3.5-4.5 stars (not sure yet)Still absorbing this one... not sure how to review it just yet.Quick thoughts in the meantime:1. SO GLAD that V and Butch didn't go there... hard enough for where they did have to go. If they'd have crossed the line, I'd have had to be done with this series. These 2 guys need to be BFFs with that "extra" something connection. Just not a full-on physical one. Butch is awesome; he did exactly what V needed. And Butch is aware that V and Jane need one another.2. Grappling with V's issues... hard to get my head around his anger & pain. I feel as if it should be obvious, but somehow, it isn't. Altho I respect that he's never really dealt with it, especially not with Jane. I was disappointed that all we got was an announcement of an official mating ceremony with Jane and not the actual thing. (Even in the next book, no mention of the ceremony finishing - at least not 50% through.) Kinda ticks me off, actually. The announcement isn't good enough. I was hoping for a double ceremony with Manny and Payne.3. Manny - kinda had to figure that he was part vampire. While the author cleverly tried to lead up to it, it was obvious where she was going, especially with Manny's strong reactions with Payne. And of course, V's previous "Brother" foreknowledge. Although having Manny related to Butch, which makes them both somehow related to Wrath... that was kinda genius and freaky at the same time. I just figured that Manny's recognizing Butch had to do with his being a former cop; once again, the author fooled me. Perhaps I shouldn't think I'm as hard to fool as I think anymore? Wow. That was something. But Butch could use a dose of family, and so could Manny. And the doctor thing with the father was sort-of a tip-off, but it didn't completely hit me until the reveal.Although one more person leaving the "real world" to become part of the BDB world... seems almost a shame. I would have liked to see them allow Manny to straddle that world a bit longer. I think it might have worked, but then again, it might just be me. I realize he couldn't have remained head of surgery and all that, but still... Xhex stays somewhat in the human world, or she did - Rehv, too.4. Payne and Manny are good together. No qualms there. Just questions about whether or not she's fighting with the Brotherhood. Again, nothing in book #10 so far, and I'm 50% in. I wondered how this was going to go. (And I expected the trouble to be with Payne & Manny, not John & Xhex.)I didn't think I liked Payne before I really got to know her. But I really do. She's a wonderful combination of Xhex's warrior and Layla's Chosen. She's innocent and yet completely her own gal. She knows what she wants and she's out to get it. Her "gift" from her mahmen is amazing; I can't wait to see it more in action. And I hope that she doesn't get lost in the shuffle of the forgotten shellans, like Marissa. As much as Butch features in things when V's around, Marissa is relegated to the 1 paragraph thing, much like Beth can be. Mary gets a bit more time, mostly because she's the gang's therapist now; which is good. Although it would be better to get a shot of the occasional "hot" and something more from each of the couples again. Even Bella and Nalla have faded into the background.And isn't it time for SOME OTHER FEMALE to go through a Needing? Time for another happy event/young in the BDB household? I was hoping it would be Xhex and John, but not in this book. Even Cormia and Phury, for Scribe Virgin's sake! (I'm still not convinced about these two; I almost with that P would take his Primale duties seriously and start breeding with the Chosen, even on earth. But again, that's probably just me.)5. No'One - shocker and yet not at all. The previous book set up quite a lot with respect to her history, esp. with Darius and Tohr. Not sure how I feel about her, though. The reveal about her & Xhex wasn't a shocker to me; but it's still a bit shocking... if you know what I mean. I hadn't fully equated her with the missing aristocratic daughter, and yet I knew she was Xhex's mother somehow. 6. Band of Bastards (BoB) - again, unsure... I was freaking when Payne was taken. Couldn't handle one more messy scene with abuse of a female; I really hoped we weren't going there, 'cuz I just wasn't going to handle it well. And yet, the resolution with Payne was... priceless and so right. Glad she set Xcor straight; I wondered how he could be the Bloodletter's son... and yet sometimes a son isn't necessarily blood-related, but the guy who raises you. If the Bloodletter claimed Xcor as his son, that says something. Not really liking these guys... Throe, I like, I think. Still trying to figure out his story. Guess I'm not keen on the whole "take-over-the-throne" thing... although the lessers, even though they seem to be multiplying, seem to be such an impotent (pun intended) set of villains, I guess the Brotherhood needs someone to really be concerned about. Rehv has both the sympaths and the glymera (or at least the Council) under control - or at least the Council somewhat; and he's on Wrath's side.So I suppose these are the new villains? Sad, since in so many ways, they have similar interests to the BDB. But I get the whole "bastards" thing and the not being accepted. I keep wondering if Qhuinn will end up with them somehow; it seems to fit, too.7. Torhment, John, Lassiter... Well, if I didn't know the next book was about Tohr, I might pack it in, too. I'm kinda tired of Tohr being there but not. I see him coming out of his shell more in this book, but still. It's more that he's not caring about himself and really doing what he needs to fight and be strong; I get not getting over Wellsie and all. I'm not asking him to go beyond that. But Tohr's got a long way to go to be back to fighting strength and mind.Lassiter is a pain in the butt. I know he's supposed to be, but you'd think the guy would just tell someone what he's really up to and be done.8. Qhuinn, Blay, Saxton - I'm probably in the minority, but I think that Blay and Saxton are good together; I get that Blay thinks he's still in love with Qhuinn, but IMO, that's because he & Qhuinn never hooked up. And I'm not so sure that it's going to be all love-forever if/when they do. Saxton seems to be a good guy, and it's sad that he's getting the short-end-of-the-stick so to speak. I'm almost mad at him for sticking around, if he thinks that Qhuinn and Blay s/b together or that Blay will never love anyone but Qhuinn. Sometimes you have to walk away before you get what you need and want. I think Qhuinn should get with Layla and be happy - and be happy for Blay and Saxton and really step out of the way. But that's me.9. The new detective, DelVecchio... well, wasn't that something? Not really sure where the author is headed with this, but somewhere not good. I almost wondered if he wasn't the one doing the murders. Wondering if this guy is just a side note like many other human characters and sub-plots in this series, or if this guy is really leading us somewhere. Jose being back is kinda "meh"... he's not that interesting to me. He was in book 1, but not so much anymore.Anyway... venturing into the next book - and the last until the 11th comes out sometime in 2013. I really hate getting caught up to a series. It almost killed me with Outlander!