With Payne paralysed in a freak accident sparring with Wrath, only the best surgeon can give her the chance to walk again. Dr Manuel ‘Manny’ Manello, is the best in his field and agrees to give Payne that chance. Discovering a whole hidden world he never knew about he finds a bond he certainly wasn’t looking for, and an old friend he never thought he’d see again.
This book is a little odd in that it doesn’t just focus on Payne and Manny. Vishous and Jane have their story continued as well which was good, as it was obvious that there were still issues left unresolved in previous books. It could have ruined the story and been better being released as two books but there is such a close link between Vishous and Payne and the fact they are twins that it worked, and worked well.
I am always amazed at the quality of Ward’s writing, the emotional depths to which she goes for the much loved brotherhood, and Lover Unleashed is no different. One facet that was different from previous books is that the Lessening Society were more of a footnote than a cause and we are introduced to another set of warriors that have their own agenda. It was really interesting and opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
I didn’t expect to like Payne as much as I did. When we first got to know her in Lover Mine, I found her a bit annoying, but here she really comes alive as a character in her own right. She is a complex mix of the grace and sweetness of the Chosen but with the ability to fight with the best of the Brotherhood. As the twin of Vishous but with a completely different and sheltered upbringing, she is nothing like him yet has a bond that is purely him. I had been waiting for the story with Dr ‘Manny’ Manuel Manello since Lover Unbound and Vishous had the word ‘brother’ sound in his head. I knew there would be something big for him and it was great to see that come to life. He is very much like Butch, in attitude and personality but with the skills and abilities of a top class surgeon. Adding another human to the mix could have caused a lot of problems and weakened the group as a set, but I thought Ward worked him in beautifully. As for the surprise at the end, that was just brilliant!
Vishous and Jane, oh how I love thee both. The problems they experience in this book were both sad and sweet. Vishous had never really dealt with his issues, he was just able to bury them when Jane came along. Having his sister there and then Manny kicked up a lot of memories and the outfall could have been very bad. It’s a testament to the couple and how well they are written that they affected me emotionally as well.
The hints with Blay and Qhuinn are so tantalising and Qhuinn’s realisation was agonising, knowing he still wasn’t going to do anything about it, even with a solution staring him in the face so to speak. I’m really hoping they will have their own story because I love their characters a lot.
Lover unleashed is definitely a book about the characters and less about fighting, although it couldn’t be about the Brotherhood if there wasn’t at least a little combat. It is a powerful story, emotionally engaging with some very hot scenes. And it’s very, very good.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a firm favourite and J.R. Ward is simply a genius in the genre.