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96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rhage is a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. He is a warrior and with the help of his fellow brothers he fights those that kill vampires living a life of violence and loneliness. Not only does he have his vampire life to deal with there is the added matter of the curse put on him by the Scribe Virgin. It forces him to live a life without being allowed to feel and love...that is until Mary comes into his life. Mary is sick. Her leukemia has come back to haunt her and her options are few and than she meets Rhage. This handsome man is more then she has ever allowed herself to imagine. He's handsome, strong, and he wants her? Will she live to see her own happy ending?

First off this is a page turner! Ms. Ward has created a dark but sensual and entertaining series. The romance between Rhage and his Mary is at turns sensual, romantic, and heartbreaking! Make sure you have Kleenex handy. Secondary characters are pivotal to the story and her secondary storyline revolving around the "lessers" continues. This is not your regular vampire read and the groundwork for Zsadist's story has been introduced cleverly. This is a unique and enthralling read!
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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 14, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first book, "Dark Lover", in the unique Black Dagger Brotherhood, was no big thrill for me. Sorry to all those instantly loytal fans out there (as I take a formal bow of respect), but I found that the first book fell flat in so many ways: underdeveloped characters, silly comic book style names that were just so at odds with such a strong new concept for a vampire series. There's a thrill that readers experience though, when they've picked up a book they had high expectations for, and you just KNOW after the first few pages that the author has come through for you in a big way. That rush of satisfaction was my intro to J. R. Ward's fabulous second book in the series and I'm still flying high.

Within the Black Dagger Brotherhood resides a set of warrior vampires dedicated to the protection of their endangered race. Rhage is such a warrior - Proud, aloof and fiercely loyal to his kind, he's fighting everyday to keep his inner cursed self from wreaking too much havoc on their lives. Punished for an unforgivable and negligent slight, the Scribe Virgin (The vamps goddess) has cursed him with an alter ego, one that is only to happy to break out when the going gets tough and tough calls for a little more force. With the Lessers becoming an even more frequent problem, Rhage is finding it difficult to keep his beast from taking over. Of course, shy and innocent Mary Luce may have something to do with that too. Mary knows about curses. She's survived a gravely personal one of her own. When that same curse comes back to bite her where it counts, she's not looking for commitments of any kind. She's going to need all her strength to focus on her coming battle. So maybe that's why she didn't see Rhage coming. And man, does he ever come on strong. It's the kind of instant, primal attraction that every vampire knows is his body's way of saying "mine". And Mary is his. He'll have to fight literally tooth and nail for her, but he'll get what he wants, even if it means sacrificing what he wants most.

I was torn whether or not to continue with this series. Wrath's story in "Dark Lover" was an okay debut, but Rhage's story blew me away. With this second installment, readers are blessed with stellar character development and the continuation of a very unique plot that keeps getting better and better. The story has flowed nicely from the first book into this one and I was very pleased to see more details about the world that Ward has created. The subplot involving Zsadist and Bella was excellent and has left me weeping for the next book (releases Sept. '06, entitled "Lover Awakened"). We still get lots of Butch's smart alec comments, though I fear he may continue to be a supporting character only (I want to know more about him and Marissa, not just the snippets we're getting in this book!). Rhage was a much more interesting hero, and I felt I really came to know him and what made him tick. His helplessness about his curse intermingles nicely with his solid determination to have as much a life as possible with Mary. Mary, thank goodness, is just as interesting a heroine. Her own battle with a recurring medical problem draws readers in and her zeal for life invokes honest emotions that many of us have felt. My only wish was for a better insight into the lessers' motives and machinations. But hey, all in good time I suppose. I just love the way this series is going now, and I feel the tide has turned with this installmnet. It can only get better. Ward, we're all eagerly anticipating Zsadist's story!!
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Each author brings their own vision of vampires to their books. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. JR Ward writes books that will suck you in from the first page and make you wish you would never make it to the last page.

The 2nd book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, JR Ward brings us Rhage. Rhage was cursed 109 years ago by the Scribe Virgin. He is part vampire, part man, part beast. We saw a bit of the beast in Dark Lover. In Lover Eternal, we learn more about who the beast is and why it's a part of Rhage. There are only two things that keep the beast at bay. Fighting and sex. Rhage needs one or the other when he meets Mary.

Mary knows that the cancer has returned. She knows that she'll fight it. What she doesn't expect is to be thrown into the world of paranormal. A world that she had no idea exsisted. When a young boy follows her home and befriends her, her neighbor recognizes him as different. Together they take the boy to the Brotherhood (though Mary doesn't realize *what* exactly the Brotherhood is). There she meets Rhage. Mary always knew that no man would feel an "animal" attraction toward her. Little did she know!

JR Ward takes us through her paranormal world where vampires are just trying to protect their race from extinction. Trying to avoid detection by humans and slayers alike, they will do anything to preserve their race. Mary and Rhage's story is the second in a series that you will be hooked on. Do not miss out on this series.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Right off the bat, I have to say that this is the best paranormal romance I've ever read, and maybe one of the best romances, hands down. I've got to give J.R. Ward credit where it's due, although I've been very critical of other authors in this genre. From an analytical standpoint, Lover Eternal is well written, well plotted and extremely well-edited (which is becoming very hard to find in this genre, particularly). It's a quality product from start to finish, although I would have liked to have seen what she'd have done with maybe 5-10 more pages at the end of the book.

Whether or not you're a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, whether you think their names are silly or not, you can't help but be drawn into this love story. Rhage (also known as Hollywood to his Brothers) is a vampire warrior who was given a nasty curse by the Scribe Virgin- any time he loses control over himself, he becomes the dragon tattooed on his back. Although the beast is useful in battle, Rhage controls it by having lots of empty, meaningless sex with humans which isn't too hard when you have a face that belongs on the big screen and a killer body. Mary Luce is a human woman who finds out that she's dying of leukemia in her early thirties. When circumstances put Mary in Rhage's path, he's immediately struck by her bravery, strength and beauty (which Mary of course doesn't see).

As attracted as Mary is to Rhage, she tries to push him away because she doesn't want him to see her sick and in pain... but he won't take no for an answer. Then again, Mary seems to threaten Rhage's control over his beast and when he tries to resort to his old methods to keep it in check, there are some serious fireworks. Now, if any other male character had behaved this way, I wouldn't have been able to continue with the book. It's a true testament to Ward's skill with her characters that this feels justified. It also feels very genuine, as does the majority of the book which is really saying something given that it's about *vampires*. The alpha male vampire is a character that's been done to death, but Rhage is definitely three dimensional, with a very convincing vulnerability to match his physical strength. Similarly, Mary isn't a common-or-garden storybook heroine, and she compensates for her fears with a core of steel and a level-head. I didn't have any trouble understanding or sympathizing with these two, and through the course of the book I shed tears for both of them.

The author's attention to detail and layers within this piece make it a very accomplished piece of work, as well as a truly beautiful story. She even manages to work in the roots for her third book throughout the second half of Lover Eternal in ways that only contribute to this story, instead of over-complicating it. This book is very different to Dark Lover in many ways, which is only right given the differences in the characters and plot. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I am absolutely sick to death of certain paranormal series where, if you've read one book, you've pretty much read them all. It's as if once the authors achieve any kind of success, they become a little lazy. Well.. this book puts them to shame.

This book is an absolute keeper as far as I'm concerned, and from now on, J.R. Ward is going to be the only author I have on auto-buy.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A lot of people has written some overview of the storyline so I'm not going to repeat it here.Overall, it was a great read with a very interesting and imaginative alternative reality. The Brotherhood characters totally sizzled and the main plot of plain-jane-gets-prince-charming (sex-god is probably a more apt word to apply to Rhage) is one I personally can never get enough of. There was a lot of action and violence but tempered by moments of tenderness, camaraderie and humorous one liners. All the ingredients were there to bring readers ultimate satisfaction. So, why did I find myself feeling not quite as satisfied and blown away as I should have?

It may have been the silly names (yes, a few readers have commented on the names and I totally agree). Also way the brotherhood characters sometimes talk I found a bit annoying. These males are supposed to be centuries old and yet sometimes they talk like modern hip-hop rappers (or as another reader have pointed out "frat boys"). You'd think that having spent more time living in the pre-20th century era, their speech and manners would be more old world than hip-hop.

My biggest complain however is Mary's character. I think it needed a lot of sprucing up to be more deserving of Rhage. I don't mean a physical sprucing up to make her physically beautiful but certainly something more substantial than just her voice to make Rhage fall in love with her almost at once. Don't get me wrong, I totally loved the idea of using the heroine's voice as the basis for the hero's initial attraction. However to turn that attraction into enduring love almost overnight would require a unique redeeming feature to convince readers that a magnificent warrior such as Rhage could fall in love with the plain jane heroine. So where's the defining strength of character or the engaging wit or the self-sacrificing compassion or at the very least beguiling innocence? Fair enough she's got "warrior's" eyes but all that wallowing in self pity for most part of the book belies any notion of a "warrior's" internal strength. I agree she's been through a lot with her mother's illness and also her own but strength of character is not defined by what life has dealt you but what you are doing with what life has dealt you. Wallowing in self pity and pushing away those who want to love you is a sign of defeat. She would have shown more spirit if she defied the gloom of impending death by not only embracing every opportunity of happiness that comes her way but also giving as much of herself to those who love her with the little time she has left. That'd be more akin to saying up-yours to death and shown a more admirable trait than the meek submission she exhibited. So, instead of empathising with her plight, I was more annoyed each time she shuts Rhage out and pushes him away.

Rhage on the other hand, I totally fell in love with. For beneath that overwhelming masculine beauty and sex-god exterior beats a lonely heart seeking a partner to love and cherish. All that raw power capable of brutal violence subdued by touching tenderness and achingly enduring love. Wow! I only wish he showed a little bit of struggle against the inevitable - especially when he knows he can be lethal when his emotions are in full throttle. I was a bit disappointed that such a warrior with all the makings of an alpha male could fall so easily and yet so deeply with so very little enticement. Not that I'd complain if I was the Mary Luce to his Rhage but unfortunately I'm a reader who wants a heroine that matches up to the hero.

Rhage also did not deserve the brutality he had to endure just because he fell in love with a human. There wasn't even any direct law that prohibits them from falling in love with a human. As to breaking the code of the brotherhood, what greater code of honour is there than love? Even the king (Wrath) and his second in command (Tohr) admit to this.

The last niggling thing about the book which I found a bit disturbing is the ritual of self mutilation. What's the deal with that? I mean, I can understand the Omega dishing out this kind of punishment since he's supposed to be the bad guy but the Scribe Virgin? For a creator with a lot of powers and mysticism, I expected her to be more compassionate and her "consequences" more sophisticated. Cursing Rhage with the beast, I find this poetic justice and I understand that every action always has consequences, and for each give there's a take. But deliberate blood letting for atonement of transgressions is way too brutally primitive for my liking and not at all in keeping with general conceptions goodness and light. I mean, are we supposed to like the Scribe Virgin because I don't. I like her no better than the Omega.

So, overall, it was a great read and had all the ingredients for perfect escapism material, but it didn't quite deliver the ultimate satisfaction for me (to my intense disappointment).
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2010
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
After I finished the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I told myself I wouldn't be reading any more of them. I was just kind of put off by the blatantly romancy quality of it and the troll-like nature of some of the brothers, not to mention the sexism. But then some people kept raving about Rhage and Zsadist and how the books just get better and better as you go on. So I swallowed my pride and got Lover Eternal on my kindle.

It is hard for me not to write a completely scathing review. There are a number of things about these books that I find incredibly offensive, both as a woman and a reader who appreciates originality and despises self-plagiarism (Lover Eternal is basically a copy of Dark Lover with a few different names plugged in). I'll get into both of those things in a second, but first, I will say this: despite everything, I do kind of find myself getting sucked into Ward's world when I read these books. There are certain passages that are beautifully written, and occasionally, almost always unexpectedly, a true depth of feeling emerges from one character or another that is raw and transcendent.

Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between, and grievously overshadowed by the rampant chauvinism of the male characters and the fact that the female characters find this male domination irresistible and sexy, thereby making it implicitly excusable. If you think I'm just another over-sensitive raging feminazi (not so!), just read over the sections where each book's pair of lovers has their first encounter. From the point of view of the female character, these first encounters basically go like this:

Oh my gosh! Who is this enormous, scary leather-clad man that has broken into my house/pinned me against the wall/locked me in his bedroom? I am so scared! Is he going to murder or rape me? Oh my goodness, he's so close to me! He's so big and scary and......hot! I hate to say it but this man is gorgeous! I suddenly feel very listless! I am going weak in the knees! I know I should be afraid for my life, but suddenly all I can think about is being with this dead sexy potential rapist forever! Then again, I guess it's not a rape if I consent!!!

Humph. I don't know what's worse: the fact that each scene is a thinly veiled rape fantasy, or that Ward never bothers actually having any of these characters get to know each other before they jump each other's bones the first time they meet. I take it back; the rape thing is definitely worse. But both are bad.

Moving on (though I could easily continue in this vein for much longer). The role of each partner in these couples is nauseating. The male always starts off as this fierce, brooding, violent, uber-masculine thug type. Then he meets the gentle female and falls in love and goes a bit soft, but not really, because he continues to be a warrior. The female, on the other hand, spends her days lounging around in the male's bedroom, waiting for him to return from fighting the bad guys, saving up her energy so she can sufficiently comfort him when he returns. I guess it is also her duty to have heart to hearts with him on occasion, thereby enabling him to open up about some Deep Dark Secrets from Long Ago That Have Haunted Him All His Life but Thanks to Her He Can Now Finally Put the Past behind Him and Be Happy.

The male's roll is in the relationship is that of the protector and pleasurer (primarily the latter). His main responsibility is to show the female a great time in bed. Apparently that's all a woman really needs to be fulfilled in a relationship.To be fair, he does occasionally also get to rescue the female from the bad guys. I do love a damsel in distress (vomit).

Anyway, even if the books weren't polluted by sexism, I would still be offended by the utter lack of character development and the fact that the first two books have the same exact plot. You have the Lessers (evil undead types who hunt vampires) who are slowly developing a plot as the book progresses to kidnap one of the brothers or his gf. You have the initial almost-rape turned deeply romantic encounter between the brother and his soon-to-be mate. The woman discovers her new lover is a vamp, freaks out for a minute or two, and then decides that the whole vampire thing is actually unbearably hot. They commit to each other and it's so sweet and perfect. Then, oh no! The lessers attack, usually kidnapping the female. The brother has to defend his beloved. He gets pretty banged up, but she devotedly sits by his bedside and bandages his wounds until he recovers. They live happily ever after.

I hate to admit that despite all the garbage I have been writing about, I did enjoy certain parts of the book. Still, as a matter of principle, I cannot give it more than 1.5 stars.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really love all the brothers in the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and Rhage is no exception. What's not to like? The man is simply beautiful.

I was glad to see from other reviews that I am not alone in my opinion of Mary. While it was refreshing and more realistic to have the female love interest described with a body that actually had flaws, I simply couldn't understand why Rhage would ever fall so quickly for her. Even with his faults, I still thought he deserved so much better (with a female of his own kind to share the blood exchange and have children since Mary couldn't do either), especially after all that he had been through. I found Mary to be pretty depressing and at times thought she was a bit arrogant and cocky when dealing with the other brothers. Did she honestly think she knew what was best for Rhage and knew him better than they did after a whole 2 days? Why would the brothers all "love and respect" her with that attitude? And the comments that she looked down at Rhage and/or the Beast in bed and saw he had a look of total "adoration" on his face. Why?? She bothered me so much that I almost found myself skipping over her sections just to see what was happening with Bella and Zsadist. Now Bella I liked immediately and can't wait to read her story with Zsadist. I also really liked Beth and Wrath in Dark Lover. Maybe it's because Beth and Bella are also vampires that it made more sense for Wrath and Zsadist to fall for them. There was just something about Mary that made me not like her. At all. Sad to say, but I really hoped that at the end Mary would move on (one way or another) and that Rhage, having finally found some inner peace and a way to co-exist with the Beast, would use the experience to find a more suitable soul mate.

As harsh as my feelings are about Mary, I will DEFINITELY continue to read this series. I love the Brotherhood and can't wait for the next stories. Kudos to J.R. Ward for creating a universe that completely sucked me in. Your writing is fantastic!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
Until last month I didn't read paranormal/vampire/shape shifting/alternate reality romance novels. The only reason I started was because, I wanted to read everything by Nalini Singh I could get my hands on, and just like that I was tumbled headfirst into a genre I had otherwise ignored. Amazon recommended J.R. Ward's "Dark Lover", because I had previously purchased Singh's "Slave to Sensation" (which by the way if you have not read, RUN, do not WALK to buy). So I brought it not expecting too much. I truly enjoyed "DarK Lover". I didn't love it, but out of five stars it definitely rated at least a four. Since I am the type that enjoys an author more for their writing style, then the actual plot, I ordered the following available books in the series.

Oh. My. God. Let me count the ways of how I loved "Lover Eternal". I loved this book, because if I had to handpick a hero or heroine for both THE hero and heroine I couldn't have done a better job. Rhage literally has a devil on his back. He is cursed for past acts, and while he has learned to live with his curse, he counts down to the days he can be free of it. This is a very important aspect to grasp. Mary Luce, is a survivor. She survived cancer with two near deaths, she survived losing her mother to disease, she survives being alone and lonely. Mary doesn't think she's attractive and she's waiting to die, but won't admit she is waiting to die. And since her cancer is back? Chances are? Mary is going to die.

Mary meets Rhage, when her friends require her help. She goes to the Brotherhood house, and runs into a Rhage, who has just done a round the night before with his demon dragon, that is on his back. He can't quite see, so he runs into Mary and is captivated by her voice. He literally falls in love with her voice. Cheesy right? If anyone else but J.R. Ward was writing this book, it would have hit the freaking wall by now. It has every cliché primed to make me throw the book down.

1) Misunderstood/tortured hero? Check.

2) Suffering heroine. Check

3) Deadly disease. Check.

4) Love at first sight/smell. Check.

5) Dowdy woman. Check.

6) Man so beautiful, the waitress at TGI Friday's barely restrained herself from tossing her panties at him. Check. (Okay, so that isn't usually a check, but a man prettier then the heroine, drives me nuts...usually)

But d@rn if by this point I don't have the stupidest grin on my face. Why? Because while there are external issues to keep this human woman and this vampire male apart? Rhage, never lets go. He fights the Lessers, the Brotherhood, Mary, the Scribe Virgin, anyone and anyone that gets in the way of him having "His Mary". I really, truly, truly, loved this book. I read "Dark Lover", "Lover Awakened" and "Lover Revealed" and this book has been my favorite. Although they are ALL fabulous. I am currently, chewing my elbow awaiting "Lover Unbound". Don't dally! Go and get it! NOW. :)
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of JR Ward's strengths in writing is her ability to weave together the lives of many characters, giving each of the depth and a fascinating personality.

In Lover Eternal the main story revolves around the vampire warrior Rhage and the human Mary. Cursed with a 'beast' that emerges when Rhage is angry or injured, he must use physical combat and sex to bleed off his emotions, which is why he's revered among the Brotherhood as the best fighter and lover. But living with the beast has been taking its toll on Rhage. Enter into the picture the human, Mary, who has given up on love and has recently learned that her cancer has returned.

What emerges is a wonderful and touching story between two people who are learning to love one another despite the curses eating away at both of them.

I have to admit that I really loved Mary's character. She struck me as an interesting and wonderfully independent woman, who is uneasy with the attention that Rhage gives her. Rhage is interesting as well, and is far more complex than one would expect from his glossy exterior.

In addition to this story, we are treated to interactions between Bella and Zsadist, the protagonists in the next novel in this series. It promises to be another wonderful read.

Truly this is a must buy.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
J.R. Ward's sequel to DARK LOVER is even more intense than the first! The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a group of vampire warriors who defend other vampires against all threats, particularly the lessers. Lessers are humans without souls who despise all vampires. Since Mr. X became the Fore-Lesser, the lessers have become more vicious in their attacks on vampires. Rhage, one of the members of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, is glad to vent his anger and his curse on the lessers as a result. Rhage was cursed by the Scribe Virgin to carry the beast of a dragon within him and he must regularly feed this dragon, either through sex or violence. One night after unleashing his dragon on some lessers, Rhage hears a voice of a woman that speaks to him as no other woman has. This voice belongs to Mary Luce, who is only at the mansion because she is translating for John Matthews, a potential warrior vampire who has not yet gone through the change and is still human. Mary doesn't know this about John nor does she realize that her friend and neighbor, Bella, is a vampire. Rhage contacts Bella and insists that she arrange a date with Mary for him. However, this date doesn't go very well as Mary has learned that her leukemia has reoccurred. Mary's life is endangered by the lessers when she and Rhage are attacked and her purse is lost. Rhage insists that she stay at the mansion until a new security system can be put in at her home. He reveals his vampire self to her but is afraid to reveal the beast. The romance between Mary and Rhage is very powerful and Ward did an excellent job of describing Mary's emotions as she dealt with her medical condition. The book ended without resolving the situation with Bella, as she was kidnapped by a lesser. This would have REALLY frustrated me if not for the excerpt from the next novel in which it is revealed that she was rescued. I am really looking forward to reading Bella and Zsadist's story as Ward humanized him greatly in this book. Highly recommended!
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