Monday, May 11, 2009
Lover Avenged by JR Ward
I don't even know where to begin with this review. Like so many of Ward's other books, this book consumed my thoughts. Even when I wasn't reading it, I was pondering the interactions between the characters, hoping for the best, and dreading the worst that I felt was coming.
I don't know how the WARDen does it, but my love for this series and her writing grows even more all-consuming with each book. I do know that she understands the power of evoking emotions in the reader. I can't read any of her books without getting my emotions involved in the process.
I loved Rhev before I read this book. I love him even more after reading this book. Rhev is a great example of why antiheroes are so compelling to me. He is a mass of contradictions and not predictable in the least. He is so sexy, so powerful, yet so vulnerable at the same time. He's no boy scout, but his does have honor and duty. He sacrificed himself again and again for those that he loved, even allowing some of them to think the worst of him. Inside he bore his loneliness like a burden he felt he deserved. I was glad that he had two families, his mother and sister, and Xhex, Trez, and i.am.
I didn't like the drugs, the violence, and the prostitution, but I could understand why Rhev and Xhex inhabited that dark world. They felt that this was the only place they belonged. Fortunately Rhev also has the tether of his family, although he has to live a lie for many, many years. Xhex doesn't even have that. The sympaths were as fascinating I thought they would be. Even though this book delved into that world, I'd be perfectly happy to read more about them. They manage to exude a menace that jumps off the page as I read about them.
Like most outstanding books, the scenes were vivid like a movie in my mind. I love the realism mixed with magic and the supernatural. I am in awe of the WARDen's imagination. She has taken an hip/upscale/urban motif, mixed with the culture and world of an ancient race, and created several love and relationship stories and put them all together into a delicious confection that is this book. But it's the three-dimensional characters that really seduce me. Even the casual characters manage to grab my notice and my interest.
I am so glad that Rhev found Ehlena. It was great seeing such a tough, isolated guy fall so hard and fast and give his heart away. The interactions between Rhev and Ehlena was sweet and romantic, but erotic at the same time. He really knows how to treat a woman with tenderness, to cherish her as though she is the only woman in the world. At times, I was worried that Ehlena didn't deserve his love and devotion, but she proved true and worthy of it. Ehlena is one tough, steadfast woman. Just what Rhev needs. And Rhev is what she needs as well. My heart can rest in peace that Rhev does have the love and acceptance he always secretly yearned for. I am happy that he has a deep, loving relationship with Bella, and is like a brother to the Brotherhood.
It was also nice to see more of Wrath and Beth interacting. As they were the first couple, some of my memories have faded. So reading about their relationship and how it has remained deep and true was really great. What the WARDen has done with Wrath was so well-executed and felt right although some might feel that it was a dark way to go.
John Matthew is at a really dark point in this book, and I vacillated between despair and rage at what he is doing to himself. But I am so excited to read his book when it comes out. I wish it was coming out sooner. I can't wait to see him come into his own and claim his shellan in Xhex.
Xhex is my girl. I love the woman. She is all over it. I enjoyed getting perspective on her emotions and her thoughts. Her loyalty to Rhev is unquestionable, and I know there is more to learn about that, as well as her past. I felt her sorrow as she tried to push JM away although she clearly loves and is as drawn to him as he is to her. The next book in the series is going to be awesome as we see what transpires with Xhex and JM and follow along from how things ended in this book.
The whole Lash situation promises to grow even more enthralling. At first I dismissed him as an immature bully. But he is proving to be a formidable antagonist. The way things will go down with him is going to be something else. He's evil as all get out, but he's a fascinating character. I think he will definitely prove to be the supervillain in this series. And boy did he go there at the end of this book. Let's just say it's going to be 'on' in the next book.
It was nice seeing the other brothers, but like the greedy BDB fan that I am, I wanted more of them. Short stories about other brothers and their shellans, please??? I miss Marissa and Cormia. Haven't seen much of them lately. More Butch, V, and Jane too. How about Rhage and Mary updates.
Ah, I never get enough of these books... Let this be a warning to you. Do not read these books if you want a life outside of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.