Sunday, July 25, 2010

REVIEW: Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward



ISBN 9780451225856
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 7
Genre: Paranormal Romance
(c) May 2009, New American Library

Rating: 5 stars

Available at the Book Depository.

"Chock full of danger and excitement, and at the heart, a sweet romance between Rehvenge and Ehlena"

Rehvenge, Bella's brother and owner of ZeroSum club that the Brothers frequented, is half-symphath, his heritage a secret for fear of deportation to the symphath colony up north. Suffice it to say, symphaths and vampires don't get along, and any vampire who has knowledge of a rogue symphath has the duty to report such to the king. However, someone does know the truth about him and Rehv is asked to assassinate the king, Wrath.

In the midst of this upheaval in his life, his former professional relationship with Ehlena, a nurse at Havers' clinic, turned personal, but he couldn't risk Ehlena finding out the truth about him for then, she would be in danger...

I was charmed by Rehv's and Ehlena's developing relationship. It was sweet and romantic, and reminded me of the uncertainties and hopes that I went through when embarking on a new relationship. I couldn't get enough of their scenes together and I want more (This sentence is going to be a recurring theme in this review. Don't say you weren't forewarned.)

We have seen evidence of J.R. Ward's willingness to tackle issues that other authors wouldn't or to take on unsavory (how we perceive them usually, anyway) characters and give them a valid motivation and dress them up as a hero. It's no different here.

Rehv is a pimp and a drug lord, and every month, he whored himself out as part of a blackmail, and really, how could such a man, er, vampire, be seen as a hero? Yet, he is. He's a vamp who was forced to go into those avenues in order to raise blackmail money (although we're never told what Xhex ever did to the princess of the symphaths, only that Xhex fucked up), to ensure his and Xhex's survival, and within the boundaries of his life and his business, he did his best. His saving grace was that he cared for his girls and there was a regret in his soul at the things he's been forced to do. A feeling of dirtiness that clouded his soul, that no matter how much he washed, he never felt clean. This, I feel, is very different from an out-and-out villain who pimps and whores and is a drug dealer with no conscience at all. To borrow a phrase from the book, at his core, Rehv is a good vamp, and he's just trying to survive with what life has dealt him. Much like you and me, if you think about it, only that we're dealt with different, maybe kinder, hands.

As for Ehlena, I like how she accepted Rehv as he is. When he's embarrassed because of his impotence (due to the medication that he takes), she was matter-of-fact about it and just said if he could get it up, then fine. If not, then it's still fine. That kind of total acceptance is just what Rehv needs, and no wonder that he should fall in love with her. She's one of my favorite BDB heroines, and I truly wish there was more about her and Rehv in this book, but I guess I should be contented. After all, there's more interaction between her and Rehv, making the romance and eventual "I love you's" more believable than in the previous book, Lover Enshrined.

Aside from the expected showdown with the symphath colony, given Rehv's background, we see a lot of Beth and Wrath too, how it's not easy being king when the lessers are killing off your people day by day. It makes you angry and frustrated and like Wrath, will make you itch to do something. You couldn't just sit inside the Brotherhood mansion and do nothing. This, of course, led to problems between Wrath and Beth, especially after she found out that he'd been lying to her. I like this realistic look of a couple's life after the HEA in their own book (Dark Lover) and it made Beth and Wrath more real to me. (I found Dark Lover to be so-so, and like any other vamp romance out there.)

There are also the requisite John Matthew updates, leading up to his story in the next book. I feel for JM. That boy has really been dealt several bad hands since his birth. Being the adopted son of a Brother didn't turn his luck. Still...I think...the level of emotion I feel for him as a reader still couldn't match up to what I felt for Zsadist or Vishous or Rehvenge when I was reading their books, but we'll know for sure when I get my hands on Lover Mine.

15 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

Nice review.
I was rather disappointed in this one, I wanted more Rhev

Carole said...

@Blodeuedd Same here. :) To compensate, I just keep rereading and replaying in my mind Rehv's and Ehlena's scenes together.

Paranormal Haven said...

I really like the way Ehlena was towards Rehv too. She is one of my favorite shellans. I also liked the side story with Wrath and Beth. Very hot. Hope you like JM's book.


Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

Carole said...

@Stephanie G Like you, I like the inside look into Wrath and Beth, too. I'll have to see about JM. My blogmate Silver, who's just finished LM, was satisfied at his story, though some parts left her...um, in confusion. LOL Guess we'll know what she means when she writes the review.

dor said...

All I can say is Wow. I'm glad I read this and I am for sure...getting the book. I am putting in on my list right now. Thanks.

Carol L. said...

I really enjoyed your review. I haven't read this one yet but I'll definitely be reading it very soon.

Carol L
Lucky4750@aol.com

Paromantasy said...

Great review. I really enjoyed this book. It gave you a whole new view of Rehv. He may be bad ass, but he cares and protects the people he loves, including his woman, his sister, and his friends.
Ehlena was also a great character. Compassionate, caring, but willing to meet danger in the eye. I love this series and think that it's a must read!

jeanette8042 said...

Loved reading your review! I loved Rehv's book and the series in general!

Silver @ TRR said...

Thanks for the lovely comments. Can you tell from my review how much I love Rehv? He appeared briefly in Lover Mine. Not enough, I say! LOL I heard V's going to have a minor part in his twin's book, and I hope someday, somehow, Rehv would too (in some other book, I mean)! Rehv and Ehlena, that is, kinda how Beth and Wrath had their little story here too.

Lover of Romance said...

Great Review! I haven't got my hands on this one yet, but hopefully verra verra soon!!! I also am a big fan of John Matthews, I think this character touches every readers heart!

Heather in FL said...

You said so much of what I felt about this book. After reading Lover Enshrined, which I didn't *hate* like many did, I didn't have high hopes for this one. Rehv wasn't a sympathetic character, and he wasn't even a brother for Pete's sake!

But I'm so glad I read it. I think Rehv is one of my favorites of those who have had books so far. I loved how Ms. Ward showed his vulnerability to Ehlena, and Ehlena accepted it. I thought my heart would break for her when he was forced to end it the way he did.

Overall, it was a great installment to the series.

Silver @ TRR said...

Thank you, Heather. I'm so glad the series took a turn for the better in this book as well. Like you, I didn't expect to like Rehv, in fact, I even wondered why he *had* a book back when I was still reading Zsadist's book, but Lover Avenged is now one of the top three books of the series that I loved!

Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading) said...

Nice review! I liked Ehlena a lot too. This wasn't my favorite book in the series, but it was still great.

Erotic Horizon said...

Lovely round-up . I really enjoyed that..

I have not read this book, but from the few scenes that I got of Rehv in other books - I loved him.. I love the baddies(always) and I agree with you - they can be the heroes that no body expects...

I am not sure when I will get back to this series - I still have not recovered from Lover enshrined...

Looking forward to your next visit to the mansion...

E.H>

Silver @ TRR said...

Thanks, E.H> I'll look forward to when you go back to the series and to your review on them. :)

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