Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward
JR Ward is taking her fans on a bumpy journey with The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It started out with a bang (Dark Lover, book 1), built up incredible steam through book 4, crashed and burned (in my not so humble opinion) in books 5 and 6, and now book 7, Lover Avenged, has erupted back onto the scene as one incredible story. Last night while my family was watching American Idol, I hid in the kitchen with this book, unable to put it down for even a second. My daughter kept screaming, "Mom, you're missing American Idol!" but honestly, Adam Lambert could not possibly compete with Rehv. Sorry. Ward has created another spellbinding installment of this series with Rehvenge's story...he is a fascinating and complex character who deserved a great book, and Ward delivered. Her formula of weaving multiple storylines, a primary romance, and a violent war between the Lessers and the vampires of Caldwell, has been at times very successful, and at times a failure (Lover Enshrined). Lover Avenged is absolutely perfectly balanced...we get a satisfying love story between Rehvenge, a half-sympath/half-vampire, and Ehlena, a vampire nurse with a heart of gold. We get amazing storylines about Tohr, who is recovering from a life-altering trauma (the death of his shellan), and Wrath, the king, who is developing full-blown blindness. (I am not as thrilled with John and Xhex's storyline...unfortunately, I just don't find either of these characters very likable, and I'm wondering what Ward is planning to do with this couple.) My favorite parts of this book? The final climatic scene in the sympath colony is reminiscent of a Stephen King book...unbelievably great! The hideous and vile sympath princess is a fantastic villain (better than Lash, the Omega's son, in my opinion). I also LOVE Tohr and his storyline...the scene where Tohr and Rhage are sitting around shooting the s--t is wonderful. Ward has also done a great job with Wrath's storyline, the shocking ultimate loss of his vision. The undying support of his Brothers and his shellan is really what this series is all about. Loyalty and complete devotion. My only major complaint is that Ehlena's acceptance of Rehv's double life (drug-dealing club owner) is a little too pat. Wasn't quite on board with that. But her daring rescue of the man she loves is a fabulous resolution to this book, and a return to what I adored about Ward's earliest books in the series...romance! The bottom line about Lover Avenged? It is captivating. I am personally thrilled that JR Ward has recaptured the magic of this series. She is back with a vhengeance.