This book is, without a doubt, my FAVORITE of the series so far. I've always loved, loved, loved, V - can't explain why, but I've been drawn to him from the start. Something so "human" about him. And yet, as we learn in this book, it's been a harsh life for him.V's story, to me, was every bit as cruel and tough as Z's story. In totally different and yet scarily parallel ways, V and Z each grew up "trapped" by their circumstances. Z's life was taken away when he was sold into slavery. V's life was taken away by his mother's poor choice in mates and by "fate"; in some ways, V never had a choice or a chance. I hated the snippets of his past, and yet I gobbled them down. My assumption is that his dad, the Bloodletter, is perhaps Vlad the Impaler? The original Dracula? The cruelty, the war, the treatment of his men and those under his "care" seem to point that way.The whole Mommy-Dearest thing... Made me totally doubt the Scribe Virgin and her so-called deity. Is the point that she's as messed up as everyone else? What kind of a deity is that? I suppose you could point to the mythology of the gods in the various cultures and say how capricious and screwed up they all were. But somehow, that's not comforting. Why put your faith and your very life and fate into the hands of someone so... flawed? Why would you worship or honor such a deity? It's easy to see how evil, such as the Omega, is so flawed, and even to explain it away - to relish it. But the good? That's supposed to be a bit more in control... a bit more good... a bit more wise. You want those you worship and honor to be worthy of it. And while the Scribe Virgin became somewhat more "human" to us in this book, it irked me that the author made her so fallible. Again, another female in her world who can't seem to hold it together. And I thought we made such progress in the last book... And yet, this was such a side plot, I lived with it. It certainly explained a whole lot of things, and it didn't feel as if it were conveniently contrived just to explain V. It seemed as if it had been carefully foreshadowed for awhile now.V's reaction to Mommy was wholly real and warranted. That V could ever love a female seems almost a miracle. Yes, his "visions" in his youth of being comforted... they were likely his mom, doing what she was allowed. But still. No wonder the guy stayed cut off and cold. Although the idea that perhaps he was a Dom and/or sexually deviant because of it... well, that's pushing it. But I'll let that drop, because V wasn't really a Dom in the true sense of that lifestyle; his way of having sex was about pain and about acting out and fighting back against his own painful past and mixed up ideas of sex and love. And the scene with Jane in his penthouse made that crystal clear - to Jane, to V, and to me. I loved it!The last scene in the book... took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. How fitting. How wonderful. How right.Did I mention that I love Jane? Because I do. My heart broke for her in the opening of the book. I almost thought she was a vampire, because from the descriptions of her family, they could easily have been from the glymera - the aristocratic vampire set. Jane is so right for V on so many levels. And she was strong from the start; she didn't find her backbone, she had it all along. Jane was able to go toe-to-toe with V in the way that only Butch had been able to so far, and yet she's not a female version of Butch. Jane is herself. She's capable of submitting, but she's also capable of pushing and fighting back and controlling V. She has the right balance of compassion and coldness. She's fought through not belonging, wanting family, aching for love, too. Her life wasn't as harsh as V's, but it wasn't a picnic. And of all the females, she could see V's scars and tattoos and distance herself enough to show compassion without pity or fear.I have to say that I never pictured how it all ended up, but I was glad that there wasn't an automatic "save" or "do-over", too. And I admit, I wondered along with John Matthews why? But in its strange way, I suppose it was the only "logical" way to keep Jane around. The only thing not explained is how V feeds.Again, the author brought so much more to this story than the "I'm not worthy of love" that plagued so many of the other couples to this point. She focused more on providing us with bigger glimpses into the life and rules and faith that binds the vampires together. We see more of the transitions and the pretrans in action. We get a taste of the training to be warriors, and the thrill and agony of being young and unsure.We also, again, see a bit more than usual of the female side of the world. The Chosen and the Scribe Virgin's world is made more clear and more real to us. We wonder how this Primale thing is ever going to work out, whether it's V or whomever. It's so fascinating. And obviously going to be explored more in the next book.