J. R. Ward
Published 2006 434 pages
In the eternal battle between the vampires and the Lessening Society only a small band of warrior vampires, known as the Black Dagger Brotherhood, stand between the vampires and the total annihilation of their species. The members of the Brotherhood are all terrifying warriors who live a violent existence whilst upholding their vows to protect civilian vampires.
Zsadist is the most terrifying of all the Brothers. Kidnapped and sold into slavery as a child the first hundred years of his life were a nightmare of abuse. Locked and chained in a dungeon as a blood slave to a female member of the vampire aristocracy he was subjected to physical, sexual and mental abuse on a daily basis.
Nearly a hundred years after his dramatic rescue by his twin brother Phury, Zsadist is still a ruined man. He may have left the dungeon and the torture behind but he has never gotten over the abuse. With a trigger temper, a hatred of all women (and most men too) he is a ticking bomb of violence that can explode with the slightest provocation.
When Bella, a beautiful and high ranking aristocratic vampire is kidnapped by the Lessening Society, Zsadist is the only one who doesn’t stop searching for her. In his own way he is obsessed with thoughts of her and finding her is his new mission in life. After her own family have given her up for dead, Bella is finally rescued from the torture chamber where she was being kept captive by a lesser who had developed an unhealthy obsession for her.
As Zsadist pulls Bella’s beaten body out of the hole in the ground where she was being kept prisoner, it is clear that he has a deep attachment to her. Bella herself has always had a fascination for Zsadist, ever since the first time she saw him before she was kidnapped and throughout her captivity she thought of him and hoped that he would rescue her. Now that she is free, it is down to her to find a way of helping Zsadist leave the prison of his past behind if there is to ever be a hope for him to have a future with her.
Lover Awakened is the third novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. After reading Lover Eternal, the second book in the series, and thinking it was one of the best romance novels as well as one of the best vampire novels I had ever read, I remember thinking I didn’t know how J.R. Ward was going to top that with Lover Awakened. After much eager anticipation my copy of Lover Awakened finally arrived and I had that moment of doubt as I picked up the book that it probably couldn’t be as good as I was hoping and expecting it to be. It wasn’t. It was better!
Lover Awakened picks up where Lover Eternal left off. Central characters (Mary, Rhage, Beth and Wrath) from previous books are still in the story but the spotlight is firmly on Zsadist and his relationships both with Bella and his twin brother Phury.
Whilst Zsadist had always appeared to be a vicious yet unfathomable character in the previous books, we (the readers) now find out more about him and his life. For one so feared and vicious we now see the vulnerable side to his character which makes him so much more appealing. The abuse he suffered as a slave has lead to a self hatred and an enjoyment of inflicting more pain and abuse upon himself.
All in all he is a complex character and Bella has her work cut out trying to reach him and pull him back from the brink of self destruction. We learn more about Zsadist’s relationship with his twin and we see Phury pushed close to breaking point. There are some real heart wringing scenes between the twin brothers and the emotion is kept bubbling through out the book because Phury loves Bella too and his love is so sad and hopeless.
Lover Awakened is a fantastically good read. The Brothers just keep getting better and better and once again I’m left wondering how J. R. Ward is going to top this one. Lover Awakened is a fast paced book with action and heart wrenching drama that rolls from one emotional high to another taking the reader along for the ride. It isn’t often that I dictate (yeah right) but I recommend that if you like tough sexy vampires and hot romance that you go to the book store and buy this book immediately. Don’t walk, run!
LoveVampires Review Rating: