July 15, 2011

Review: Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #4
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 6, 2007
Source: Library
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Purchase: Amazon
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York,
there's a deadly war raging between vampires and their
slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers
like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their
race. Now, an ally of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
will face the challenge of his life and the evil of the ages.

Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world-to engage in the turf war with the lessers. His heart belongs to a female vampire, Marissa, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. And if he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers.

But fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he's found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him.

Butch and Marissa: Blue-collar human v Vampire aristocracy; experienced v untouched; crude v polished

These two lovebirds met at Beth's transition after Marissa released Wrath from his oath which means she is no longer his shellan (mate or wife). Though hurt from Wrath's rejection of her in favor of the half-human Beth, Marissa was able to bounce back when she met ex-cop Butch who is acquainted with Beth. Sparks flew instantly between the two, Butch found Marissa goddess-like and she in turn was very curious about him and their sexual attraction to each other. They knew they wanted more from each other.

But various circumstances hindered them from moving forward in their relationship leaving a lot of misunderstanding between the two and the rank smell of unrequited love hangs heavy in the air. Things changed when Butch got kidnapped, tortured and violated by The Omega with the help of the Lessening Society. During his recovery, Marissa stood by his side but her brother disapproved and practically disowned her which left her homeless and alone for the first time.

This unfortunate circumstance finally gave Marissa and Butch the time and freedom to explore their feelings for each other and if their relationship will work at all. But before they got to their happy ending, they need to ride-out various twists and turns that will eventually bind them together forever.

This series is proving to be quite a challenge to review because the plot is so intricate and there are a lot of interesting things happening in the background apart from the main one. This book in the series is already a far cry from Dark Lover meaning to say that JR Ward's writing has improved tremendously. It's more fluid, tighter and some parts of the story felt like it was sincerely coming from a real place, real first-hand experiences like the storyline of abuse in Lover Awakened and in this book she was touching on domestic violence. If such a term exists, I would dare say that JR ward is a method-writer.

On the other hand, she needs to iron out The Omega and the Lessening Society's  part of the story. They are annoying at best but the revolving-door style of changing the prime human foe is a little bit confusing. I'm not sure if she means to convey to the reader that evil is fickle but it makes them less threatening and just comes off as irritating.

Butch is my favorite character in the series, he's awkward, funny and tactless in an adorable way (Mark Wahlberg, The Other Guys-The Fighter combo). So when he and Marissa finally started dating, there were just a lot of hilarious moments. When they started doing the nasty, Marissa being the virgin she is, was just flat out awkward and funny. It's an odd blend of innocence, curiosity and instruction that resulted to fits of laughter on my part. And Butch was just all over the place because he doesn't know how to deal with Marissa with her flawless manners and every little thing that points to her breeding and station in life (think debutante, never wore pants or jeans, always clad in corsets and vintage designer gowns).

Consistent with the other two books that I've read and the theme of the series, the Brotherhood really takes bromance to another level. Their loyalty to their team, including Butch, is just so heartfelt. Ward just has a style of describing their love for each other in a tender way without emasculating her warriors, again the Brotherhood will remind you of King Arthur and his Knights, so it's not mushy stuff and gender-bending emotions, it's what you'd think a man feels towards a brother or a friend.


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