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Lover Enshrined: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (Collector's Edition) Hardcover – February 4, 2014
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Wards's terrific latest picks up the Black Dagger Brotherhood of vampires where Lover Unbound left off. Phury, a sworn Brother who has also become the Primale, is wrestling with a destiny he doesn't want, an addiction he can't handle and an insurmountable feeling of inadequacy that bleeds over into his love for Cormia, his Chosen First Mate. He holes up at the Brotherhood's rural New York base. The Omega, bent on destroying the vampire race, is meanwhile growing ever stronger, and his long-held plan to destroy the Brothers, via the Lessening Society, is coming to fruition. Younger Brotherhood trainees John Matthew, Qhuinn and Blaylock are learning what it means to come of age and are immersed in their own drama with Qhuinn's malicious cousin, Lash. The stories all reach a shared climax, leading to explosive revelations that set up the next book beautifully. Focusing less on Phury and Cormia and more on the Omega's plot amps the tension on all sides. A subplot involving Rhevenge, John Matthew and the female symphath Xhex is particularly exciting, with Ward diving into varied subspecies, sexual predilections and questions of identity. Ward has outdone herself with this latest Brotherhood novel. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Phury has long been the self-sacrificing Brother. He maimed himself body and soul to save his twin. Now he’s taken Vischous’ place as the Primale, the one meant to replenish the dwindling number of Brothers and Chosen for the race. But his inner demons threaten to ruin it all. His place among the Brotherhood. His role as Primale. His relationship with his First Mate, Cormia. His greatest challenge, however, is proving to himself he truly is the hero he’s always tried to be. Ward’s fans have come to expect stories jam-packed with complex, ongoing story lines, and her newest is no exception. With major series-turning events, the subplots weigh in more than ever, at times suggesting that there can be too much of a good thing. But in the end the indulgence is worth it. Along with the happy endings, more darkness comes to pass, showing the war between the vampires and the lessers is far from over, which happily means more Black Dagger Brotherhood stories to come. --Nina C. Davis --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The chief attraction in the earlier books was fantastic romance, sex, and action. LEn barely delivers on the first 2 at all. We really don't care about Phury and Cormia as a couple. We're told they are attracted to each other but we don't FEEL it like we did with Wrath and Beth or Rhage and Mary.
I got more of a connection between John Matthew and Cormia and was starting to wonder if the book was going to have a major twist. There is a fair amount of action, but very little with Phury; he's off in the corner doped up.
JR attempts to portray the inner mind of an addict but why the hell this inner demon is portrayed as a 3rd rate vaudeville British actor attempting Tolkien is beyond me. I was pissed off after the first 2 PAGES of the damn book! It is ridiculous. Phury comes off as whiny, pathetic and a loser. All the other brothers from the past books are almost unrecognizable. Honestly, I'm not sure why I'm giving 2 stars except that I love the world JR created and I'm hoping the next book will be better.
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
So, what didn't I like? It took way too long for P and Cormia to come together, they were really beginning to get on my nerves. I had a hard time getting into their romance for each other, wasn't particularly intense, particularly bc They lost their virginity to one another. I also don't like Jane being a ghost. The book is also a little too long. So I think I'd give the book 3 1/2 stars