For so long I waited for this book and JR Ward did not disappoint. I'll be the first one to admit that my whole purpose reading this was about the love story between Blay and Qhuinn. Focusing solely on their relationship, how many times did I get frustrated with both of them saying, "Damn it, quit it!!" A whole heckuva lot. I estimate that their romance consisted of only 50% of the book, so I imagine the remainder is the set up for book 12.
This book was about L-O-V-E with all capital letters, shouting from the roof tops. Yes, it was between two guys, and yes, they both were BAMF. Neither one thought they were good enough for the other which led to so many games (see above frustration).
Can I say how awesome Blay's parents were when he came out? "I love you. You are my heart beating outside of my chest." I don't care who you are mated to, or whether they have blond hair or black hair, blue or green eyes, male or female parts- as long as you are happy, that's all I worry about. I want for you what you want for yourself. I love you, Blaylock- I love you. "
An earlier review I read slammed the intimate scenes between them being together because lube was not used -and according to them lube is always required for gay sex- however I think maybe that reader forgot that they're vampires. The portrait that JR Ward was able to portray... the scenes were smexy, smexy, smexy. There was jerking-off, topping, first time bottom deflowering, making out, escape sex instead of dealing with reality, a hot shower scene, oral delights, broken furniture-destroyed-room romping, simply put: PASSION
Payne was truly a hero when she came in and was able to heal Layla and the pregnancy as well as Qhuinn unknowingly at the same time, because I do not think he would have been able to cope based on Phury's reprimands. Layla totally redeemed herself, where previously I could not stand her, when she actually considered Qhuinn's feelings during the miscarriage scenes. "If any harm shall befall him, I will come after you, and find you where you sleep. I do not care where you lay your head or who with, my vengeance shall rain upon you until you drown."
The way Haver's treated her as her world was seemingly crumbling; I just wish that Qhuinn would have permanently taught him a lesson, what a sanctimonious SOB. When Qhuinn asked to touch Layla's stomach and then spoke to the baby, yep, there were sobbing tears because I saw that he recognized that he was capable to love.
The induction ceremony when Qhuinn's life became full circle, and when he accepted his true self and overcame his past were beautiful. Qhuinn looked at each of the hoods again. How ironic, he thought. Nearly two years ago, an Honor Guard of black robes had been sent to him to make sure he knew his family didn't want him. And now, here these males were, come to draw him into a different kind of fold-- that was every bit as strong as that of blood.
To Blay: "You've always had me.. and my heart. My soul. Everything. I wish it hasn't taken this long for me to man up. That family of mine..nearly killed me. And not just thanks to that Honor Guard of theirs."
One thing that bugged me; where all the other shellans except Jane and the Queen, Beth? Xhex is there at the bar, but not supporting John Matthew. They were such a kick ass characters in their own right and I think deserved a mention, even if it was just following Qhuinn's ceremony or at the proposal. I also could have done without Assail/Sola and Trez/Selena-- I was confused about the back stories going on, but maybe that's for the future. I kept thinking "Hurry up and get back to my boys..."
I also think that the Xcor/Layla relationship and sharing the baby with the Daddies Qhuay is going to be interesting-- you think your current partner doesn't like your past involvements? I can only imagine with mortal enemies. And what is with trying to frame Assail for shooting Wrath?? Stupid Xcor, ugh! I did miss the boys kicking Lesser ass though.
My thoughts on the future:
Queen Beth decides that she wants children and even though they don't outright discuss it, Wrath seems opposed to the idea. Maybe he is thinking of Wellsie?
Xcor gets another insider who tells him the way to the throne is not by killing Wrath, but rather by awaiting his first born. Because Beth is halfbreed, that means their young will be as well, thus according to Wrath’s own father the young cannot lead. In addition to the law that allowed Qhuinn to become a Brother, was this law modified as well?