Funny story, I’ve had the first 5 books of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward on my book shelves for a few years now. When I started to read Lover Eternal, I thought “Ok Ms. Ward, remind me why I fell in love with your books”. Three pages in I realized, I hadn’t read this book….or any of them except the first one and the one with Zadist (Lover Awakened)…hmm me thinks I have too many books and they are all starting to blur together LOL.
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetite. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin.
Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him. When Mary Luce is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world, she must rely on Rhage’s protection. Knowing that Mary feels the same intense animal attraction, Rhage must make her his alone…
Lover Eternal seemed to have more ‘air’ time for the female character than Ward’s last book, Dark Lover. Mary has had a hard rough life, with scars to prove her endurance and strength. She wants to fit in and be normal, but has lost all hope that it’s in the cards for her. She’s given up the idea of everything normal people want in life, and has surrounded herself with work. It’s the only thing that gets her through the day; it’s the only thing she can count on. I like that she’s a strong character, and not in the sense that she takes most of the attention, but it’s that she endures pain and sickness and keeps going. She holds herself together like a soldier, and it’s nice to have a female character that is strong, although badly wounded, who hasn’t lost that spark.
Although at times, Mary seems a bit more amiable than normal, even for her. She comes out strong and tough, but she’s terrified of Rhage once she learns that he’s a vampire but then she’s fine. Then she sees him in full weapon gear and panics again. Then when she has a run in with his beast, she’s calm and accepts it, while the brothers were fearful for everyone’s safety.
The downside to having more attention on Mary in Lover Eternal, is that poor Rhage gets little. Or less than I’d like anyway. I was very eager to learn more about Hollywood, as the brothers call him because he’s devastatingly handsome and he’s a god with the ladies. You learn bits and pieces about him, but not much of his background, other than how he acquired his curse. And before I move on, I really really wished there had been more time spent on his beast, not just talking about it but seeing it more. What a ride that could have been! Ok so Rhage is the ‘wild’ child of sorts. He’s all about fighting and all about women, giving him an almost carefree image, but deep down he’s not. He’s a guy who is devoted and dependable to the core; the truth is he does those things to protect everyone. I just wish you got to see more about how he came to be Rhage.
There were some sections that made me giggle and roll my eyes. Like the scene where Rhage tells Mary he’d like to ‘suckle’ her…um ok. I read that part to my husband and he literally laughed and sarcastically said ‘yeah a man would totally say that’. It just doesn’t seem like something a tough vampire would say.
The ending to Lover Eternal was one of those roll my eyes areas. Everything ended far too perfectly, far too easily after the build up throughout the book. It’s almost disappointing in the sense that it just…well ends too clean cut. Made me feel like the mountain I’d just been climbing turned into a tiny mole hill. I really don’t like sad endings, I want happy endings, but this ending was far too pretty compared to the rest of the book.
What I did like about Lover Eternal was that she threw some things in the mix that you weren’t expecting, making the story more realistic despite being a vampire romance. It was a darker, less magic fairy dust, type romance novel. There was less tug and pull, I hate you now I love you scenarios, and the ones that were there were far more believable than most I’ve seen. The relationship between Rhage and Mary grows and matures far more smoothly this way. Plus you get to meet a new warrior in the making, he hasn’t turned yet and it’s interesting to see how they are before they are full-fledged vampires. It’s one of those unexpected twists that spiced up this story, to an even better pitch.
Considering this is the first time I’ve read Lover Eternal, I’m an even bigger fan of J.R.Ward and the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Her world, her characters, her storyline is one of the more exciting I’ve ran across. Now if only I read all the books this time and not confused them with others…grin.