i've never rubbed my face this many times while reading a book. ever. like ever. and ive read some stuff that's made me want to end it all lately. also this was one of the first reviews where i actually considered using gifs, but i'll spare you.short: this should have been called "There's very little meat in these gym mats." or "There's very little Blay in this paranormal romance which by all rights should be 50% Blay." long: okay here goes. i did not like this book, at all. i'll tell you the bits i did like, or at least what didn't make me want to throw my iPad out the window, and then i will go on at length about what i didn't like. EVERYTHING BELOW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS! EVERYTHING! ALL OF IT! SPOILERS!really this is partially a review i should have written after Lover Unleashed, but i was so pissed i just left a short review and went about my business. i need to get this stuff off my chest now. the rating on this stands though.what i liked:Xcor and Layla: their angst was perfect. their longing was perfect. the set up for their conflict in future books was perfect. i might actually read the next book just to skim to their parts.the Brothers: they all popped up. it was nice to have all the boys back together in one way or another. the little bit of sex that Blay and Qhuinn actually had: the lead up to the sex was horrible. the aftermath? horrible. the actual sex? totally fine. it didn't blow my hair back, but i was afraid it was going to be really really really bad and it wasn't really bad. just lubeless.the reappearance of Qhuinn's brother: that actually added some plot to a book that was mostly set-ups for future books.Qhuinn's initiation: HE'S A BROTHER NOW! YAY!Blay coming out to his parents: it was sweet.the lovey dovey bit at the end: I actually wont spoil this. the very very very end is super cute and only slightly ruined by a horrible reference to Don't Stop Believing.what i didn't like: the plots: this book is not about Qhuinn and Blay. i repeat. this book is not about Qhuinn and Blay. it's about Qhuinn, Qhuinn and Layla, Qhuinn and his brother, Qhuinn and the brotherhood and then Qhuinn and Blay.if you are expecting anything close to what the couples in books 1-5 and 7 experienced, you'll be disappointed. otherwise you might just be psyched they end up together. i don't know.after all that, she's setting up a love story between Assail/Rehv part two and this new mercenary human woman named Sol Morte. FUCKING MORTE! this couple is basically Rehv and more feminine Xhex. i didn't like this because ive read it before. Assail is exactly like Rehv. GIMME MURHDER!!! GIVE HIM TO ME NOW! then she's setting up Layla and Xcor and Trez and im guessing, Selena.then there are the lessers and Xcor and the BoB. their scenes were just there and not really that interesting. people wanting Wrath dead, drug sales, sneaking around, tailing cars. oh and Qhuinn flies a plane, etc. the actual conflict: so with each book before either the Brother or his Shellan have an actual conflict, the best one being Zsadist as he was severely traumatized and literally needed to learn to love and accept physical contact from someone he was madly in love with. here's what happens in this book: Saxton and Blay break up. Blay doesn't tell Qhuinn until the last 10 pages. that's the problem. Qhuinn, who we have all known was at least bi, is also fighting the fact that he's not straight up until the very end, and Blay is afraid he'll want to keep their relationship in the closet. i think he would have come to terms with that way early on if Blay had just told him the truth. it was ridiculous. Neither of them really gets hurt, there's no kidnapping, no external threat. nothing. just some shit that could have been solved with one conversation.the 12 POVs: i counted. there are 12 POVs.QhuinnA black guy who would be a lesser if he didn't die.LaylaXcorAssailWrathMr.C - forelesserTrezSolaZypheriAmSaxtonfor what i think was meant to be a paranormal romance this was too many POVs. TOO DAMN MANY!the lack of actual romance: the first two times Qhuinn and Blay have sex it's after traumatic events dealing with people in Qhuinn's life. Layla is having a miscarriage for the first half of the book. Qhuinn's sad and MUST FUCK TO LIVE. Blay is pissed about it, but goes along with it anyway. Twice. all the while Qhuinn thinks he's still dating Saxton. the sex scenes are fine, but not romantic. im all for rough sex, but i expect a little romancing in books like this, but no. no romance. also no lube. they never refer to each other as "my this" or "my that" its "the fighter" and "the guy". Qhuinn is the fighter, Blay is the guy. I wanted them to give each other sweet vampire endearments like lellan or something. they also have undetailed anal sex. Qhuinn's dick is pierced and they don't use condoms or lube. that would kill Blay's ass. and she actually used words like "disengaged" and "retracted" when talking about Qhuinn pulling out of Blay. that is so unsexysexuality: the readers know Blay is gay. the readers know that Qhuinn is at least bisexual. this should not be something to be worked out at this point. Qhuinn also seems extra misogynistic in this book. and then they actually make some super stupid heteronormative joke at the end. gay couples are not trying to be straight couples. no one is the woman. when they get together they aren't confused about who is "in control". straight people, stop doing this. now. stop it. stop. just stop it.there's also all of this weird slut-shaming stuff. the word slut is used alot. some males can have sex with tons of people, and some can't. it makes no sense. if a woman sleeps with anyone she's not mated to? slut. Qhuinn is also hung up on his virginity that he supposedly gives to Blay when he bottoms for him. this made no sense to me what-so-ever. Qhuinn has fucked tons of people, tons of dudes. at this point he's already fucked Blay. he isn't a virgin just because he hasn't bottomed. nope nopeity nope nope nope. FURTHERMORE from all the talk of m/m vampire love being looked down upon in vampland, i know lesbian or bisexual female vampires don't even exist. forget other sexuality or genders in-between.also there's weird shit where the women knock on their doors all whisper soft and them men knock like MEN. ugh.Ward's obsession with class: i mean do i really need to explain this? it's just annoying. Women: okay, i get that this is a dude-centric series, but i have always hated how Ward did the women in her books. She totally clipped Payne's wings. she's such a punk compared to V, it's not even funny. every other Shellan mates and then just disappears, unless she's Jane, the most hated woman in the whole series. here's what really chapped my ass, every woman who is not a Shellan or Blay's mom is some horrible annoying slut, especially in Xcor, Assail and Trez's POVs. i understand that they are hot, but every single woman they interacted with has fake breasts, is drug addict, or a whore who instantly throws themselves at these dude's feet with the worst pick up lines ever. i love big tits. i love cleavage. i love sex workers. love 'em, but they are lower beings in these books. im tired of that. especially the vampire whore that is feeding all of these guys. if she takes money she's a horrible whorey whore, but if she's a Chosen feeding half of the brotherhood, then she's a female of worth. Eff that Ess. also the male vampires can smell pregnancies and the females can't. eff that ess.Layla's miscarriage/pregnancy: her young was about everything, but Layla and her young. it was about Qhuinn and Havers and then toward the end, Beth. yes, Beth. i was little annoyed with Beth at this point. the women in this house never hang out, but Beth attaches her ass to Layla in the hopes that her pregnancy hormones will jump start Beth's needing, 3 years early. WHAAAAT! the lack of Bella: there is so much hubb-bubb around Layla's pregnancy and no one, NO ONE goes to Bella to ask her advice. The only woman (besides Autumn who tried to kill Xhex in the womb) in the house who has carried a baby to term and they don't talk to her, at all. WTF.race/cultural appropriation/Trez's subplot: i'll be honest, i should have stopped reading this series the moment Ward introduced Trez and iAm. they are Moors aka black guys, Shadows that are a different breed of vampire. the have darker skin and shaved heads? yeah let's go with shaved heads. upon Ward's insistence that the vampires have no race, i have no idea why Rhage is blond with blue eyes and Trez and iAm are described as black vampires of a different breed. it also doesn't help that they "work for" Rehv, they look out for Xhex even though she's mated, and they have special powers that other vampires don't have. Magical negroes much. in this book we find out a few more things about them.1) they are from a tribe somewhere else. a tribe. i'm not sure if its in the Old Country, but i didn't get that. they are a peace loving, humble people with a matriarchal society, but deadly and cannibalistic. Trez and iAm are flesh eaters. if this isnt some National Geographic BS i don't know what is. 2) Rehv helped them get away from the tribe and that's why they work for him. they are actually in his debt.3)Trez is mated aka promised to the princess of the tribe, who he has never met and doesn't what to actually marry. here's where i start getting pissed. Wrath was promised to Marissa, sort of. V was supposed to be primale and Rehv was supposed to marry his half sister. V and Rehv at least tried to suck it up and follow through on those promises and Wrath just straight up bonded with someone else. Rehv gets a pass cause he had to marry his crazy sister, but V and Wrath never talked about these women in negative terms. Trez's perspective wife is a BITCH up and down a blue streak and there is no fucking way he is going back to live under her thumb. he avoids the priest who comes looking to bring him back. he's ready to run. a dead-beat nigga if ive ever read one. he fucks tons of humans(white women only) to make his body seem unworthy and then actually says he wishes he could get a human STD so he didn't have to marry the princess. what!!!! I am not here for that shit. assuming this woman is also a Moor/Shadow, im not trying to hear about how she's not shit and we haven't even met her yet. he's leaving her for white chosen anyway, so. yeah. i'm hoping that iAm falls in love with princess so the Brotherhood can have an alliance with with the Shadows. at this point i actually don't want to read Trez's book. i'm just not up for how Ward is gonna spin this. i mean she has two black guys running a Goth club and an Italian restaurant. HUUUH!Sol (Marisol) is Brazilian/Mexicana?, but she really does come off exactly like Xhex. there is one black human in the beginning of the book who is promptly killed. yeah. seriously, New York has never been this white.finally, i do not like that half of the vampires talk with Blackents. aka speak AAVE or ebonics. if you refuse to put actual black people in your stories, don't borrow our music or dress or slang and in some cases shit you think is our slang, but really isnt. i thought V was black in the first book. i really did. he's almost 400 years old and from Europe. why the fuck does he talk like that? why does everyone but some of the shellans and the chosen talk like that? why? if you want to leave brown and black people out, fine, but leave our components out of it too. honestly Butch is the only person in the Brotherhood who should have any slang in his speech and it would be Boston-southie type slang. ugh x10.sorry this was so long, but damn. this book was almost 600 pages. 90% of which was not about Qhuinn and Blay as a couple. i think Ward has really shifted their series over to Urban Fantasy. i don't know if i'll read the next book. i might actually go back and read Dark Lover. i miss the original couples.