TBR Challenge Review: Lover Unleashed

Format: Hardcover (available as a mass market paperback, ebook
Pub Date: March 2011
Publisher: NAL
Length: 489 pages
FTC: Borrowed from Mom

I've had Mom's copy of this book sitting in my TBR for nearly a year now. Which, in terms of TBR Guilt, is a pretty long time. I don't think she's read it yet, either. There's a new Black Dagger Brotherhood book coming out this month, and this month's TBR Challenge theme was series catch up. Coincidence? Maybe. But it worked to make me get off my duff and read this book.

Part of my reluctance about reading this book was the hero's name: Manuel Manello. DUMBEST. NAME. EVER.  Sorry, was I shouting? But seriously, in a world where superfluous Hs dominate and everyone's name sounds angry, this name takes the prize as the worst name ever. And that's not even counting that a diminutive of Manuel is Manolo...which makes his name Manolo Manello. *snicker*

These books are silly. There's no getting around that. Ward's writing style is so over-the-top that I find myself guffawing over the word usage, product placement, or WTF dialog. But they are also angsty and addictive. And every so often Ward writes a paragraph or three that really hits me in the gut with its simplicity and power. When you strip away the trappings of the BDB world, Ward can write emotion so well you feel like sobbing ugly, heaving sobs. (Not that I can find any quotes right now, because my kids removed my bookmarks. *growl*)

The saving grace of this book is that it really isn't about Manello or Payne, our supposedly kick-ass but really quite passive heroine. It's V's book, part II. And I'm fine with that. He got screwed in his own book, so I'm fine with him getting another one. There's some interesting relationship stuff with Butch and V, too, and we get a few emo scenes of the Qhuinn, Blay drama.

I'd say this was the worst of the series, but that honor will always belong to Phury's book (Lover Enshrined) thanks to the whining. As long as you ignore that this book was supposed to be about Manello and Payne, it does just fine. The gaping absence of the other Brothers seems a bit weird, especially when they pop in midway through the book all beat up, only to disappear again. Lover Unleashed is just not as good as the first few in the series, and I'm deducting points for the wimpy ass heroine even if that is a Ward tradition.

My Grade: C

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