In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other—six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now, the cold heart of a cunning predator will be warmed against its will…
Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous son of the Bloodletter possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father's war camp, he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the
Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time- until a destiny he didn't choose takes him into a future that cannot include her.
Black Dagger Brotherhood Book 5
'Lover Unbound' was the most awaited Brotherhood book on my end. I couldn't even wait to get home from the bookstore, instead I found a chair and started reading before I'd even purchased the novel! Vishous wasn't the easiest Brother for J.R. Ward to write and she's never been afraid to admit that. He's a male who values his privacy, he's intensely complex and his genius mind only makes him more intimidating. But it's also for these and many more titillating reasons that he becomes so sought after by readers. We want to, no, we need to know who he is.
Again, this review is going to be a little different. I want to discuss more of Vishous and his heroine, Jane, and how their romance worked for me. I know many, many readers had issues with 'Lover Unbound' and I think it ranks as one of the most disliked in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but for me, 'Lover Unbound' is my favorite. J.R. Ward provided for me exactly what I wanted...even the end worked for me. And because the end was such a deal breaker for many, I want to talk about it. These are major spoilers, so please don't read on if you don't like that sort of thing.
First, let's talk Vishous. By this point and after everything that went down with Butch in 'Lover Revealed', I found him to be a little more open with others. Not a lot but he just seemed softer to me and I think this had to do in part because he now feels that he's fully in love with Butch. When you're in love, even if it's not right (I don't think his love was wrong, it just didn't work with the situation), your soul can't help but be soothed. But V is also tormented by this love for it's obviously not returned. Oh Butch loves V, but he's not "in" love with V. Besides, V also knows that even if Butch wasn't with the love of his life, he wouldn't be with Vishous the way he would want him to be.
Okay, so I know that point just ruffled the feathers of the die hard V/Butch fans but I must admit to myself that even though I fantasize about Butch and V acting upon all that pent up passion, on V's part, I don't think that things would have ever ended up that way for the two males. Vishous, once again, has never ever been close to another soul. From birth he's been an outcast. His past has hardened his heart and his soul and Butch was the first to break through those barriers. Attraction and love is the logical thought process for V after someone has finally opened his eyes.
In addition, I feel that without this love for Butch, Vishous would never had been open to a relationship with Jane. If he was still that cold, unfeeling male of before, V would never have given Jane a second thought. My point is that my thoughts are one with Ward's. Vishous had to fall for Butch to fall for Jane.
Although one might think that we were able to become more intimate with V in 'Lover Revealed', 'Lover Unbound' really shone the spotlight on Vishous. Like all Ward's Brothers, V is tortured on so many levels. His past is more than ugly and it shaped him irrevocably into who he is.
Another aspect of 'Lover Unbound' that got readers' hearts roaring was V's unconventional sexual appetites. He's into hard core bondage complete with ball gags, whips, chains, and hot black wax. But these toys aren't for him, they're for his subs. V never gets fully naked during his sessions either. His body shames him for it's a walking warning to others. A warning of his curses. Long brown hair along his forehead hides the tattoos surrounding the eye, the eye that gives him the curse of precognition. His glowing hand, hidden at all times by a black leather glove is tattooed with warnings of it's potential destruction. His genitals, again tattooed in a warning that he should never be allowed reproduce. His partial castration, evidence that someone did try to prevent that from ever happening. That someone was his father, the Bloodletter. Although a strange name for member of the warrior class, V's father was always ever known as the Bloodletter. A cruel and unfeeling soul who makes Zsadist into the Pillsbury Doe boy next to the evil of V's warrior father. Vishous learned the hard lesson that he could trust no one, ever, and he closed his heart then and there on the day that his father cast him from his home and into the winter night centuries ago.
But Vishous, then and up until now, was in the dark as to whom his mother was. Turns out, it's the Scribe Virgin - V is the son of a Goddess. I was just as surprised as Vishous to learn this revelation and I was also just as sad. She, a Goddess, could have saved him from the horror of his childhood. Why did she abandon him to his cruel father? But these questions are for later. The Scribe Virgin has a gift for V for his three hundred and third birthday. She has picked the most pure of blood, the most beautiful of her female Chosen followers, to be V's mate. She will be the first of many for the Scribe Virgin states that Vishous's destiny is to be the Primale.
It would require V to leave the Brotherhood and live on the Other Side, the temporal realm with the Scribe Virgin and the Chosen. As the Primale, he will lay with them all and they will all bear him young. For Brothers are only made by the joining of a Brother with a Chosen female. And more warriors are now needed in the raging war against the lessers.
My heart broke harshly for V. His anger, his hatred to what was done to him at the war camp with his father overflows and washes cruelly upon the Scribe Virgin. Her only defense is that she gave her word to the Bloodletter. He saw through her mortal disguise and her need to bear her own young. He wanted the young to be male, and he knew she could provide that outcome, and three years after the birth, he wanted no interference from her for the next three centuries. In the Scribe Virgin's yearning for her own children, she agreed and Vishous suffered.
Although every part of Vishous cringes at the thought of laying with a bunch of females for his mother, V thinks of the Brotherhood and the survival of his species. Knowing also that Butch is gone from him, this ultimately makes his decision. He'll be the Primale but on the condition that he stays with his brothers and continues to fight the lessers. Knowing that her son has thrown her a boon, the Scribe Virgin accepts the terms. It's soon after that V experiences the infamous BDB mine moment.
Doctor Jane Whitcomb. A love/hate character in Ward's BDB world. I loved her immensely and I defend her here in this review. I'm not trying to convert anyone. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I'm looking forward to discussing Jane with everyone.
I not only admire Jane but I respect her. She's a confident, extremely intelligent female, both attributes which I long for within myself but alas, I've learned that I'm only human. But these aspects about her grabbed me hard and never let go. She's also a product of her own tragic past. Cold, withholding parents that could give a fig about their children certainly leaves it's mark. But I don't believe that it shaped Jane into a cold person, just a guarded one.
As chief of the Trauma Division at St Francis Medical Center in Caldwell, New York, Jane is the Queen of her domain. She does her job and she does it well. But it's not just a job, it's a long love affair with helping people. But her life is just about to be unraveled when a huge male is rolled in with a gunshot wound to the chest. I loved how we got a glimpse of the inner workings of the vampire body. A six chambered heart! Crazy. I was glued to the pages like those crazed fans of ER and Gray's Anatomy. Little does Jane know that it's V on her operating table. In his rush to decompress after the whole revelation with his mother, V welcomed the lesser that must of brought him down with the gunshot wound. Strange though, V thought he'd killed the guy...
Sorry, I got to break in here with a little humor:
"You so need to lighten up about that potato-launcher incident," Butch said.
Phury rolled his eyes and eased back into the banquette.
"You broke my window."
"Of course we did. V and I were aiming for it."
"Thus proving that he and I are outstanding marksmen."
Lover Unbound © J.R. Ward
It's when V is coming out of his drug induced haze that his inner territorial and possessive male genes coming roaring to life. His tall, shewed surgeon, the one who pushed him around and demanded that he stay alive, she's the one awakening this previously dormant behavior within him. And Vishous doesn't care how it happens, but all he knows is that he's vacating the hospital ASAP and his doc is going with him.
The patient took a deep breath on his own. And another. And another. Then those eerie diamond eyes shifted over to her, and she stilled as if he'd willed her to do so.
There was a moment of silence. And then in a rough voice, the man whose life she saved spoke four words that changed everything...changed her life, changed her destiny:
"She. Comes. With. Me."
Lover Unbound © J.R. Ward
I believe that there's a lot about Jane that fascinates the hell out of V. I also think it's this fascination that slowly pushes Butch into the background of his heart. The fact that Jane's a fighter makes V admire her and surprisingly, turns him on. Her intelligence and cunning wit, makes V laugh. Plus the shared tragedy of a horrible childhood connects them. They share a lot in common but it's Jane's kindness that further softens V's heart. But again, if it weren't for Butch and his part in uncorking Vishous's emotions and ultimately, his heart, none of this could have ever happened.
Jane, initially, is held somewhat as a captive at the Brotherhood compound. Even if she were free though, the chances of her leaving her patient so soon after open heart surgery is pretty nil. Again, Jane's first thought is to help and she will stick by her patient. But she'll give him hell in the meantime. A part of me was excited to return to the hot guy wanting the plain Jane, for Jane is no raving beauty but V wants her. And despite the doc's need to fight, V doesn't feel guilty at all about holding her against her will. It's meant to be. She's meant to be here. With him.
It doesn't take long for Butch's previously overwhelming presence in V's mind to dissipate. Of course, Butch never fully disappears. He will always be a major contributor to the opening of V's soul and for that he resumes a rightful place within his heart. But V's heart no longer beats for Butch, it beats for Jane. He no longer feels pained to know that Butch and Marissa were intimate. Now he's just happy that his friend is happy. It also doesn't take long before V's in love with Jane. She's a consistent conundrum, fascinating him at every turn. Her mind, her personality resonates with his on such a deep and electrifying level, that the emotion springs forward so fast and without warning that V's only left with accepting it.
It takes a little bit longer for Jane, but the emotions are no less surprising. Jane falls for V slowly and comically. Her feelings at first are admonished as wrong. One shouldn't ever have these types of hungry feelings for their patient. But soon, Jane can't help but let her heart become engaged. V's praise of her intelligence makes her shine like the heavens. He makes her uninspiring appearance feel marvelously beautiful and Jane begins to feel womanly and aroused...
But of course, there is the ever injustice of bad timing. V has given his word to the Scribe Virgin that he'll be the Primale and therefore mated to a gaggle of sipped females. He'll have to let his beautiful, soul searing doctor go. Scrubbed clean of all memory of him while he'll live and breathe of her in his thoughts for the rest of his life.
This review has already streamed for so long, let's skip way ahead and tackle this whole issue of Jane becoming a ghost. I remember being scared when I found out that V's heroine was a human. I knew that Ward would not take the same path as the others who were initially human - Butch and Beth. Some how, some way Jane would have to live as long as V and that could be an extremely long time. It's also why I'm so happy that the next few novels feature vamps and vamps only - JM and Xhex, Rehv and Ehlena. I know that for many Jane becoming a ghost was a total deal breaker, for me it took some time to reconcile myself to the ending of 'Lover Unbound' but I've done it and I'm fully content with V and Jane's Happy Ever After. Here are my thoughts:
V's hand. A curse that he's despised since his transition. A curse that forever separates him from touching another. The only person he can touch is Butch, but he can't love Butch so the hand is still a curse for him. A reminder that once again he can't have what he wants. But with Jane; with Jane he can touch her everywhere with his glowing palm. He no longer has to use his palm merely to heal Butch or to destroy, he now has the ability to create. He can create the woman he loves. She's real for him and no one else which not only satisfies his yearning to feel her flesh but it also appeases that territorial beast within him for only he can make her whole; only he can create the energy she needs to maintain her corporeal form. There is absolute beauty in that.
The Scribe Virgin. She rights a wrong and heals, not completely, but she heals a wound within Vishous's soul by giving him Jane. V is given a chance to open his heart once again. Although, who knows how long that will last when he learns another truth about his birth... This healing may only be tenable. But it's still healing.
Jane. When you've loved so passionately and lost so tragically, wouldn't you accept that person back into your world even if they were transparent? Transparent but visible to you and to others. Wouldn't you take that if you were offered it? V doesn't care that Jane's a ghost. She's whole to him and that's what matters. As much as we want Jane to be flesh and blood for our hearts, it's V's that's important and V is more than content. More than happy.
In closing, I loved all the page time dedicated to Vishous and Jane. Pages and pages of hot romance that had my heart pumping madly the entire time. I cried at the end. I cried so long and so hard that I had those annoying hiccups at the end. On top of that, my husband thought he might have to cart me off to the looney bin. Crying over a book makes him frightened for my health. At first I cried because Jane was a ghost. I'll admit it, I was upset. Upset because I could no longer relate to her. She was wholly different and strange... But soon I was crying because of the very end. When Rhage accidently steps into Jane and V gets all territorial over his female. I cried over the normalcy of it all. The fact that life goes on and in that life, V and Jane are together.
Obviously, again, I've left a lot out of this review, but I've revealed a lot too. There are so many parts of this story that I'd love to quote but I'm sure, if you've even made this far, your probably begging me to shut up.
'Lover Unbound' was magic...for me.
Was it Jane herself that you didn't like? If so why? Or was it Jane's fate that you disliked?