July 17, 2011

Review: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 2
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 7, 2006
Purchase Link: Amazon
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war raging between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret bound of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beast Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He's the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant to Rhage's protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage's intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves.
Rhage aka Hollywood is one super hot dude he puts Brad Pitt to shame, beautiful or gorgeous is not enough to describe him. But Rhage bears the curse of the Scribe Virgin for killing an innocent creature, for 200 years he will transform into a dragon which is triggered by extreme emotions, response to threats and even arousal. Though blessed with good looks, Rhage feels terribly alone, too scared to risk caring for someone and killing them in the act of love. So he contents himself with numerous trysts and anonymous one nighters.

As prophesied by Vishous, he is soon to meet his destiny. Mary.

However Mary is in the last stages of her life suffering from leukemia. Though in remission, there is a nagging feeling that her illness is back. In a last attempt to live her life to the fullest, she does it vicariously with Rhage. Their mating wasn't welcomed by the Brotherhood primarily because she's human and they don't want to risk her safety and be collateral damage in their war with the Lessening Society.

Of course Rhage could not be deterred. There is something about Mary and her melodic voice that calms him and his inner demons. Her voice is so soothing that even the beast inside of him listens and heeds to her. But Mary's lifeline is way to short for them, soon she is advised that she's at the last stop and there is nothing human medicine can do to extend her life.

But of course it ends happily but I will skip that, I try to avoid giving out spoilers as much as I can.

Anyway, there are a lot of things going on in this book. We meet John Matthew who is the reincarnation of Darius, Beth's father and a former Brother. We will also witness how Zsadist and Bella first met, her abduction and why Mr. O was so obsessed with her.

For some reason I felt a little detached from this. Sure Rhage is described as this drop-dead-gorgeous warrior clad in leather, huge, endowed and a skilled lover and Mary as this girl-next-door type who is dying from cancer. Surely the premise should be enough to make me feel those fuzzy, sympathetic, tear jerker feelings reminiscent of a Nicolas Sparks novel... but it didn't.

I just feel as if Ward focused too much on the attraction and failed to balance it out with Mary's impending demise. So you don't feel the urgency of each moment, the importance of their mating, the act of love that should feel sacred given the fact that they're moving on a timeline. The romance is a little short, I don't know about you but I like courtship and wooing and the snippy exchanges. Like in a song when the notes in the verses are done right you'll find yourself singing along with the chorus. The song was a little too flat for my taste if you know what I mean.

But it's not all bad, this volume of the series shouldn't be passed on should you decide to follow it. Ward gives us details on the profiles of her characters which will help you appreciate them as you read the succeeding books. It provides the precedent for future storylines, entanglements and complications. And since I skipped this book and went ahead with books 3 & 4, that will probably explain my review. No worries, if you follow the reading order the story and writing gets better.

But then again, this is just my opinion and you might feel differently. I still encourage you to follow this series, it's writtent smartly and it's a class on its own.

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