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not so Vishous after all …

I don't remember how I got hooked on J.R. Ward's "Lover" series but I was hooked. The four books that came before this one, Dark Lover, Lover Eternal, Lover Awakened, and Lover Revealed have all been great. But somehow, this one fell a little short.

When you first start the series, there are a lot of vocabulary to learn, but don't worry – there is a glossary. This series revolve around the Black Dagger Brotherhood – a band of warriors who protect a race of vampires from the Lessening Society (a group of soul-less vampire hunters). There is a Scribe Virgin and an Omega, who serve as the god/devil figures respectively. But the books are mostly about the warriors, their relationships with each other, and with the heroines.

There are 6 brothers in all – Wrath (the vampire king); Rhage; Zsadist, his twin Phury, Vishous, and Tohrture. Seriously – these are their names. AND, don't think there are 6 books only. Book 4 is about this human cop named Butch. Butch has vampire blood in him – so he was able to transition into a vampire and live happily ever after with the vampire woman he fell in love with.

Back to this book … well, part of the problem with this book was that it never felt like its own book. There was so much going on that Vishous, the hero's story was more background than the main course. In the last book, it was set up that V was a little in love with Butch. In fact, V's feelings for Butch seemed more developed in this book than his feelings for Jane, the heroine (a human surgeon who saved V's life). Anyway, so it turns out V doesn't love Butch and that his feelings for Butch was just a placeholder because he really wanted to love sooomeone. Um … yeah. V and Jane's feelings for each other was just all of a sudden there. It was a bit hard to buy. There were a lot of flashbacks to their childhoods, but nothing really panned out. He had an abusive father. She had cold parents and a sister who died young. At the beginning of the book, the sister promised to "come back." It seemed like there was something going on there but the sister was barely mentioned again. The entire book, I kept waiting for something mystical surrounding the sister but nope, nothing. And the magical ending that allowed them to be together at the end seemed a little toooo unbelievable.

In addition to the lack of development in V and Jane's characters and relationship, their story was also overshadowed by a lot of background and setting up for other character's future books. There was a lot of focus on Phury, who is supposed to be the focus of the next book. There is also a lot of focus on another person whose book is coming. In fact, there was also set up for yet another person who suspiciously feels like he'll be in a future book as well. I count at least 5 future books thus far. All the set up for those overshadowed the actual story in this book.

I would give this book a B-.  But the series still remains promising. There is a lot of suspension of belief required, but overall, it's a good setup and the characters are engaging. I'd recommend starting from Book 1 (Wrath's story) and see.

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