Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9) - J.R. Ward When I pick up a book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward, I'm not expecting literary fiction. I'm not even really expecting anything I would call literature. Instead, I'm expecting a light, fun read. Instead? I get this: 300-and-some-odd pages of the worst dreck I can remember reading in the past couple of years. If Goodreads would let me assign negative numbers to a book, Love Unleashed would get such a rating.Keep in mind, I'm not new to vampires, nor romance, nor this series. This is what? Book number nine? And Ward uses it to introduce a whole host of new vampires out of nowhere, completely redo her plot regarding what we thought would be the eventual downfall of the lessers, the undead, formerly human, mortal enemies of the vampires. Why? Because she needs to extend this cash cow out to infinity is my guess.What actually happens in this book is so boring, expected, and downright lacking any iota of suspense that the reader will feel as if she (or he) has been trapped in centuries of stasis much as the book's "main" character, Payne, was. Payne, twin sister of the BDB Vishous (his book was Lover Unbound, if you recall) and daughter of the race's goddess, the Scribe Virgin (and we know now she ain't no virgin), was critically wounded in sparring with the vampire king, Wrath, at the end of the last novel. As this one opens, there is no hope to save Payne other than ... wait for it ... to head out into the human world, track down Vishous' formerly-human-and-now-ghost-doctor-wife Jane's former colleague, Manuel Manello (don't get me started on this name) to save her. Forget that it defies all logic to hunt this guy down all over the place when vampire bones knit in mere hours. Forget that he knows nothing of vampire anatomy, and the race undoubtedly has its own capable doctors (including Havers, who's been missing for several books now). This book is going to be about Manny and Payne, and by god, we are going to get them together if we have to defy all logic to do it!Blah, blah, Manny and Payne fall in love. New vampires do things. Gratuitous sex scene with new vampires we don't care about double-teaming a prostitute we also don't care about. Cameo appearances (literally, some of them have no other scene in the book other than a quick smile and wave in a scene that reminds me of the convoluted entrances of all the guest stars on The Love Boat so you could see who all would be sunning on the Lido Deck) of all the previous vampires we would really like to catch up with instead of this new batch of losers.A subplot involving a serial killer that seems to do noting more than prop up the human cop Jose de la Cruz as someone we'll see again feels like filler because the rest of the book had no suspense. Not that the subplot adds more suspense, mind you, but it's in there.And to cap it? Let's refresh: We have one half-vampire who changed. That was Ward vampire canon. Then we have one human allowed to stay immortal by the Scribe Virgin. Really? Then we get a ghost, a human change (even though she said that couldn't be done), and finally, even though she has given herself THREE OTHER NON-CANON WAYS TO HAVE A VAMPIRE AND A HUMAN GET TOGETHER, she comes up with number four. To top it all off, there were so many plot holes and story reversals in this book I found myself pulling up the others to reread passages to make sure I was remembering things correctly.Lover Unleashed is a clear case of an author clinging to a series too long. We don't need all the original characters matched up to end the series. And we certainly don't need a whole host of new characters at this late date who will also have to be matched and sexed up on the regular. No one needs a book this bad.

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