By: J. R. Ward

Series: The Black Dagger Brotherhood

Book Number: 21

Star Rating:

Sensuality Rating:



Spoiler Disclaimer


As the new deity of the vampire race, Lassiter, the fallen angel, has done things to influence the outcome of major events and nudge the hand of fate in the direction of his beloved creatures, perhaps none more so than the sacrifice he made to ensure a happy ending for Balthazar and Erica. Still reeling from what he did, he feels tainted and used, no longer fit for the female who captured his heart, but he now believes will never be his. However, when Rahvyn reappears after a confrontation with Devina has left Lassiter wounded, he realizes that his own potential happy ending may be inextricably linked via a magical spell with the great love Devina is seeking. The best way to keep Devina from joining forces with one of the Brotherhood's greatest enemies may be for Lassiter to keep loving and pursuing Rahvyn, if only he can get past his feelings of shame and unworthiness. But if she finds out what he did, she might not want to be with him anymore.

Rahvyn appeared seemingly from out of nowhere, possessing powers the like of which vampire-kind has never seen before. After one look at Lassiter, she knew she was falling in love and had found a sense of belonging she hasn't felt anywhere else, but then he left her with no real explanation as to why. When she hears that he's been injured, she returns, wanting to heal him, and is thrilled when he seems to want to spend time with her again. Being with him is everything she's dreamed of and more, but when she learns the real reason Lassiter resumed their relationship, she fears that he may only be with her to save his beloved vampires and not because he truly loves her. Not to mention, the son of the Omega has returned and restarted the Lessing Society, drawing the vampires back into a war that could have deadly and far-reaching consequences, which could change everything for the Black Dagger Brotherhood for a long time to come.


Lassiter is the twenty-first novel in J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, which gives a long-awaited happy ending to our favorite fallen angel. As the book opens, Lassiter is sill reeling from the sacrifice he made to protect Balthazar and Erica's HEA in the previous book. He's very depressed and still living in the cave in the mountains, not really wanting to be around the Brothers right now. He's still very much in love with Rahvyn but feeling like he's too tainted for her. After believing that Lassiter had abandoned her, Rahvyn doesn't really feel like she belongs anywhere and has been existing on a different plane where she's protecting The Book, which shows her a prophecy that the vampire race and their king are in grave danger. After Lassiter is badly injured in a confrontation with Devina, Rahvyn comes to him, wanting to heal him. Lassiter can no longer resist the pull toward her, and after realizing that finding his own happy ending may be directly tied to Devina not getting hers, he tries to set aside his feelings of unworthiness to pursue Rahvyn after all. The two grow closer and fall even more deeply in love, but feeling ashamed and not wanting to further burden Rahvyn after everything she's been through herself, Lassiter holds back from telling her about what happened to him, a decision that may ruin their future together. He'll also have to face a reckoning with the Creator. Not to mention, the Lessening Society has been resurrected by Lash, who is holding up his father's legacy by restarting the war with the vampires, which could lead to a tragedy of epic proportions that may affect the Brotherhood for decades to come.

Lassiter is a character I've adored since he was first introduced eons ago, when he rescued a suicidal Tohrment and brought him back to the Brotherhood's mansion. After that, he simply decided to stay on, mooching off the Brothers, hogging their TV, and generally needling them until they shared a love/hate relationship with him. During those times, he always cracked me up, bringing much-need levity to the stories. Then when the Scribe Virgin abdicated her position as the race's deity, she elevated Lassiter to that post. Ever since his promotion, he'd settled down and become a bit more serious. He loves the vampires so much, he can't bear to see them suffer, so he's often nudged fate in their favor, including a major sacrifice he made at the end of the previous book to get Devina to leave Balthazar and Erica alone. His interference has brought Eddie and Adrian, our favorite angels from the Fallen Angels series, to the Brotherhood's door, in search of Lassiter to take him home to the Creator. However, Lassiter fell in love at first sight with Rahvyn and doesn't want to leave her, although he no longer feels worthy of her either. But once he realizes that his happiness may cause Devina to lose her "true love," he goes after what he wants anyway, trying to put aside the memories of what he did. When he can't bring himself to tell Rahvyn what happened, though, it could spell doom for their relationship, and if he can't sway the Creator to his side, he may not be able to stay anyway.

Lassiter would be impossible not to love. He may have started out as a larger-than-life, comedic character, but once he got his "promotion," we got to see a whole other side of him. As it happens, I think he loves the vampires far more than the Scribe Virgin ever did, even though she's their creator, as evidenced by him being willing to do absolutely anything, including sacrificing his own happiness, to ensure their happy endings. Because he's so sweet, kind, and compassionate, Lassiter ended up being one of the few beta heroes, J. R. Ward has written. Not to mention, I couldn't have been more shocked to learn in the previous book that he was still a virgin, which gives his character an air of innocence despite all he's been through. He's just an all-around lovable character who will definitely rank highly among my favorite heroes of the series.

I've loved Rahvyn since she was introduced two books ago in her cousin, Sahvage's story, Lover Unveiled. She's a vampire, but one unlike any we've seen before. Since childhood, she's exhibited strange and impressive powers that no one can really explain. After the deaths of her parents, she was abducted by an aristocrat who wanted to use her powers for his own gain. He brutally raped and abused her, but then, in a moment of rage, she turned her powers on him, savagely killing him. Ever since then, she's been a little lost. She traveled forward in time, where she was finally reunited with Sahvage. Although she made a few friends and was trying to acclimate to this new timeline, she still didn't entirely feel like she belonged until she set eyes on Lassiter and her whole world tilted in a good way. But no sooner had they found each other, than he said he had to leave her, so she took The Book and went to another plane where she's been for a while. Now freed from its evil mistress, The Book has kept Rahvyn company and has been showing her things that are to come for the vampires, which compels her to go back to Earth just in time to heal Lassiter after he's attacked by Devina. Now reunited, she's thrilled to finally be able to spend time with him and as she does, she only falls deeper in love. Their relationship moves fast, but when she learns that Lassiter hasn't been entirely honest with her about his reasons for rekindling it, she may be devastated, believing he doesn't truly love her after all.

Rahvyn is so sweet and kind, it would be impossible not to love her, but at the same time, she's proven that she can also be deadly dangerous if given provocation to be. One thing that kind of bothered me initially is that her phenomenal powers that go beyond anything a vampire in this world has ever been able to do aren't really explained. However, after giving it some thought, I realized that this series has always been all about balance in the universe, so it dawned on me that in order to achieve that balance, the vampires needed someone on their side who is equally as powerful as Devina and Rahvyn is simply the answer to that need. So ultimately I was totally cool with it and know that she'll also rank highly among my favorite heroines.

As always, there are several secondary POVs, telling the story from different angles. This time Wrath is the focus Brotherhood character. He must deal with some devastating news about his dog, George, and I must say, it was sweet to see a strong, warrior king like him reduced to a puddle over his furry friend. And it's not just George who has his devotion. We also get to see just how much he cares for their loyal, old butler, Fritz, and the lengths to which he's willing to go to keep him safe. We also get a few insights from Beth as well. Two other characters whose perspectives we get are Nate and his best friend, Shuli. Being resurrected by Rahvyn in the last book has left Nate a little emotionally unstable, leading him to do something drastic, and although Shuli comes along just as it happens and calls him on it, Nate still isn't listening. However, after they're both involved in a lesser attack, it rocks them to their core, bringing them to independently make fateful decisions reagarding their futures. I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of these two yet and look forward to them perhaps getting their own stories at some point. Then there are the fallen angels, Eddie and Adrian, although we only get to see things from Eddie's POV. These two come to take Lassiter home, but end up staying for reasons of their own, which I'm totally down with. I love these two guys.

Of course, our big bads, Devina and Lash, get their own scenes, too. Devina brought Lash back, hoping he'd become her true love, but she's disappointed when he only seems to be interested in restarting the Lessening Society and going back to war with the vampires. Although Devina proves herself useful to his cause, he still doesn't really seem interested in her until the end. At first this confused me, because I thought that Lassiter and Rahvyn getting their HEA is what was keeping Lash and Devina apart since that was part of the spell Devina cast. Then again, I realized that even though the spell failed, Lash still had free will to do as he pleased and probably decided that he liked Devina after all. These two are going to be a formidable force moving forward, stronger together, I would guess, than even the Omega was. I grudgingly admit that the series needs its villains to continue, but I still loathe them both and can't wait until they're either sent back to the hell they came from, or better yet, taken out completely, so that our beloved Brotherhood, their mates, and allies can live in peace.

Because of my deep love for Lassiter, I went into reading this book with high expectations. Truthfully Lassiter and Rahvyn's characterizations didn't move much beyond what we already knew about them from all the previous books of the series they've appeared in. Likewise, no real additional insights were given for them falling in love beyond the magical love-at-first-sight they experienced in the last book. While this was admittedly a tad disappointing, I still couldn't deny that they do share a definite emotional connection that's present in nearly every scene they share. The moments when they relate their past traumas were poignant, and there's a sweetness and innocence to their romance that lends itself well to tugging at the heartstrings, while their love scenes are both tender and steamy. Even though there was a part of me that wanted a little more for these two, I still loved them together and believed in their HEA. I even got teary over the beauty of a special event and how the Brothers set aside their irritation with Lassiter to fully support him on this momentous occasion. Apparently J. R. Ward also mentioned in her annual Q & A that she plans to better explain the connection Lassiter and Rahvyn have, as well as Rahvyn's extrordinary powers, in a future book, which will be welcome. While I loathe the big bads, I can't deny that the reintroduction of the lessers added an air of suspense that I don't think has been quite this high since the Omega was destroyed.

However, what really compelled me to give Lassiter keeper status was the brilliant plot twist of an ending. I can't say anything more about it without giving away major spoilers, but suffice it to say that I can't recall the last time a book took me on this big of an emotional roller-coaster ride and left me this surprised. One minute, I was utterly devastated, shedding tears of sadness, and thinking, "What?! How could The Warden do this?" The next, I was shedding tears of joy, and thinking, "OMG! Did that really just happen?" And I can honestly say that I didn't really see any of it coming at all, even though looking back afterward, parts of it were certainly foreshadowed. I had always thought that Lassiter's book would be the end for the series, and while it technically isn't, it is an ending of a sort. Moving forward, things definitely won't be quite the same, but nonetheless, I'm eagerly looking forward to what's yet to come.


J. R. Ward 


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