Kaleigha's Reviews > Lover Mine

Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
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May 06, 10

Read from May 03 to 06, 2010

I am at a bit of a loss as to how to review this one without giving too much away. There is just so much going on, so many threads and backstories and foreshadowings of what is to come, that avoiding spoilers is a bit tricky. I will apologize in advance, since I am sure this one is going to be on the long side.

In Lover Mine, we get the story of John Matthew and his mate, Xhex. While I look forward to the Ward books, I wasn't all that crazed to get my hands on this one. Neither JM or Xhex registered as favorites of mine, with John being a pale immitation of Darius and Xhex being so...butchy. So while I expected to enjoy the story, I was shocked to find that I loved it. While they didn't start out as favorites, both of them ended up being near the top of my favorite characters list.

Over the course of the series, we have seen JM the scared boy, JM the confused young man, JM the fledgling soldier. In Lover Mine, we see JM the man, the warrior, and the mate. And he thrives at all three. When we last saw JM, he was desperately searching for Xhex, who was missing and assumed captured by John's mortal enemy, Lash. As time has gone by, hope of finding Xhex alive has dwindled, and all John can think of is finding her body and avenging her death. While inside he is an enraged bonded male missing his mate, he must try and appear calm and in control to the Brothers so he is not removed from the search. The only ones who know how much agony JM is in are Blay and Qhuinn, and they are dealing with issues of their own.

Just as John is at the point of giving up, word comes that Xhex is alive and has escaped from Lash. When John finds her, however, she is weak and near death. After suffering unimagineable abuse at Lash's
hand, the only thing keeping Xhex going is the thought of taking Lash out...and then dying herself. During the weeks she spent as a prisoner, many of her thoughts centered on JM. One of her greatest
regrets is how things ended with John, how she broke his heart. When she gets to see him again, when he comes to save her, she and John get a limited second chance. They both give into their feelings,
driven to be together by love and need, but their battles are not over. Xhex is still convinced killing Lash will be a suicide mission...and John knows he won't be able to stop her. He will have her for now, but he will be destined to live as a bonded male without his mate - a fate worse than death itself.

As JM and Xhex find their relationship changing, so to do Blay and Qhuinn. Blay loves Qhuinn, not as a buddy or partner, but as the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Things are made even more complicated by the arrival of Saxton - Qhuinn's very refined cousin who make no secret of his interest in Blay. Even though Qhuinn cannot commit to Blay himself, watching his best friend pull away is
the hardest thing he has ever done. You just know that the heartbreak for these two is not over yet.

At the same time, Payne is still trapped in her half-life on the other side. Frustrated, bored, and desperate for escape, Payne's only outlet is the visits from Wrath. Fighting and battling with the King is all that keeps her going, until even that is not enough. To know that she is doomed to spend eternity in her pretty prison drives her over the edge, to the point where even death is better than spending another endless day on the other side.

As JM and Xhex become lovers, they also become friends. They trust each other with the details of their lives they have never shared with another soul, and find that they are very much alike. Both never fit in the world they were raised in, both felt alone and abandoned, and both suffered horrible abuse. Xhex is a warrior, through and through, but in this book she is also very much human. She is strong, for sure, but also scared, funny, determined and very honest about her own faults. Seeing her learn to not only trust John, but to lean on his strength, was a wonderful thing. John, meanwhile, is both strong and caring, determined to protect and avenge Xhex while still giving her the freedom she needs. Even though he knows that he will not get his forever with the woman he has loves seemingly forever, he treasures every moment he gets. I loved seeing them together...the little moments brought their relationship to life, and even though you know they will get their happily ever after, it is not an easy path for either of them.

For most of the series, Qhuinn has come off as the careless bad boy, but what drives him is so much more. After years of being made to feel less than nothing by his priviledged family, Qhuinn is determined to find a female of worth and live a traditonal life. It has been his one goal, even amidst his endless rounds of meaningless sex with random strangers. It is through this that Qhuinn feels he will finally
find his own self worth. So his own strong feelings for Blay threaten the future he has set out for himself. We get to know Qhuinn in this book, and while before he has come off as just immature and uncaring, he in fact has stronger feelings than anyone knows. He is in pain, but willing to let Blay find what he needs, even if it kills him.

There were some other threads running through this book. There is a whole ghost-hunter thing that didn't make much sense to me until the end, but when it did it was a big surprise. No'one also plays a small but pivotal role, and seeing Tohr begin to fight his way back from the edge was great. One of the most profound things, for me, was the relationship between Darius and a young Tohr, and Tohr and John today. It is a circular relationship, with the son becoming the father, and everything old becoming new again. I can't say more without giving too much away, but it was great piece of writing that you can only appreciate when you are done the book.

Now, things are not perfect in Lover Mine. There is still a lot of brand-name dropping, and a whole lotta slang. With so many story arcs, beginnings and endings and hints for the future, sometimes the flow of the story can become choppy. I still didn't find myself all that engrossed with the Lessers, even though I was glad Lash got what was coming to him (and how he got it was perfect). But I loved the fact
that both John and Xhex were strong characters with a soft side, caring of each other, and completely equal partners. Each protects the other, and both are willing to do whatever they have to do to keep the other safe. I loved Tohr, was intrigued by No'one, and finally got the answer as to how Manny and Payne meet. I felt bad for both Blay and Qhuinn, and hope they find their way to each other against all the
odds. I loved this book, and my only complaint is that it is a year until the next one.
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