We're here! John Matthew and Xhex's book! I think for most BDB fans this is absolutely one of the favorites, favorite book and absolutely favorite character. But for me, you know, he can only be third best after Z and Rehv.
The previous book ended with Lash capturing Xhex and it starts with JM being obsessed with finding her though in his heart he doesn't believe she is still alive and even if she is, it's obvious to him that they can't / won't be a mated couple. Xhex IS alive, captured in a special invisible "holding cell" by Lash. Lash, the fucked up guy that he is naturally falls in love with her (with tormenting her and torturing her as well), reminds us a little bit of David (Mr O) from Bella and Z's book only 10 times worse for Xhex than it was with Bella.
When Xhex is finally out of Lash's grasp she is determined to find him and kill him, as JM is. She - for all he did to her, He - because a bonded male can't stand aside the torturer of his female but also for all the shit that he put him through in the previous books. They form a "bond" that consists of basically that - taking down Lash and then they walk away. That's all Xhex can offer JM and he sort of gets it. That's all he can handle from her, there is too much that keeps them apart, mostly too much of personal things they don't think they could share or the other person can understand. Their love story is heart breaking. In so many points throughout the book you feel like crying tears of sorrow or tears of anguish at how it just doesn't seem to work out no matter that the both of them are obviously and SO in love with each other. I loved how it concluded, loved how little by little it started to work out even if it didn't at that moment. They both needed the time for their feelings and resolve to mature enough for them to put themselves on the line. I loved seeing a more vulnerable side to Xhex when it comes to JM and also how he is willing to do everything for her, even let her go if that is what she wishes.
The only thing I was missing in this book is Rehv. I wish we'd have something more from him considering how important she is to him though he does tell JM one sentence that continues on a loop in his brain and have a real significant to who she is and where she is at after all she has been through which is A LOT (btw, Z has his "pearl" as well, loved that he said it and loved that JM took it to heart). We get to hear a little bit of what she has been through, mostly what she deals with now after all that happened but I wish we could have had more of her past and how and where she become the female she is now. She had a past lover named Mhurder which is mentioned but not enough that we get the whole picture, we get the summary mostly. Mhurder used to be a brother so I kinda hope we'll have his story in the next books. Knowing the next one's up until the King and recently Ward said that the 13th one will be of the Shadows so I think that he's the "one missing". I would really love to hear his side of the story on Xhex but also what happened after they departed.
There are several side plots - we have Lash's POV which is naturally disgusting and annoying, I really don't like Ward's villains (up until this book anyway..). There is something absolute about their evilness that makes them unbelievable or not interesting to hear/read. Also the way the Omega is behaving in this book, especially towards Lash is, well, strange. He waited for so long to find Lash and then? :/
Beside that we have a little bit of Thor and how he is starting to get back to himself and how things are starting to get better between him and JM. There is also a hint of someone from his past (prepare yourself for his book, not the next one but the one after it!)
Naturally since this is JM's book we get Quinn and Blay's POV which is mostly their love conflict. For Blay it's obvious, but for Quinn being with Blay is everything he could ask for mixed up with everything he doesn't want for himself. Their love story is heart breaking. Quinn hurts Blay so much, yet he is the one that has to deal on his own with his own demons concerning himself and his love for Blay that he can't possibly fulfill for too many reasons. I can't wait to re-read/listen to their book (the 11th one).
We also get a nice and quite important side story of Darius and Thor (when he just came into the Brotherhood). I loved getting more about D. I remember I really liked the little I've read about him in the first book and also the things that other characters remember of him. It was also interesting seeing younger Thor and his relationship with Darius. It's sort of closing a circle now that Thor is taking care of the "younger Darius"/JM as opposed to Darius taking care of Thor when he was younger.
Wrath keeps visiting Payne on the other side and we get a bit more of her besides her sparing with the king. She is an interesting and quite tortured character even if her cell doesn't sound THAT horrible. There are too sides to her, a very nice and vulnerable side we see when she speaks to other chosen and the crazy fighter she is with Wrath. From what the Scribe Virgin describe of her (little that she does) I wouldn't have expected to see the "nicer" side but it's there and that's what makes her interesting. I loved Xhex and the fighter that she is but also that she isn't only that and having another female like her in this book but also in the next one (and in the series in general) is a really good thing and also a change to the "milder" females the other brother have. Though I think that every female has her own personal "gift" for the brotherhood when she comes to live with the brothers.
Last one is a really strange and frankly not interesting story of two humans - Gregg and Holly checking out the house of Eliahu Rathboone which is said to be haunted by his ghost. After finishing the book you get why we got this side story but I wish it would have been more relevant to the series and not so "off". I didn't like Gregg, didn't like Holly, their love story was not only irrelevant but also boring. Lucky for us their chapters are quite short..
I loved this book. Except for Lash and the humans - the main story and the side stories were really interesting and moving - emotionally but also more literally they moved the plot together being wrapped around the story of Darius/JM and Xhex but also the strange connection it all has to Thor (that we didn't have a clue about before this one).
For me, these two books - Rehv and JM's is getting back on the saddle after V and Phury's book. mostly Phury's... I don't remember my impressions of Payne's book but I loved Thor and the boy's (Qlay ;)) books. Also I can't wait to get to The King! this one went so quickly I can actually see myself reading The King in two weeks or so (and not somewhere in June..)
One last thing! I promise! Jim, the narrator, is really getting better. I would love that he'd make a difference between M/F but except for that he is getting better on every aspect. Actually the previous one was a lot better too.
Additional Details: Audiobook, 21:55 Hours, 15-20 April 2014 / On GoodReads