Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lover Awakened - J.R. Ward

This should complete the requirements for the Love Bites challenge.

Lover Awakened
J.R. Ward
Signet Eclipse
Copyright: 2006

From the cover of the book:

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…

Lover Awakened is the third book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and I've heard it called the best of them. While I'm not entirely certain that that is my opinion as well, this was yet another book that I couldn't put down, and I found myself reading until one thirty in the morning yet again.

Zsadist's story picks up almost immediately where Lover Eternal left off, with Bella still missing and the search ongoing. This is the book where the lessers as villains really take off to new heights of creepiness. Mr. O is the most normal of the lessers yet, and yet at the same time the least normal.

At the same time Mr. O is more or less stalking Bella, some new things start being hinted about John, the young orphan introduced in the previous book, and Zsadist's background, hinted at in the previous two books is made clear. Yikes! I'm more familiar with the Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunters series so I'll say he reminds me of Zarek from there.

It's a romance novel, so the happy ending between Zsadist and Bella is guaranteed, but that doesn't mean that everyone gets off easily. Plenty of problems are set up by the end of the book for the next books.

That's something I really like about this series. The following books are all built on the situations in the current ones, and all of the characters have important parts to play. In that it reminds me more of the fantasy series I read, where the romances have tended to be more self-contained in each book.

As I've said with the previous books, this is a book that's worth the cost: the font is a normal small, and the text is close set, meaning that the reader gets what they're paying for - namely plenty of story. This is no four hour read. I think it's closer to eight to ten hours for me to finish one of these, and I really like that.

This series isn't for the faint of heart though. There's quite a bit of violence, but if you like the Dark Hunter or the Anita Blake series that shouldn't be a problem. I'd have to recommend this series for fans of either one: unique (so far as I've read, any way) vampires, and their enemies, love and loyalty, all wrapped together in a well written story that moves at a fast and exciting pace.
The books in the series:
Dark Lover
Lover Eternal
Lover Awakened
Lover Revealed
Lover Unbound
Lover Enshrined
Lover Avenged

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