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Review: Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11) by J.R. Ward



Author: J.R. Ward
Title: Lover At Last
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood
Book #: 11
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, LGBT
Release date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Signet
Length: 608 pages
Heat level: High, intense but not overly explicit
Review copy provided by: Reviewer, personally purchased
Reviewer recap: The Blind King is now completely blind and plots to take over the throne are well-underway. With the Brothers now also having to guard their backs against the Band of Bastards as they continue their nightly fight against the Lessening Society, their joint responsibilities of protecting the race and the king are more intense than ever. Qhuinn and Blaylock, after a close friendship and tumultuous history of love and rejection, finally have a chance at their happily ever after, but is it too late? Can they look past all they've put each other through, and all the obstacles they still face, and make the ultimate commitment?
Writing style & finesse



Character development

Likeable/relatable characters

Plot tension

Flow & pacing

Heat &/or sexual tension

Total Score
8.1/ 10

User Rating
32 total ratings



Qhuinn & Blay are everything I wanted and more!


Cut out the entire Assail storyline and I probably wouldn't even notice.

Bottom Line

Lover At Last was so exciting that I had to stop and reread sections multiple times but also so infuriating that I was skipping entire sub-chapters. I will absolutely read this story again, and this time I won’t waste my time on the Assail parts. I loved getting to see some pivotal scenes finally come to fruition, moments that have been building for several books (years!!) and these scenes absolutely delivered what the WARDen has been teasing at for so long. On the down side, Now that Qhuay has finally happened, I’m not sure there are any other couples exciting enough, at this point, to catch my interest enough to build up such fevered anticipation again. Has the Black Daggerhood finally hit its peak? The usual vicious politics and brutal fighting abound in this very special installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward, but the star of the story is the long-awaited union between vampire warriors Qhuinn and Blaylock. Lover At Last is a GraveTells Recommended Read!

Posted April 14, 2013 by

Full Review

*** This review is spoiler free. Read on with confidence! ***

Lover At Last was probably my most anticipated book of 2013 and, in many respects, it did not disappoint! The action scenes (and I mean the fighting action – where was your head there? Hmm?) were seriously intense and absolutely re-read worthy. The characterization of Qhuinn and Blay was spot-on with how they’ve been built up over the past few books and their energy was damn near explosive. I loved practically every scene they had together, even the ones that were so minor they left me craving more. Man, I seriously love Qhuinn. He’s so intense and sometimes scary, but always honorable and loyal with a core of humility that is, well, humbling.

When it comes to the sex, the physicality between Qhuinn and Blay was unlike anything we’ve seen before from the Black Dagger Brotherhood, raw and completely unbridled. Exactly what you’d expect from these two powerful warriors and their long-unrequited love. Their fights were just as epic, with nastier things said between them than any other couple in the series. Hell, Qhuin and Blay as a couple were more intense all-around than most other pairs in romance in general. And what I love so much about that is that it’s completely fitting, considering their rocky relationship and traumatic past.

Layla’s story really tugged on the heart strings and brought new dimension and depth to both her and Qhuinn’s characters. Speaking of Qhuinn and Layla, we knew they couldn’t keep their naughty secret from the Primale forever, and you won’t be disappointed with how things go down in that sitch! The WARDen has a knack for occasionally taking some of the scary out of these big, strong, badass males and infusing them with entertaining reality-tv-like drama, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on the Brothers and their very memorable antics in Lover At Last!

There were a few things that really snagged on my nerves though, including the persistently annoying Assail story arc; I found it more than a little tiring. Every time things started getting interesting with Qhuinn and Blay (or really, ANY other part of the book), ‘BAM!’ here comes Asssail with his druggie politics and boring forbidden romance with some chick I really couldn’t care less about, whose grandmother made me want to punch a kitten (I adore cats – it takes a lot to make me want to punch a kitten). Xcor’s story arc, whom I really disliked when he and the Band of Bastards were first introduced, I didn’t mind so much and really started amping up in the last quarter of the book. Trez’s story is finally going somewhere as well, giving some spotlight action to the mysterious Shadow brothers. But Assail, this fairly new character who has very little to do with the brothers directly, seemed to get nearly as much page time as Qhuinn and Blay, and damn if it didn’t feel like a cock-block.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like the way Ward integrates multiple story arcs and the others (Xcor, Trez, the Lessening Society) were appropriately proportionate and fairly engaging, but seeing Assail every other chapter got old, especially since it took a while for his story to get interesting. This is Lover At Last, not Some Other Lover Maybe Sometime In The Future; we have waited YEARS for Qhuinn and Blay to finally get together and I resented the constant switching to this relatively new character so much that I finally just started skimming large portions of his chapters. Maybe that’s the root of his name… Assail-ing other people’s story arcs and annoying the snot out of those of us reading the book primarily for the long-awaited Qhuay story. *grin*

Memorable Quotes

Gotta love Qhuinn’s inner monologue…

He landed face-first into the windshield, his ass getting hit with the kind of breeze that turned him into a bug on all that glass. And then it was a case of oh-heeey-gurl-heeeey: Thanks to the glow from the dashboard, he caught the OMG! on the faces of the pair of guys in the front seat… and then his bright idea turned into goat fuck number two of the evening.

Lover At Last is all about Blay…

In order to seem casual, Qhuinn went over by Tohr and pretended that he, like the Brother, was just monitoring the progress of the lift. Not. It was all about Blay, of course. It had always been about Blay.

And all about Qhuinn. Huzzah!

The male was incredible in the field. And loyal to the point of psychosis. And smart. And sexual to distraction. And a hundred thousand other things that Blay had to admit nobody else came close to. But he had one serious defect, and it wasn’t his eye color. He couldn’t handle emotion. At all.

Blind or not, Wrath is no figurehead king…

“I am very comfortable with conflict, be it of the legal or mortal kind. My father was a mediator, a bridge maker. I am a grave maker. My father was a persuader. I am a taker. My father was a king who would willingly sit at your dinner tables and converse with you about minutiae. I am not that male.”

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Rating: Lover At Last



Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue and GraveTells have won several blogging awards, and GraveTells recently celebrated its five-year anniversary! Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.


    Susan W.

    I like your review! But I differ in that I loved Assail and Sola and could careless about Xcore and the BoB. Xcore’s parts were the ones that I skipped through. LOL! I’m afraid that if BoB becomes more of the story then I’ll lose interest in the books. I’m glad she’s revisiting the Brothers and Shellan’s for the next book or so.


      Thank you! Yeah I totally feel you about the extra storylines. I’m hoping the next one takes us back closer to the already-mated brothers. Thanks for commenting!! <3

    Sandy Lion

    Excellent review and I love the rating process. So many different feelings about this book, but I liked it compared to the last 2 releases. I agree it had some points I could do without, but overall it was a turn in the right direction for Ward in the BDB saga.


      I know what you mean about the last two books. Tohr’s book really didn’t resonate with me at all. Here’s hoping the series goes in an enjoyable direction with the next one! Thanks for commenting!!


    When I read The Black Dagger Brother books I go slowly. It was the best yet, I’m waiting for
    What happened to Sola, The mating ritual with Ohuinn and Blay. There is a lot to look forward to in her next one.


      Definitely a lot to look forward to. I had a feeling there wouldn’t be a mating ritual in this one, but I was hoping for it! Dang!


        The book just didn ‘t feel finished enough for me. I’ve spent the past two days since I finished it feeling uneasy or maybe it’s unsatisfied. I guess I wanted the mating ritual as well. I want them to both get the other’s name on their backs and all that. I don’t understand why it was left out.


          Yeah, me too Jessica! It almost feels cheap, right? Leaving that out and making us wait for it (if its even shown) in the next book? =(

          Speaking of mating rituals, I thought the scribe virgin had to bless them all? Or was that just for Wrath and Hollywood? They’re pretty much doing whatever they want at this point, and I think that was a results of Payne’s book, but that feels strange to me as well.

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