to get out, they PULL me back IN." Al Pacino. Muahahahah!!!

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    2. Ha! Ha! Indeed! It's all your fault!

      Moi? Jamais! Never! I plead innocence in your falling off the BDB wagon! Mmmm.... what did you recently read that INspired you?

      And Oy! Now you're going to make me read your review of Lover Unleased? LOL! I'm need to read it to find out what THAT's all about. Are you trying to pull me back into this?

      Actually, reading Lover Unleashed may cure you of any lingering BDB crack addiction. It. Was. Awful. LOL!

      I won't be posting the review just yet. I think I'm gonna post reviews of the first four books, which I did enjoy, as well as Lover Unbound ('cause you know I have a lot to say about that one!), before I post the review of Lover Unleashed. Call it my nostalgic walk down memory lane and prep for closure after Lover Reborn.

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  8. Hi Hils! I've had this post open in a window on my laptop for at least two days now and am finally commenting! Like you, I became disgruntled with this series a few years ago. My "almost break-up" with the series was with V's book for several reasons that I'll save for another time, but basically I'm still reading this series with an adjusted expectation so to speak. I classify this series like a family saga (or soap opera!) stuck somewhere between PNR and UF. I don't put all my expectations on the perfect romance and HEA anymore. Instead I go in curious to see what's going to happen next with ALL of the characters and the overall series plot. I think that helps me enjoy it more. ANYWAY. Now that I explained THAT..

    CAUTION: SPOILERS POSSIBLE!!!

    I understand where you're coming from in your review.. especially regarding Tohr and No'One's relationship. No'One DEFINITELY got shortchanged in this relationship. Maybe Ward will give them some 'Mine' moments and a bonding scene in a future book.. but WHY NOT IN THEIR OWN BOOK? Doesn't make any sense. Also, I didn't get angry or frustrated with No'One's lack of self-worth. Ward made it sound like she chose and welcomed some kind of self punishment and I didn't see it that way. That felt more like blaming the victim for the crimes of the sympath AND the glymera. I accepted that she was severely damaged by what happened to her while she was kidnapped and held captive by that sympath.. and the consequences of that to her family and her sense of worth were severe and she was so young and vulnerable. The sympath and the stupid gylmera are to blame for her shortcomings, so to speak. And how was she supposed to feel about herself when no one told her otherwise? Not even in Sanctuary did anyone try to give her the therapy, friendship and compassion she so desperately needed to begin to heal.

    I also didn't think the Brothers treat Layla like a brainless bimbo. I think they simply wanted to protect her from being scared to feed what's his name (LOL!) Xcor's second in command or from feeling guilty for helping an enemy. Hopefully Layla's involvement in helping Xhex locate these guys will teach the Brothers that she can help them in more ways than with her blood.. and that she can be trusted with some ugly truths.

    I happened to really like the side story with Xhex and John! Maybe because I read their book I understood both of their sides to the issues at hand better? I don't know.. in any case, I liked that Ward showed a mated couple having to work through a relationship issue instead of it all being perfect happy ever after after a mating ceremony.

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    1. My dear Christine! I agree with both you (and Mariana) that this series has turned into a soap opera (a very addictive one from what I've gathered) *g*. I read this book with absolutely no expectations, so don't get me wrong at this point in the game I was not disappointed at all. LOL!

      As far as No'One and Layla and Xhex, I understand everything you've explained about their contributions to the story and their backgrounds. My objections are not to those, my objections come from Ward's portrayal of the females/women in the series and how somehow they always end up being endlessly helpless (as in Layla), endlessly fighting for rights that should be theirs without question (as in this case Xhex), or females who think of themselves as worthless and accept less than they should be entitled to as in both Cormia and now No'One.

      I'm not an uber-feminist Christine, but even my hackles go up when I read how females are ultimately portrayed in this series... Mind you this is PNR/UF and contemporary, so there's just something really "off" about these portrayals. Layla's character in particular grates some and then some more. So when I say I was "floored," I'm talking about the author's portrayal of the character itself. I was floored by how it has deteriorated since the last time I read the series. :(

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    2. No, you're right, Hilcia. Ward does need to step up her portrayal of women in her series. It's one thing that the issues the women START out facing in the series is there to begin with. In a way that mirrors our present day, real life society, doesn't it? Sadly, it's a truth. But then Ward should take advantage of that set up and have these female characters change the way they are perceived and treated by the males, namely the Brothers. Let the females disprove all of those unfounded portrayals through the story. Now THAT would make this series so much more profound.

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    3. There! You hit the nail on the head! After 10 books, you'd think that the females that now make a part of the Brothers' lives would have some kind of influence, (contemporary/modern day influence) on them. I accepted some of that mysogynistic attitude toward the beginning of the series because it was part of her initial world building, BUT there has to be growth in order to make even that part of it really acceptable today. There has been little to no growth in that respect at all. Why?

      You're absolutely right... if the above were not the case, this series would be a real "kick ass" PNR/UF contender in my opinion anyway. :D

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  9. Oh wow that was long. Lol! Sorry!

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    1. And LOL! Look at my looooong response! I took the opportunity to follow your lead! *grin* Seriously though, you KNOW how much love to discuss/debate books and ideas. So go for it! ;P

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