Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #9) – J.R. Ward

Your legs are part of you, but not all of you or what you are. So wherever we go after tonight, I need you to know that you are no less for the injury. Even if you are in a chair, you still stand as tall as you ever did. Height is just a vertical number – it doesn’t mean shit when it comes to your character or the kind of life you live.

After a terrible injury Payne, a fearless warrior, is left paralyzed. The only person who can help her is a brilliant surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello. The two of them form a unique connection, as Manny helps her heal not only her body, but her mind as well. Unfortunately Payne can’t find peace and solace. Not yet. Her past is catching up to her. And it’s going to put her in great danger.

Ward’s writing style is definitely something that needs getting used to. It’s VERY informal. Sometimes it’s hilarious and sometimes it’s cringy as hell. It’s funny to me that the author is almost 50 years old, yet she makes me feel old. She uses slang words and abbreviations I never even heard of. I have to google them. Like a grandma. Every time I end up on urban dictionary I feel 10 years older. So at this point I am probably like 500 years old.

In this book Ward definitely toned down the sex scenes a lot. They are still there, but not as much. And not as graphic as they used to be.

I didn’t like the fact that whole chapters in this book are written in italics. It’s tiring to read. It’s a retrospect, I get it. The date at the beginning of the chapter would have been enough, trust me. I was also annoyed by the fact that sometimes POV changed mid-scene  and it wasn’t always very obvious, so a couple of times I ended up very, very confused.

My biggest issue is the fact that the author used the word “she-male”. The context doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t be in a book. And definitely not in a book published by an author as popular as Ward. Oh, there is also a lot of woman-hating, you-are-not-like-other-girls kind of bullshit, too.

I loved that one of the POVs in this book was Vishous’. I love the original cast of Brothers the most and I am always happy to read from their perspective. But his interactions with Jane were very painful to me. They made me fear for their relationship (even though I was never a fan. I still think that V should have ended up with Butch and that’s it on that). And even though I am happy with the way things resolved I am not exactly sure if I understand exactly what happened between them. I just hope they will be able to heal from the events of this book.

The main pairing of this novel is Payne and Manny and I actually have to say that I loved them together. I think that they are by far the sweetest couple in the Brotherhood. I enjoyed their interactions and chemistry, and even the angst between them felt genuine.

This thing between Qhuinn and Blay is being too drawn out. It’s so painfully obvious that they are endgame. At this point this running around in circles is getting annoying. Give my boys a happy ending, damn it.

I think that the storyline of Payne dealing with her spinal injury, but slowly accepting it, was beautiful. It was maturely and delicately executed. I was very excited to see where this was heading. But I was disappointed. Any book, where injury as serious as hers was is being healed by the power of love, is a bad book. It’s extremely hurtful to people who are going through something similar. It’s insanely insensitive. I can’t imagine what the author was thinking.

But I enjoyed the rest of the book, even though I wasn’t all that interested in the “action” part of the storyline. I read these books for the characters and I got a very engaging, blooming romance, an angst-filled marriage and some scenes with all of the Brothers present, so I am pretty happy with that.

And when it comes to chapters from Xcor’s perspective, they are the equivalent of the lessers’ chapters in the previous books. And what I mean by that is they were painfully boring and I skipped most of them.

It’s not a good book. It’s not well written and it doesn’t have a solid story. I feel like books in this series stopped being actually good after 3rd or 4th novel. The rest of them is written for people with very low standards, who fell in love with the characters and now they can’t get out of this hellhole. People like me. But damn it, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading it a lot, despite all of its flaws. And you know as good as I do, that it had many. I don’t know what it is about these characters, but I just can’t let them go.


Content warnings:spinal injury (paralysis), self-harm, self-destructive behaviour


You can find this book on Goodreads, Book Depository and Amazon

15 thoughts on “Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #9) – J.R. Ward

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  1. I totally agree with you on the books stopped being good after the fourth. I mean that didn’t stop me from reading all the way up to the Shadows. But that’s when she tore my heart out & I threw that big ass book and went into a reading slump. I believe that was either the 11 or 13th book?..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg what? If she killed one of the Brothers I am going to be PISSED. I like reading her books when I am in a bad mood or a reading slump, because I know that she loves happy endings and no matter what happens in a book, everyone will end up okay. If that changes I am going to throw hands I am not even kidding.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will say that the book gave me a harsh reality check when it came to expecting a happily ever after with that one. It wasn’t one of the brothers that died and the story was based off a new member of the brotherhood but came into play with his brother a couple times. But I was ugly crying with that book! And refused to but more because I didn’t want to be hurt like that again!😣

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