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Expected Release Date: Available Now!
Publisher: Penguin
Imprint: NAL
Author’s Website: http://www.jrward.com
My Source for This Book: Amazon.com
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 9, Black Dagger Brotherhood
Series Best Read In Order: YES
Steam Level: Hot

Official Blurb:

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself-only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can-but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them?

I’m going to say this, and trust me, I don’t say this lightly: BEST BOOK OF THE SERIES SO FAR.

No. Really.

Was it perfect? Of course not.  Did I care (or even really notice)? Notsomuch.

Oh my goodness I don’t even know where to begin.  I am going to do my best to be spoiler-free with this, so it’s going to be rather short and sweet.

What worked for me:

  • Everything.

Ok no seriously:

  • I liked that while the main story arc is continued, as it is of course book 9 in an incredibly popular series, this story focuses almost entirely on the main couple, another couple, and one other main character with pretty much cameos and side-pieces from the rest of the group. This made it much more gripping than some of the past novels in the series, where the focus of the main relationship was overwhelmed by the general story arc.
  • There is a new baddie introduced >:D Thank the Scribe Virgin because I was getting so sick of The Omega this and The Omega that.. Don’t get me wrong, The Lessers are still going about in their baby-powder-scented glory and trying to muck things up for all the vampires, but we’ve got a new Big Bad to worry about and I’m so thankful.
  • Dr. Manny *fans self* Oh my. *fans self some more* Let me tell you Dr. Manny Manuello can heal me ANY time he wants. Whew! *fans self furiously*  Seriously, he and Payne were scorching together!
  • Payne! Oh my I didn’t realize that I’d love her so much! She didn’t appeal to me nearly as much in the previous novels, but her inexperience in the world, the circumstances which brought her to our realm, and the tricky politics of, well, life and love.. just. Loved Payne.
  • There are some major character developments for some of the characters who do not yet have their own book, as well as for at least one couple who does.

What didn’t work for me:

  • ……. yeahhhh I’m a Cellie so the WARDen can really do no wrong in my book lol

Points of note:

  • Sensitive readers should be aware that there is self-harm in this book, and some scenes that are very difficult to read for those who truly care about these characters.
  • It should be noted that this is a long-established series and as such should be read in order. Newcomers to the series will not benefit from at least half of the novel, as there is a lot of resolution between previous characters in already established relationships. That said, I do think newcomers will be able to enjoy Payne and Manny’s portion of the book, which is probably about 50%ish.
  • While I actually find her writing style refreshing, some readers may find Ward’s writing style to be a bit too loose, as she tends to type, thoughts and speech especially, as one would type in chatting, rather than being grammatically correct.  Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t use txt speek or anything, but things like “Yeahhhhhhhh.”  There’s also her ever-common usage (or overusage according to some readers) of pop-culture references, brand names, and musical references.

Overall, I of course adored it.  I think fans of the series are truly going to enjoy this one, though alas, newcomers to the series really should skip this one and instead begin at the beginning, as I don’t think they’d really be able to make heads or tails of Caldwell. That said, I do think that it’s more of a standalone than the previous few novels, so the brave few who aren’t really interested in wading through 8 books in order to begin this one may stand a chance of at least enjoying the relationship between Manny and Payne. And hey, at least those readers will be able to empathize with Manny and his “say what?” reaction to being introduced into the BDB world.

A very cheerfully solid 5/5 Stars, and I’m anxiously awaiting whatever else the dear WARDen decides to grace us with.