Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: Lover Avenged by JR Ward

Published: April 2009 by New American Library (hardcover)

Number of Pages: 527

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Stand Alone/Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 7
1: Dark Lover
2: Lover Eternal
3: Lover Awakened
4: Lover Revealed
5: Lover Unbound
6: Lover Enshrined

Why This Book: It's book crack. Once you start you can't stop.

From the Author Site: Caldwell, NY, has long been the battleground for the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It’s also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and notorious nightclub that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he’s approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King, and leader of the Brotherhood. Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood, even though his sister is married to a member. Because he’s a sympath, his identity is a deadly secret- the revelation of which will result in his banishment to a colony for sociopaths. And as plots within and outside the Brotherhood take their toll against Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in a darkening world- Elhena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him- and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.

Read excerpt here.

Hero: Rehvenge, son of Rempoon, aka the Reverend, is the drug lord of Caldwell, a part of the vampire aristocracy, the gylmera, and a sympath (a sub-species of vampire who feed on and manipulates emotions). Being a sympath makes him unwelcome among the vampires and something he has to keep hidden. If that secret got out he would deported to the sympath colony where he would most likely to be killed for being a half-breed. That's just one secret he has to maintain in order to protect those close to him. In order to keep that most important secret, he pays his blackmailer in both flesh and jewels monthly. Having done this for decades has left him feeling unclean and unworthy. Although he has friends who know and understand as well as sister who loves him, he is lonely. A man simply existing and not living.

Heroine: Ehlena is a nurse at the vampire hospital and is caring for her ailing schizophrenic father. Her family was once a part of the vampire elite but due to some double-crosses and back-stabbing as well as her father's failing health, they have fallen into hard times and a meager existence. Ehlena gives and gives and cares for other while saving nothing for herself until her life is nothing but duty. She's almost too compassionate to be a real person, too sickeningly gentle, kind and giving. But her character is saved by the presence of a temper and prejudice that in keeping with her society.

Review: JR Ward delivers yet another action packed books. But unlike her last two books, this one has a romance that can be understood and appreciated. No suddenly dead heroines turning into ghosts or a completely lackluster romance between two uninteresting characters. The romance could stand on its own, which is an improvement from the last couple of books. Its poignant and a delight to read. But it does not take away from the hard core action we have come to expect from Ms Ward.

The war against the lessers is still raging on and the causalities are mounting. All the deaths and loss of property, not to mention lives (though most of the new gylmera council members don't seem to mind that last part) have undermined Wrath's power base with the elite. And the gylmera see a chance for wresting power away from Wrath by assassinating him. This internal power struggle only adds fuel to the fire.

The Brotherhood is too short on manpower to make any headway in the war which puts Wrath back in the field. Wrath's vision is failing, the lessers have become stronger under Lash's leadership and a drug war is in the making in Caldwell. The relationship between John Matthew and Xhex is morphing into something physically steamy while John's relationship with Tohr is on the decline. Everything seems to be ramping up for some great climax, the final showdown between the lessers and the Brotherhood, the Omega and the Scribe Virgin can almost be glimpsed on the horizon.

What I liked best: George and and Fritz. Where can I find some vacuum-loving doggens?

What I least liked: The use of the word "outtie" by the brothers and Rehv. These are tough men, fighters who instill fear and dread in their enemies. Having them use the word"outtie" diminishes them, makes the sounds like some misbehaving teenagers and is completely out of character and unbelievable.

Also the use of so many acronyms/abbreviations. Sure they are useful but not everyone hangs out with people who constantly use acronyms/abbreviations as a part of every day life. Having to figure what in the heck MMA stands for makes for breaks in the flow of the story being told.

Keeper?: Yes. Although it's a hardcover and throws off all my neat little rows, I'm keeping it because it's autographed.

Recommendation: Read the series in order. There is just too much of the back-story details that are needed to fully enjoy the book.

Grade: B
Series Grade to Date: B


Kati said...

I jumped off the BDB bandwagon a while ago, and yet, I still manage to get my hands on a copy of every book as they come out. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one.

I found that I liked it more than I have the last few. But I think part of it is that I stopped reading it as a romance series, and started looking at it as UF. Once I did that, I was able to appreciate the series much more.

lustyreader said...

i can also be found with Kati, off the BDB bandwagon. But i always glom BDB reviews just to see what im missing out on because, yeah, the premise of the series IS interesting, but i just can't commit to reading all the crahk.

the crahk is too wack for me.

orannia said...

The crahk is too wack for me.


*mutters to self* Do not get on soap box, do not get on soap box. I reached the 'hitting the wall' moment while reading LA...the product placement and the slang drove me nuts. Saying all of that, I could really relate to Ehlana - that overwhelming feeling of responsibility towards family members. I borrowed it from the library was in hardback and I'm not mucking up the book heights for no one. (If Nalini ever goes into hardback I will scream!)

And what does MMA stand for please? I switched off my abbreviation sensor after reading LA and it won't come back online :)

Aymless said...

Kati: I agree. The romance is a second fiddle to the rest of the story.

LR: LOL is crahk for sure.

Orannia: MMA - Mixed Martial Arts (I think)

Cherry said...

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Cherry said...

I reviewed LA a while back and gave it a 3 out of 5 and I was stretching that. I was feeling generous because it was a signed copy. And free as well. So I gave it a three. But I'm with Kati and lustyreader, off the BDB bandwagon.


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