Finally! Given that John Matthew was introduced way back in Lover Eternal, the second book in the series as a pre-transitional vampire and he has played a major part in every book since, this volume has been a long time in coming.
And well worth the wait.
It’s probably safe to say that out of all the characters, John’s is the most developed. Yes, other brothers have had page time before and since their own novels but none have gone through the changes that make John Matthew the warrior he is now. When we were first introduced, he was essentially a child and we have witnessed him grow up through adolescence into a young man and finally maturing and coming into his own.
Lover Mine picks up roughly four weeks after the end of Lover Avenged and deals with John Matthew and Xhex (which, by the way, is pronounced ‘Hex’ and not what you were thinging! Alright, so I was as well) and how they eventually discover that they, like the previous mated couples, belong with each other. But here’s the thing, and full marks to J.R. Ward for doing this, they already realise that they are. It’s already established in a previous book but Xhex, in a bid to protect John from herself has broken his heart whilst at the same time breaking her own.
What this book is about, is the conflict between past experiences and both John and Xhex have some truly miserable pasts and the future, which is yet to be written.
The first quarter of the book or so is agony to read. Not in terms of style of writing or anything like that but rather in terms of the situation that Xhex is in. In fact in shares similar characteristics to Bella in Lover Awakened. I was reading so fast because I just had to know and get to a safe place before I could breathe again. Which probably makes no sense.
Interspersed with John and Xhex’s storyline is a backstory of Darius and how he met Tohrment. Whilst it’s never been explicitly stated, this sheds more light on the whole Darius / John Matthew relationship but, with an interesting twist right at the end that dovetails it straight into the main plotline.
There is a lot more interaction with Payne, the Scribe Virgin’s daughter whom was aroused from he enforced slumber in Lover Enshrined. She’s actually a really interesting character and their is a neat twist that can not be seen coming.
And for a reason that made me go "Oh, I see!" there is a nice little ghost story that appears to have absolutely no bearing on the main story and quite nicely resolves itself but the key word there is ‘appears’.
This is a solid addition to the series and John and Xhex’s HEA is so sweet and just what I’ve come to expect from J.R. Ward.