By: J. R. Ward

Series: Lair of the Wolven

Book Number: 3

Star Rating:

Sensuality Rating:



Spoiler Disclaimer


Given his terminal cancer diagnosis, time is running out for Daniel Joseph. All he and his one true love, the beautiful wolven, Lydia Susi, want is to spend whatever time he has left together in peace. But fate has other plans in store when Daniel's doctor, Gus St. Claire, is kidnapped by a dangerous new enemy. Everyone thinks that the motive is to get the formula for Vita-12b, the promising new cancer drug that Gus now owns thanks to C. P. Phalen bequeathing it to him before she, too, dies of the disease. Instead his captor manages to extract information from Gus on the whereabouts of the last remaining underground lab, the one that has been keeping Daniel alive, with the intent of destroying it. Daniel only wants to keep Lydia safe and help her transition to a new normal once he's gone, so they turn to his old boss, Blade, for assistance. Since Blade has developed a thing for Lydia himself, the symphath is less than eager to help at first, but when he realizes who the real villain is, Blade is all in, knowing that they'll need him in order to survive. But when the enemy brings the fight right to their door, guns blazing, just as Daniel appears to be on his deathbed, it will take all their collective will to defeat him. But if they can stay alive long enough, Blade might prove to have an unexpected solution to everyone's problems if he can tap into the better angels of his nature to selflessly give it to them.


Mine is the third and final book of J. R. Ward's Lair of the Wolven series, which is a spin-off of her Black Dagger Brotherhood world. This one picks up exactly where the previous book, Forever, left off. Daniel and Lydia have just gotten word that Daniel's doctor, Gus, has gone missing. They rush to Gus's house, but aside from blood at the scene, they find no useful evidence to indicate who might have taken him and where. Since Daniel is still wracked with cancer, he struggles with not being able to do more for his trusted physician and friend. Partly to distract herself from Daniel's deteriorating condition, Lydia approaches Xhex, Blade, and Sheriff Eastwind in turn, trying to get their help in locating Gus, but none of them will cooperate at first. Meanwhile C. P. Phalen, who also has terminal cancer, believes that Gus may have been taken because she had just signed over ownership of their promising cancer treatment, Vita-12b, to him. But in reality, their enemy is a far more dangerous one who will stop at nothing to gain access to the lab under C. P.'s mansion where Gus worked. As the clock ticks down for Daniel and C. P., all the players must join together in order to save their futures and defeat their new enemy before he kills them all.

Having declined to become patient one in Gus and C. P.'s clinical trials for Vita-12b, Daniel is in his final stages of life. As the story opens, he has a little more energy now that the effects of chemo are wearing off, but it doesn't last long before he starts having more critical moments as he's essentially waiting for death to claim him. He still wants to protect Lydia but finds himself unable to most of the time, which eats at him, and he's equally perturbed that he can't really do anything for Gus. If he's going to die, he longs to go out fighting, not lying in a hospital bed. For her part, Lydia feels helpless to do anything for Daniel, so she turns her efforts on finding Gus, but no one who might know something is willing to help her at first. She has visions that show her Blade is part of her future, and when the symphath comes through for her in a surprising way, she finds herself having complicated feelings toward him. She appreciates what he's done, but still doesn't entirely trust him, nor does she have any designs whatsoever on a romantic future with him even when Daniel's inevitable death arrives. Daniel and Lydia do their best to enjoy what time they have left together, while fighting to defeat the enemy that is coming for them and facing Lydia's eventual destiny as a wolven. I really like Daniel and Lydia together and how they both give so much of themselves to comfort each other during such a difficult time. Daniel may still long to protect Lydia, but she has grown in strength to be able to protect, not only herself, but also him and others when everything hits the fan. While I don't want to give away spoilers on just how it happens, readers needn't worry about Ms. Ward killing off a main character like she dared to do in one of her previous books. There is a happy ending for our intrepid couple.

As with the other books in the series, there are a number of other supporting characters with their own POV scenes. C. P. Phalen is trying to face her own terminal cancer diagnosis, along with the prospect of unexpectedly becoming a mother. Her carefully ordered world is falling down around her, but when she's needed most, she really steps up. Her biggest regret is possibly not ever getting the chance to tell Gus that she's in love with him. The story opens with Gus being held prisoner and tortured for information by their new enemy. He turns out to be pretty strong for a rather geeky doctor/researcher, putting in his own good showing. Xhex is the character who really ties the story to the BDB world. Her emotional grid is still deteriorating and she finally becomes aware of the kills she's been making but doesn't remember. It leads her and John Matthew to temporarily leave the mansion for everyone's safety, but healing is ultimately tied to her brother, Blade. Blade initially still finds himself rather obsessed with Lydia and waiting for Daniel to die so that he can help her pick up the pieces. However, the actions he took to ahvenge Xhex don't go unnoticed, and he proves that he's capable of suppressing his symphath side again when he discovers who's really out to get them all. Again, I don't want to give away spoilers, but Blade did some very surprising things in this book that left me intrigued by him and hoping that we see more of him at some point.

I liked the first two Lair of the Wolven books, but I didn't love them like I have with many of J. R. Ward's other works. They were rather slow-paced, leaving a lot of open questions, so I wasn't entirely sold on the series. I'm glad I stuck with it, though, because Mine really stamped paid to the whole story arc. It did start out a tad slow, and the darkness of having not one, but two characters, suffering from terminal cancer was a little emotionally heavy. But as all those questions I'd had from the first two volumes started to get answered, I became more and more invested. By the end, everything came full-circle and all the mysterious happenings finally made sense. There's also some good suspense and action sequences to make things more exciting this time around, as well as some character development, particularly for Lydia and C. P. However, the most development undoubtedly occurred for Blade. His actions basically drove the narrative from the very beginning of the series even though we didn't know of his involvement until the previous book, and his choices in this book really impressed me, showing how a person can change if they really want to. I enjoyed seeing him and Xhex make peace. And I was thrilled with the HEAs pretty much all the way around. I hope that we haven't seen the last of these characters, particularly Daniel, Lydia and Blade, and that Ms. Ward might find a way to incorporate them into future offerings in this world.


J. R. Ward


Medical Drama
Physically Imperfect Heroes