(Spoilers are marked)“The quick and the dead are all the same.
Everyone’s just looking for home.” - LASSITER
Hear ye! Hear ye!
Leteth it be known that on this day, March 31st, 2012, I solemnly vow that I shall never doubt the WARDen again!
So, now that that's out of the way, my thoughts on the book...
I wasn’t sure she could do it. Pffffft! Silly me.
I didn't think she could pull it off. *sigh* Whatever was I thinking?
And had I had actually considered skipping this book and not reading it at all? Yes, yes I had. *hangs head in shame*
In fact, I've spent the past year angsting and fretting and worried and crying and angry… and over what? That Wellsie would be replaced? That the whole ‘Wellsie can’t move on until you do…’ storyline would feel too contrived? That I'd have to sit through more Qhuay drama than any human being should be forced to endure? Yes, in fact, I worried about all of those things and much, much more, but like I told my Goodreads friends in the JR WARD BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD GROUP, never, ever, will I doubt the WARDen again!
Okay, let's get down to business...spoiler thoughts:
Tohr and Autumn and their story: I honestly wasn't sure what to think about No'One because we'd never been given enough of her character to form any real impressions. I'm thrilled to say that I think she's all kinds of awesome! I loved that she didn't try to hide behind her mistakes, that she came out, faced them, admitted to them, and did everything she could to make things right.
And Tohr... what a male of worth! Amazing, honorable, hot... But wow... I felt so much pain for him. The WARDen did a great job, I think, of showing that it was not easy for him to let go. That it tore him apart to even think about it. In this one book I was able to feel what he'd been living for the past years since Wellsie's death, and I needed to feel those emotions in order to buy this story.
This was a tough one for me, because I was very upset, very worried about Wellsie being replaced, worried that it would be a 'they were never meant to be' couple... but I think the WARDen did a fantastic job of handling a difficult subject and she did it with compassion, understanding, and a great deal of love and respect all the way around.
That's not to say that I'm not sad still. Even after I finished the book, I cried for Tohr and Wellsie, and their baby, Tohrment, son of Tohrment, and for all that had been taken from them. I'm truly not sure if I'll ever be okay with it, but it is what it is.
John Matthew and Xhex: I always thought it was a little easy for JM to accept Xhex as a fighter. It just seemed too simple for a bonded male to be able to send his mate out into the field and be okay with it. That's why their story in Lover Reborn, I felt, was perfect. We finally were able to see how JM really felt, and how his feelings affected Xhex. I really appreciated this glimpse into their relationship and am thrilled for the way things worked out for them.
The Band of Bastards: I can't say enough about them. I hated them, despised them, sat imagining all kinds of horrible ways to kill them, and loved every single minute of it! I can't wait to read more, especially about Xcor. He's the Bastard I'm most excited about!
Assail: Hot damn! I'm digging Assail... I wonder if he's part Sympath and that's how he and Xhex knew each other?! He's a male to watch!
Qhuinn and Blay: Over the years I've become ambivilant about their story. I had reached the point where I just wanted their book so it would end already... be put out of my misery! I thought if I had to spend even a moment more watching their crap I'd rather drink bleach!!!
Yes, well, that's all changed. In one scene of several paragraphs, Qhuinn took me from loathing them to adoring them, and I am so, so stoked that their book is next!!!!
Layla: I still say she's a female of worth who's just misunderstood.
The epilogue: You can't get much more Harlequin Presents than this without changing publishers.
What made this book all kinds of brilliant...
The entire message of this book is summed up by Qhuinn, in one of the best, most poignant scenes of any Black Dagger Brotherhood book ever, and had me throwing fist punches and shouting, YES!:
All that simple-and-easy ended as he turned around. In the library, through the open doors, he saw Blay and Saxton talking. And then his cousin stepped in and pulled Blay into his arms. As the pair of them stood together, body on body, Qhuinn took a deep breath and felt a little death of his own come to him.
He guessed this was how it ended for them.
Separate lives, separate futures.
Hard to think that they had started out inseparable—
Abruptly, Blay’s blue stare found his.
And what Qhuinn saw in it caused him to falter: Love shone out of that face, unadulterated love untempered by the shyness that was very much a part of his reserve.
Blay didn’t look away.
And for the first time… neither did Qhuinn.
He didn’t know whether the emotion was about his cousin—it probably was—but he’d take it: He stared right back at Blaylock and let everything he had in his heart show in his face.
He just let that shit fly.
Because there was a lesson in this Fade ceremony tonight: You could lose the ones you loved in the blink of an eye—and he was willing to bet, when it happened, you weren’t thinking about all the reasons that could have kept you apart. You thought of all the reasons that kept you together.
And, no doubt, how you wished you’d had more time. Even if you’d had centuries…
When you were young, you thought time was a burden, something to be discharged as fast as possible so you could be grown-up. But it was such a bait-n-switch—when you were an adult, you came to realize that minutes and hours were the single most precious thing you had.
No one got forever. And it was a fucking crime to waste what you were given.
Enough, Qhuinn thought. Enough with the excuses, and the avoidance, and the trying to be someone, anyone else.
Even if he got shanked, even if his precious little ego and his dumb-ass little heart got shattered into a million pieces, it was time to stop the bullshit.
It was time to be a male.
As Blay started to straighten, like a message had been received, Qhuinn thought, That’s right, buddy.
Our future has come.
AMEN Qhuinn!!! And the future doesn't get better than that!
One final thought...
And in closing, I feel the need to point out that I'm thrilled that I am not the one who has to change the sheets in the Brothers' rooms at the Mansion. You couldn't pay me enough.