J.R. Ward’s Lover Unbound is the fifth book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This installment has the typical paranormal romance qualities as the previous novels but has more angst than most of the others do. I also feel I should add a warning here. Lover Unbound has graphic sex, torture, and mutilation. Do not read if you have a weak constitution.
It is the story of Vishous, Brother with flashy hand and psychic ability, and Dr. Jane Whitcomb, human trauma surgeon. Vishous, son of the Bloodletter, has had the ability to see bits of the future and read peoples’ minds regularly since just before his transition, but in the last couple of books those abilities seem to have dried up. He has gone into serious depression. To make matters worse, he gets a visit from the Scribe Virgin, the creator of the vampire race. He finds out that not only is she his biological mother, but also that on his next birthday, he is going to lose the freedom he has and become the Primale, read sperm donor, for the Chosen (about 40 females) in an effort to bolster the diminishing numbers of the Brotherhood.
On the heels of this news, he is pissed off. He goes looking for a fight and finds a lesser to pound on. However, during his fight, he gets shot in the chest. The authorities, who come to investigate, take him to a human hospital, where he is surgically repaired by Dr. Jane Whitcomb. When his brothers find him, they erase his medical records and kidnap Dr. Whitcomb while taking him back to the compound.
The story covers the history of Vishous, explaining his behavior and the origins tattoos on his face, hand, and groin. It also explains his desire for sexual dominance and his bisexuality. Through the course of the novel, the reader is lead through the seesaw emotional ride that V is on between his impending destiny and his feelings for his doctor.
Along with the main story, the sub-plots continue from the rest of the series including Phury’s drug problem, Bella’s pregnancy, John’s acclimation to living in the mansion, and his transition. The reader is shown the Other Side, where the Chosen live, for the first time in this novel.
Lover Unbound is a story of pain, betrayal, and sacrifice. As entertaining as it is, it read like a transitional story to me. It seemed like although this was the love story of Vishous and Jane, the bulk of the story revolved around setting the stage for Lover Enshrined, the next part of the series. I do not think that this novel should be read before any of the previous installments or long before the reader is ready for Lover Enshrined as there are so many sub-plot points in Lover Unbound that are necessary to the understanding of Lover Enshrined.