TBR Challenge Review: Lover Reborn by JR Ward

Format: Hardcover (now available in mmpb and ebook)
Pub Date: 2012
Publisher: New American Library
Length: 590 pages
FTC: Purchased myself

There are a ton of reasons for a book to end up in my TBR pile. Sometimes I go on a book buying spree. Sometimes I pick up a book intending to read it, only to be distracted by a shinier title or by real life obligations. Sometimes the mood just isn't right. None of that happened here. This time, the book has languished because of Twitter spoilers. I made the mistake of going onto Twitter on release day before I had received my copy. By the time Amazon delivered my shiny hardcover, several major plot points were spoiled, and I was feeling meh about the book and the series. And Twitter, too.

This month's theme is More Than One (meaning more than one book by this author in the TBR), and yes, despite feeling uninspired by the series and the book, I bought the next book in the series anyway. It's a sickness. 

Ward's books are problematic for me. On one hand, I have to admire her over-the-top writing style. It's ridiculous, really, but still oddly addictive. It's highly consistent, with weird brand name dropping, verb-creation, and improbable dialogue. It's also problematic thanks to the not-so-subtle cultural appropriation, violence and misogyny.

This is technically Tohr's story, but as with the book before it, Lover Reborn fails to really focus on the primary couple of the book. Even with Tohr's back story, even with a massive page count, there is a lack of clarity about their actions, history, feelings and more. Honestly, I was far more interested in pretty much every other relationship on the page than the primary one.

The other irritating thing, beyond the extra Hs, is how Dickensian the names are. Not just the Brothers, but the others as well. No'One? Ugh. It's hard to make a character who is attempting to be sans personality interesting and Ward really didn't succeed. I can say No'One's the least memorable character in the entire series and that includes the improbably named Manuel Manello.  I didn't care about her as a character even at the end. Probably not what Ward was going for.

All of which makes it sound as if the book is terrible, when it really isn't, especially for long time fans who know the characters and history. Of the many, many story threads woven throughout this book, the coming civil war is perhaps the most interesting. Well, that and Qhuinn.

I doubt any of the BDB books will be as truly awful as Phury's book, but I keep hoping some of them will be better than those early ones that got me so hooked on this crazy series. I'm going to keep plugging along despite the flaws—and when we're talking about these longer books, that means something.

My Grade: C+

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