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Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood Series #11)

Lover at Last - J.R. Ward This book is a bit of a bitter ending (to me) for a series that I used to obsess over. What is to follow is not a fan-girl review, it is a review of a disappointed former-fan.Qhuinn and Blay:Epic fail. Their storyline was an illustration of coming to terms with who they, Qhuinn and Blay, are as individuals. Add some rather quick and unemotional sex between two men that had no apparent connection and that is the bulk of their story. There was no fucking emotions that I could grasp. There was very little shared emotion. The relationship came about, not because of the sex, but in spite of. One of the reasons I found mainstreaming a gay fictional couple would be highlighting the emotional connection of two people without gender consideration. You know, because it's supposed to be a love story. It was kind of obvious gay sex isn't JRW's thing, but love is universal and the reason I read romances, gay or straight. Their "relationship" was rushed at the end and read like an afterthought and very disappointing given the book is nearly 600pgs. The contention from JRW is that their story would be handled like every other couple. I can't recall a book where the sex was so mechanical and unemotional. Honestly. No eye contact and doggy-style is the extent of physical intimacy.To be fair, Blay had a lot of anger and resentment towards Qhuinn. That was his cross to bare. There was a small bit about coming out to his parents, but was a non-event. It did work well to contrast Blay's relationship with his parents and Qhuinn's non-relationship with his. I love Blay and have certainly felt his pain over the years over non-requited love, but I'd be lying if I didn't say how much my heart broke for Qhuinn. It's easy to see the only thing Blay was without over the years was Qhuinn's love (he did have Saxton though), while Qhuinn really didn't have anything until this book. Heartbreaking stuff. There was a good amount of Blay's POV, so knowing what was going on in his head throughout was good.Qhuinn had a couple major obstacles to overcome (that was rushed/forced in the last 20pgs like everything else good in the relationship). Namely his sexuality and how his family really, truly fucked up his existence. His sexuality wasn't a big deal to him, but the reasons why he buried it made him come to terms with how his parents affected him. Good stuff, but, again, it was there and gone, then, BAM the end of the book.I repeat, the lack of emotional connection between the two was frustrating. Knowing their thoughts and emotions isn't the same as having them connect emotionally. Given the end of LRb, I expected Qhuinn's approach or lack of approach to getting Blay not very aggressive or impressive. Naturally, there will be more Qhuinn and Blay in future books, certainly in Layla and Xcor's, but given what a clusterfuck this book was, I have no faith in JRW's abilities to execute.Blay and Saxton:In my opinion, JRW made a major mistake by telling the highlights in Saxton and Blay's relationship, emotional and sexual. And I mean highlights, the good stuff. I don't think it is EVER a good idea for an author to give an indication that the hero is better off with the ex. Frankly, she did such a poor job of developing a relationship/connection between Qhuinn and Blay, that you could easily see Blay being with Saxton. Making a point to allow Saxton and Blay's relationship to change for the reader, for the better, while not progressing with Qhuinn and Blay's story was also a big, big ugly.I'd also like to add Qhuinn was right, Saxton is a slut. He dumped Blay, understandably, but went and got layed the next day. Sure, he loves Blay. Give me a fucking break. Saxton may care deeply for Blay, but love? No way. His sluttiness led to an ugly altercation with Qhuinn, and I like that Qhuinn went to bat for Blay without conscious thought. Having Blay lie about his relationship with Saxton the ENTIRE FUCKING BOOK, was, how shall I say it...moronitic and sophmoric. How old is the demographic reading these books. Better yet, how fucking old is the author. Blay lies about being with Saxton, Qhuinn says, "Use me to get at Saxton for cheating,", the only thing missing was passing notes in study hall. This is Y/A material. Qhuinn and Layla:This book did not make the baby drama any more appealing. If anything I'm even more put off. The miscarriage scare and Layla related scenes, in which there were a lot, really brought down the entire book. JRW also likened Qhuinn servicing Layla to manual labor...digging a trench. I know it was meant to soften the 12hrs of endless sex (way less than Z and Bella BTW) he gave, but it came off as condescending to, I, the reader. She really came off as self-centered and uncaring about the repercussions of her actions. Very early in the book Layla had an "Oh Well" moment when she was thinking about how getting serviced by Qhuinn adversely affected any chance of Qhuinn being with Blay. Seriously, she really didn't seem to fucking care that the pregnancy affected more than her. She may have stood up for Qhuinn when Phury was going to kill him, but she wasn't there for him when Phury did the real damage, "This is all your fault". What was so very wrong with the Layla storyline was how she was putting herself, the baby and every Brother in danger because she feels adored and admired by the enemy. Self-centered much? Basically, still a Layla hater, more now than ever.Side Stories, aka 3/4 of the book.No fucking joke. I walked away from this book so many times because I just wasn't that interested in Trez, Assail, Xcor/Layla and Band of Bastard's storylines. Take that back, Assail's wasn't that bad, but their storylines took up a whole lot of the book. The flow of the entire book was stunted and forced, like JRW was cramming 5-stories into one, not big enough, book. There was a whole lot that should have been edited or consolidated. What I did like: the induction (although it wasn't really any different than what we've read before) and understanding why Qhuinn was chosen, the airplane, which played into Qhuinn's badassness and hero tendencies, Qhuinn's thank you to Blay, the Red Sox vs Yankees and suit scenes made me miss the earlier books when the Brotherhood was a tangible part of the books, there was good dialogue between Qhuinn and his brother that may have been the most emotional aspects of the book, the last 20-30 pages are the only reason to read this book, because the journey there wasn't very good and those pages also involved the best parts of Qhuinn and Blay. What I really miss is the Brotherhood. There was really only a couple samll parts that hinted of the books of old and made me angrier. JRW has set up future, no, not set up, wrote big chunks of future books, but they aren't Brothers. The male comradrie and friendships are sorely missed and what I used to love about this series. I'm happy to have read Qhuinn and Blay getting together, but the delivery was a jagged pill difficult to swallow.This book has been referred to as a filler. If you can write 600 pages of filler in any series, than your series isn't very good. 2-stars