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Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 7) Mass Market Paperback – November 24, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Ward powers into hardcover with the tangled seventh title in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, picking up four months after the end of 2008's Lover Enshrined. Rehvenge, a symphath vampire who gets energy from manipulating others' emotions, is recruited by a group who want to displace vampire king Wrath, a gruff, determined vigilante. Rehvenge is also falling hard for vampire nurse Ehlena, who disdains his affections and focuses on caring for her ailing father. Ward easily juggles numerous personal and political plot lines, keeping the tension revved high while moving forward with subplots that have lingered for several books and will please longtime fans seeking resolution. New readers may be a little lost despite a helpful glossary, but the fast pace and cliffhanger ending will have fans wishing they could start the next book right away. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"I love this series!" -- Suzanne Brockmann
"The hottest collection of studs in romance." -- Angela Knight
"Wickedly sexy and just plain fun." -- Lisa Gardner
Top customer reviews
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THE STORY: Vishous is a warrior vampire and part of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. For hundreds of years he has been cursed with seeing the future and has other unique abilities (like having a hand that kills those who touch it). After an abusive childhood, he has spend his adult life seeking control and distance from others. V meets Dr. Jane Whitcomb, a trauma surgeon and thus starts a different relationship for V. He begins to care about the human and opens up to her because he knows that they have no future so it is safe. In the process they fall in love with one another even though they know things will end.
OPINION: Complex and powerful, LOVER UNBOUND, challenges the reader. Vishous has a difficult life. He has done very bad things to people and it takes quite a while for him to open up about the pain in his own life. Ultimately, however, this story of two people who are closed up and want control of their lives is beautiful. My biggest complaint is the ending.
To resolve the issue of Jane being human and thus aging, Ward has Jane killed and ultimately she comes back as a ghost. Many readers have highly objected to this resolution even though V and Jane seem to go forward in much the same way. My objection is not the resolution (although as described below, it stopped me from reading the book the first time) but rather the book is really missing a significant view of these two character being happy together after their misery.
WORTH MENTIONING: I began reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series before and after finding out about the big resolution in this case, I just couldn't finish this book and stop reading the series. Recently, I decided to give the series a chance again and knowing the couple has a history after this book where they are happy helped me get through this one and accept the ending.
FINAL DECISION: I liked this book a great deal but wish that we saw more of the couple when they were happy at the end. The resolution of the story was abrupt for such a complex solution.
CONNECTED BOOKS: LOVER UNBOUND is the fifth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood. These books are highly interconnected with stories that span several books. The books read more like an ongoing saga than individual novel. That makes it difficult to read this book without reference to the others in the series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
Lover Unbound had good and OK points. I was not "in love" with Vishous and Jane's story like I was with Rhage and Zsadist's books. Vishous's background was heart breaking and I definately hate his father. The dynamic between The Scribe Virgin and Vishous was surprising, enlightening and difficult at times. Then there was the conversation with Butch about their attraction and deep friendship. I enjoyed these parts of the book and felt they continued to create a more detailed world of the Brotherhood.
Now let's get to Jane. She was strong, smart, driven; all the things I craved in a book heroine. I liked her relationship with Vishous. They were obviously meant to be together and I was all for them getting a HEA. I shed big sloppy tears over her fate even though I read other reviews and knew what was going to happen. Having said that, how it ended was just OK. It was slightly odd, but this was a paranormal book so nothing was off the table. I wasn't shocked, just thought "well that is different". As long as Vishous and Jane were happy in the end, I was fine with whatever JR Ward wrote. But I am still stuck on how you have sex with a ghost!
JR Ward did an excellent job of keeping me engaged with bits and pieces of other main characters giving more insight into their lives. That helped me continue reading when I wasn't 100% into Vishous and Jane's story. Overall it was good read and integral part of the Black Dagger Brotherbook series.
Had I reviewed this book back in 2008, I would probably have felt more acutely the criticisms or, perhaps more accurately, disappointments which quite a few reviewers mention, particularly after the last book in the series, in which we were dealt the whammy about Jane's final condition in V's story. Now that I have the benefit of hindsight, and I can see how well Phury has fit into his role as Primale and protector of the Chosen, I can see how perfect a fit this is for him. Yet still....
I was thrilled to begin Phury's story. He has for so long suffered as the twin of the tortured Zhadist; being Z's moral compass and guardian has left Phury completely depleted emotionally. Forced to dole out the beatings which Z needed to cope with his demons, Phury's emotional wounds (as the inflictor of Z's physical wounds) have left him near a breaking point. Finding that Z no longer has the same need for him now that he has Bella, further complicated by the fact that Phury believes himself also to be in love with Z's mate, leaves Phury with no sense of purpose and the realization that he has no identity other than being Z's keeper. These dynamics push Phury into a mental abyss in which his only companion is the drug addiction which he managed to pick up along the way; this companion takes the form of the "Wizard," Phury's inner voice of self-loathing, guilt, and addiction.
I am in agreement with many reviewers who felt that Phury's rejection by the Brotherhood in light of his inability to kick his habit was not believable. These warriors are not the type to give up on any challenge, let alone one of their (few) own. Z particularly, after being a nearly psychotic shell of a male (held together and saved repeatedly by Phury) for most of his life, did not behave in character as he pulled away from Phury, all but washing his hands of him as Phury crashed after his nearly fatal overdose. Wrath acted equally out of character when he declared Phury cut off from the Brotherhood; Wrath, who always faced the fact that he'd acted without honor and with self-indulgent blinders on for all the centuries he ignored his kinghood....wouldn't have written Phury off in the span of a few chapters. Phury and Cormia's romance was indeed the most tepid of all BDB books to date; it didn't have the same compelling depth or passion which the others did. Even so, I wanted Phury's happy ending almost as much as he did...so I bought in, and that is a testimony to the magic that is J. R. Ward.
Even with the above, Phury is a tremendously sympathetic character. His thought process as he talks to himself, railing against himself as he struggles with his drug addiction, is so painfully honest, intimate, and tragic that at times I felt almost embarrassed, as though I were eavesdropping on a private and powerful moment which did not belong to me. The quality of Ms. Ward's writing, as Phury struggles, hating himself, desperately afraid to kindle the tiny flame of hope he may still have to live and fight for his own happiness, is utterly breathtaking. No matter the criticisms of how or why Phury got to where his character was, we are drawn into his pain and his painfully slow recovery, every stumbling step of the way. I do believe Phury's banishment from the Brotherhood was indeed overkill...the fact that he was clearly on the path of full recovery, having taken true responsibility for himself, Cormia, and the Chosen, should have finally given him his get-out-of-jail card....but he is still estranged from the Brothers at the end of the novel. He is loved and forgiven, as it were, but not reestablished; he remains disenfranchised. That is the only true failing of this story, for me; all of the other BDB conflicts have a kharmic fairness to them to which this imbalance is in contrast. In fact, it takes a number of books into the future of the BDB for Phury to join his Brothers in battle again. He is now officially Primale, no longer a bona fide Brother.
Phury's book was certainly not my favorite of the series, but that doesn't bother me one bit...my heart still belongs to the Black Dagger Brotherhood. There is simply no other series like it, and there have never been a set of characters who have affected me more deeply or stayed with me longer. Keep going, Ms. Ward! Please!
Finally, the audio version, narrated by Jim Frangione (as are all the BDB books), is superior; he is able to voice the innocent, gentle Cormia as beautifully as he voices the tormented, addicted, self-destructive and later, slowly recovering, Phury.
Note: The Black Dagger Brotherhood series should be read in order! Here's a start:
1. Dark Lover -- Wrath and Beth
2. Lover Eternal -- Rhage and Mary
3. Lover Awakened -- Zsadist ("Z") and Bella
4. Lover Revealed -- Butch and Maris
5. Lover Unbound -- Vishous ("V") and Jane
6. Lover Enshrined -- Phury and Cormia