The story resumes pretty much where Lover Unleashed ends, with Xhex and John Matthew adjusting to being mated and her living at the mansion and Tohr still struggling to overcome his grief about Wellsie and his unborn child's death. And, the Band of Bastards, led by Xcor, continue to wreak havoc in Caldwell and with the Brotherhood.While there is a lot going on in this book, it is clearly focused on Tohr's transformation out of the devastion caused by his grief. He's a shell of his former self but is at least functioning. The secondary stories are impacted by his situation and Ward does a brilliant job of weaving this theme throughout the tales. It's subtle but, by the end of the book, it's all pretty clear. No'One's personal story intersects seamlessly with Tohr's as they seek solace in each other while keeping their emotions at bay. At times, their romance is uneasy and harsh but it's so realistic, giving us the opportunity to accept someone other than Wellsie for Tohr.It was also wonderful to have so many of the members of the Brotherhood have a place in this story without it being gratuitous. They were true to character and their roles fitted nicely into the primary stories.Maybe because it's been awhile since I read Lover Unleashed but there was something different about the writing style in this book. Most of the inner dialogue was written in each character's unique voice, which slowed me down at times but helped me keep focused, especially since so many were given voice. I loved that about this book. And, this installment seemed much more character driven than those in the past...they were moving the story as opposed to them being part of a broader storyline or plot.The ongoing saga of Qhuinn, Blay, Layla and Saxton is also a part of this story, moving along but not at an accelerated pace. You'll need to examine this for yourself but suffice it to say that these relationships become even more complicated.There's still excitement to be found but it's much more understated and nuanced. The Band of Bastards are making this a much more intriguing conflict than anything undertaken by the Lessers (Lash excluded!). This was an outstanding installment to the series and I'm glad I took my time to savor it over a few days.