I've completely (well, almost completely*) done with the romance part of these books. I just don't fall in love with her main characters anymore. I don't get a tingly feeling when they hook up for the first time. I don't feel any kind of urgency that they have a HEA. i just don't care about the romance in these books anymore. (*I still care about Qhuinn and Blay and I am very much looking forward to their book. After which I am probably done with this series.)
I think Ward did as good a job as she could have done with Tohr's story, given how attached people were to him and Wellsie. But it just fell flat for me. There was absolutely nothing about Autumn that made her interesting as a heroine. No reason for me to give a shit about her, no reason for me to understand why Tohr fell for her (frankly, no reason for me to believe that he did
fall in love with her), no reason for me to root for them other than to end Tohr's misery. It's not that I disliked Autumn. I just didn't care. And that's been a problem with most of Ward's heroines, with the exception of Xhex, and maybe a few others. (I liked Mary and Bella, and Ehlena was kinda cool.) So I am not reading these books for the romance anymore, which is kind of disappointing since I will never again experience from these books what I experienced originally when I read Dark Lover 4.5 years ago, and read feverishly day and night until I finished Lover Unbound with a huge sigh about a week later. That urgency, that feeling of being completely immersed in a fantastic story with a steaming hot romance, and having to fan myself periodically, is gone.
So why still read? 50% because there are still characters in the series that I find interesting, and 50% peer pressure. That's the truth. It actually might be more like 30%/70%.
So I think because I don't feel anywhere near as wrapped up in these books as I used to is probably why I don't really care about this Layla drama that everyone else is freaking out about. I know that Qhuinn and Blay will be together and it will be fine. (Until it's not, but I don't plan on reading that far so it's okay.)
I liked the John and Xhex stuff. I would have liked the Xcor/Layla stuff if I gave a shit about Layla. She doesn't annoy me the way she seems to annoy everyone else, but like the rest of Ward's heroines I find her completely drab and devoid of personality. How can Ward create these steaming hot male characters and just continue to pair them with cardboard cutouts? Why is she sooooo bad at writing compelling female characters?
Ironically, I guess this is what makes me have faith that the next book (Qhuay!!) will actually be good. No vapid females to ruin it. (I know, I know. Layla's still around, but at least I won't be asked to believe that one of our charismatic, super hot guys is actually in love with her.)
So this book. Much better than Lover Unleashed. Still not as good as Lover Mine. Thank GOD Qhuay is next.