July 28, 2012

Book #80 - Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood #7)

Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood #7), J. R. Ward
527 pages
urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Started 7/18/12
Finished 7/20/12

I admit that after the last two Black Dagger Brotherhood books, I was starting to lose confidence in The Warden's abilities. How many times have we seen series start off strong, but then the story arcs and characters start to go off-course? Especially when there are 8+ books in the series. Thankfully, Lover Avenged has pulled me out of my slump and renewed my confidence in the series.

This is the first book that doesn't follow a member of the Brotherhood. Rhevenge is a friend of the Brotherhood, however, and not just because his sister is married to one of them. He owns the club that the Brothers like to frequent, and he's helped them out of a few sticky situations in the past. However, he's half symphath, which means he's got a lot of hiding to do. So, he doesn't see it as necessarily a good thing when he finds himself falling in love with the respected and well-liked Ehlena. After all, how can you give your heart to someone when you can't even tell her half the truths about yourself?

Rhev has been mentioned in nearly all the books, and to be honest, I never really gave him too much thought. He's a drug lord, a club owner, a pimp - he can't be a "good guy," right? This book proved that there is so much more to Rhev than what you see on the surface. There are actually good reasons behind what he does. But, centuries of self-loathing has taken it's toll on him, and I feel so very bad for him most of the way through. He's actually very brave and very honorable, despite his occupations. I love the slow burn between he and Ehlena; I REALLY loved the fact that their romance started with long, late night phone conversations. It's so unusual for these guys, but such a nice change of pace.

My favorite part of this book is that, for the first time since Dark Lover (BDB #1), we get more Wrath POV. Oh, how I've missed that guy. He's having trouble adjusting to the fact that, as King, he shouldn't be out fighting. He shows some serious vulnerabilities in his relationship with Beth, and we finally get to see more from both of them. It's been way too long. The other side stories - John Matthew, Xhex, Tohr, Lash - were really engrossing too. J. R. Ward is so smart. She creates a slow build-up over two, three, even four books for these stories, so that the reader just can't help but run right out and get the next in the series right away. I admit - I fell for it. Watch for the review for Lover Mine (BDB #8) soon. And, believe it or not, I have Lover Unleashed (BDB #9) and Lover Reborn (BDB #10) waiting beside my bed as I type this. Speaking of which, I think I'm going to go start them now... 

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