Review: Lover at Last

Collage created by Olga Daniels

Instead of doing a general book review, I asked the Wenches who read Lover at Last by J.R. Ward to give me a brief paragraph about their thoughts on the book. Let's just say, we aren't exactly glowing in our praise. Lover at Last was highly anticipated by followers of the pairing of Qhuinn and Blay. Affectionately, we call the duo Qhuay. Qhuayzies (as followers are called) have waited a long time for Qhuinn and Blay to have their HEA. However, as you can imagine, sometimes expectations do not live up to the reality.

Look after the jump for our initial impressions.

Wench Katherine

I have to admit that, so far, I've read only the Qhuinn and Blay parts and, of course, any scene that involved Zsadist. I was just in such a rush to get to the boys that I couldn't be bothered by any other storylines. And there were so many! I felt like I was constantly skipping chunks of the book to get to what I wanted to read. I've heard that some of the new storylines are appealing, particularly Sola and Assail, and fans are definitely excited about Trez and iAm, but I didn't care to read them just yet. I was all about The Boys.

I guess for J.R. Ward it's a case of damned if you do/damned if you don't. At first she said that Qhuinn and Blay might get a novella; then I think there might have been so much interest about this couple that she knew she couldn't give them any less than a full novel. But I really think that a novella centered around Qhuinn and Blay would have given us much more of what we were hoping for. There were so many things I wanted to read! Like a mutual bonding scent release, a mating ceremony, a little more time together, not hundreds of pages of the same misunderstandings and nonsense. Like more sex. Lots more sex. And honestly... The ending pissed me the fuck off! How do you end it like that, with one line, and expect us Qhuayzies to be happy? Na. Uh-uh. I wanted and still need more. Maybe it's a ploy to keep us engaged, but I was not happy, and unless we see a follow-up novella about them (or a deleted Butchous scene) as a peace offering, I will be pissed off about this for a while.

Will I go back and reread? Yes, but my heart will not be in it. I hope those new storylines are riveting enough to keep me interested in the series, because right now, I'm blah. And I don't want to give up on the alphas that I love.

Wench Olga

I've waited for (what seems like) forever for Qhuinn and Blay to get their book, so when I started reading it I was a very happy reader. Not so much now that I've turned the last page on my Kindle.

I know the overwhelming number of side stories is Ward's trademark (at least for the Black Dagger Brotherhood series), but I thought it was a little too much in Lover At Last. Don't get me wrong, I loved Assail, Trez, iAm, even Xcor by the end, and I most definitely enjoyed Sola very much. But when too much is too much...

A huge thank you to J.R. Ward for the plane scene. And for Zsadist. I've missed him so much. I also discovered while reading this book that I'm a Qhuinn girl. I felt for him and I cried. Even though this was supposed to be Qhuinn's and Blay's book, it felt like it was everyone's but theirs.

The induction was just Wow! The sex scenes, Meh. I've read better m/m. And Luchas. WTF? Why did we need him again? I was very glad to watch Layla grow a backbone finally.

And let me tell you how much I hated the last line, "…and lived happily ever after."

Favorite line in the book, "Blow me, Grim Reaper!" ~ Qhuinn

Wench Anne

Overall, I was not terribly impressed. I thought there were WAY too many side storylines going on. Ms. Ward is obviously trying to set up future books, now that all of the original characters are paired off. It was just a little too much for me. I found myself skimming through the non-Brotherhood / Layla parts, and I NEVER do that on a first read. But I just couldn't muster up the emotional energy to care about Assail and Xcor, or even Trez and iAm, whom I previously quite enjoyed.

There wasn't nearly enough Qhuinn/Blay lovey-dovey time. Yes, they had sex quite a few times, but we didn't get nearly as much relationship stuff as with some of the previous books. However, what we did get in those closing pages of the book was glorious. That scene of Blay giving Qhuinn his signet ring, and then the proposal, my god. Absolutely perfect! Although, I'm sorry we didn't get to see an actual mating ceremony. That's probably being saved for a future book, to keep us involved in the Brothers' world, now that they are all mated, just like Layla giving birth.

I'm glad that Layla got some personality/backbone in this book. And I hope that, somewhere down the line, she and Xcor can figure out a way to be together. All in all, I would give this book three stars. I'm glad the boys got their own full-length novel, but I think that it might have actually worked better as a novella. I'm not sure that I have the love for this series that I once did. I'll probably read the Brotherhood parts of future books, just to keep up with what's going on with my favorite males, but I guess I'll wait and see who is next up for the HEA.

P.S. There was nowhere near enough Lassiter in this book. I love that angel.

Wench Veronica

I thought Qhuay's story got off to a slow start, and I was honestly kind of bored with them in the beginning. There were so many other storylines, which I know is how the last few books have been, but Lover at Last just seemed overloaded. I alternated between being more interested in Trez, Assail, and Xcor's stories than Qhuay's, or annoyed at them for taking time away from Qhuay.

  1. Blay's mistrust of Qhuinn; Qhuinn was an absolute ass to Blay, and he deserved to work hard to show that his feelings were for real.
  2. That plane landing! I thought it was genius storytelling to switch from Qhuinn's to Blay's POV when it did.
  3. Assail and Sola — I ship them, hard.
  4. Xcor planning to take out Wrath with intrigue over fighting. I think this makes for a much more interesting storyline.
  5. The ring. The RING. THE RING. I might have cried.

  1. The miscarriage threat. Why? I don't know what purpose it served.
  2. It took 90% of the book for Qhuinn and Blay to finally work their shit out, and I really needed more schmoopy Qhuay.
  3. No mutual bonding scent and no mating ceremony; this review is supposed to be brief, so that's all I'll say about that. 
  4. Oh, and WTF Luchas?

Final verdict: Overall, I was underwhelmed. There were some fantastic parts to this book, but I really needed more time devoted to Qhuinn and Blay navigating their relationship, not just deciding if they could have one or not.

Wench Angela

Sad to say, I wasn't overly impressed with the book. Yes, I am happy that Qhuinn and Blay are finally together and got a whole novel. However, I'm also not happy. The book was confusing ― there were so many other storylines, that the book felt cluttered ― and there was no consistent flow in the reading. In hindsight, remembering my delirious days of being overjoyed that Qhuay were getting a novel, I actually would have been happier with a novella that focused solely on them. I was kind of sick of the "when will they get together, let's put another obstacle in the way". After all, this has now been going on for numerous books. Part of me just wanted to scream, "Come on, get this over and done with. They are meant to be together."

As for Layla, it was great to see her develop a backbone, but why all the miscarriage drama? Was it to show Blay as a hero, saving the day? Blay has been saving Qhuinn's ass for a long time; I didn't need him to prove he was worthy of Qhuinn. At least that's how it felt to me.

I was bored. Bored by the storylines, bored by the length of the book, so much so that I skipped large sections. Why? I did not care about them. Clearly that says what my real opinion was: I was disappointed. Perhaps I built up my expectations for the book to be more than it was going to be, but I couldn't get into it. And part of me wishes I had stuck with reading Qhuay fanfiction, as it seems far more satisfying when I think about it.

The only saving grace for the book is that it will help raise the profile of m/m writers, and for that I am eternally grateful. I'm grateful J.R. Ward introduced me to m/m. However, this is the last Black Dagger Brotherhood book I will read.

My fellow Wenches have summed up my thoughts perfectly, and I nodded my head in agreement as I read their viewpoints. But I am not going to be quite as generous as some with my overall rating.

What did you think of The Book? Happy? Sad? Indifferent? Did Qhuay's HEA meet your expectations? Did you like the other storylines?


  1. I just discovered these books, so I didn't have to wait to read this last one - I just read it when I finished the last one. I enjoyed it as much as the last few. I think I probably enjoyed it more than the wenches because I didn't have to wait, it was just a continuation of the story. I think perhaps the time you had between novels built your expectations too high.

    I liked the Layla and Xcor storyline (even the potential miscarriage part), and wished there was more of Trez and iAm. I will keep reading because I like being in this world. It is kind of like the Outlander series to me: the books are not always as good as the ones that came before, but I like being in that world so much, with characters that I love, that I will keep reading to keep myself as part of that world.

  2. I didn't like this one.
    The Qhuay storyline was OK and I enjoyed it, but the rest of it was just all over the place. Too many characters and too many stories to follow in a single book.
    I think J.R. Ward is going for complex but coming out with a pointless jumble.

  3. I didn't know Ward originally planned Qhuay as a novella. Explains why they didn't seem to have much time in this book, or why the time they had seemed...unsatisfying. If she did start with a novella, and stretch it out and pad it with other storylines to make a full book, then everything sort of falls into place and makes sense.

    I also find it interesting that several people assumed all the side stories were to set up future books, since all the core brothers' stories have been told, and now we know that is not the case. Makes me wonder what the future holds for the BDB series. Will Wrath and V and Z and Phury get relegated to the sidelines in their books to make room for Xcor and Assail and all the other minor characters?

    1. I think they will Veronica. To me it's the only thing that makes sense as to why there would be so many side stories. They must be to set up future books. Perhaps with Wrath's next book, one of these other side stories will play out in tandem?

  4. I agree that this book was a shambles..(yup! totally British here :)) QHuinn and Blay got what? 30 pages in the book? (Yup, I exaggerate a bit...but only a bit mind you! It was 35 pages tops! Felt like it, at least). In LR, Qhuinn realises that life is short and "let's the shit fly". But in LAL....noooo, let's keep on bumping along on a log, he went. Bloody hell! So many misunderstandings...then they had a couple of long talks. Really?! Those were the talks we wanted to read about, ffs! Don't get me started on Layla...and she gets worse in The King...wanting to save tha king by sleeping with the enemy. OK. That may a parallell universe! Those side stories did my head in. It was like reading four different books randomly set together...nothing connecting them whatsoever. Cool! NOT. The one positive thing is that my fever is broken. I have no idea when the next book will be out. I have no interest in finding out. And I can wait forever before I read the next book. Yay! PS. Read the fanfic of Ashleyofqhuay in Goodreads. THAT is how LAL should have been. I'm just sayin'!


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