Friday, May 14, 2010

REVIEW: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

ISBN 9780451219367
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3
Genre: Paranormal Romance
(c) September 2006, Signet Eclipse, Penguin Putnam
J.R. Ward's website 

Rating: 5 stars

Buy Link (paper): Book Depository

"The best and most romantic BDB book!"

Zsadist was stolen as a baby and became a blood slave for a woman who sexually abused him. He cut himself off from everyone and tolerated only his twin brother, Phury. However, when he met Bella, she got under his skin and when she was taken by the lessers, he couldn't rest until he rescued her or avenged her death.

Zsadist could rival Mary (Lover Eternal) in terms of insecurity. For him though, it was because he'd been abused and he thought of himself as dirty and contaminated and not worthy of a woman such as Bella. He is the most tormented, fucked-up hero that I've ever read thus far and of the three (Wrath, Rhage and Zsadist), I love Zsadist the best. He certainly got under my skin. I think it's the contrast between his being the strong, powerful warrior outwardly and the vulnerable, hurt, abused man that he was on the inside. Yet, his love for Bella made him reach out to her, and it also made him want to be better and worthy of her (according to his concept of "better" and "worthy").

And Bella, I just gotta love her for seeing the man beneath Zsadist's outward appearance, for being steadfast in her wanting of him despite his pushing her away almost every time and simply, for bearing with him, for working with him through all his issues, knowing that the road ahead of them wasn't easy.

There is no doubt this is one of the most romantic stories I've read where the roles are reversed--the hero needing rescue (psychologically, emotionally) and the heroine being his saving grace. I love the epilogue and I'm itching to read the novella of Zsadist, Bella and Nalla in the Inside Guide. I absolutely love the title: Father Mine. There's something so powerful about Zsadist's growth from a sick, tormented man to one who is loved and is capable of loving, not only with the woman who is his mate but also with his child. I guess it's because it's telling us a message of hope, that no matter how low you've fallen, there is always a chance you'll rise up from the ashes.

I just have to mention Phury. His actions left me with nothing to say. I was both astounded and shocked and humbled. Like Zsadist, I feel Phury deserved his own HEA. I can't wait until I get to his book!

And we have more on John Matthew. I love his scenes with Tohr and Wellsie and the way he treasures the family life he's come to have with them. They're moving without being mushy. I also like the way we see how he fares at school and how he relates to his peers. He's the underdog and it's nice to see the brothers standing up for him. However, I would love to see the day when John Matthew stands up for himself.

Oh, and the tragedy in this book. Sad, sad, sad.

Another thing I have to mention is that I love the continuity in this series, that there's an overall story arc at play here. The series is not just a number of books about these warriors finding the love of their loves, but you get the sense that time is really moving onward for the characters. We see this in the little things: Wrath, having ascended as king, is bringing back the old ways, firstly in the celebration of the winter solstice festival. John's change of circumstances, from living in that squalid apartment to living with Tohr and going to school. Even the villains, the power play among them, contributed to this.

Great book. Lots of romantic and emotion-charged moments, and I love them. The series is certainly looking up!

Buy Link (paper): Book Depository

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