All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Lover Eternal – J.R. Ward

on December 28, 2010

The second novel in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, Lover Eternal centres around Rhage. The Black Dagger Brotherhood are a group of elite fighting vampires, chosen for their ability to protect their kind from the threat of their enemy, the Lessers. The Lessers, humans who sell their soul to the Omega in exchange for longevity, kidnap and torture civilian vampires in order to try and find information on their real targets, the BDB. In return, the BDB take great pleasure in killing the Lessers they find – recognisable in the immediate vicinity for smelling like baby powder. In the first novel, Dark Lover, we were introduced to the brothers and that novel centred on Wrath, the Blind King and his love for Beth, a half vampire who he helped transition through her change.

Rhage is a ferocious fighter, a quick thinker and quick to act. He’s an insatiable lover, sleeping with many girls over the course of a week. 90 or so years ago, Rhage was cursed by the Scribe Virgin, the mother of all vampires, for his carelessness, which included sex with the shellans of other vampires (females already bonded to a male). His arrogant and at times, thoughtless and rude behaviour angered the Scribe Virgin and she cursed him to 200 years with a beast inside him, a beast that struggles every day to get out. Rhage has learned that he can keep it at bay with fighting and with sex, both of which take the edge off just enough so that he remains in control over the beast. Occasionally something will happen that makes Rhage so furious, or heightens his emotions so much that the beast erupts anyway – a huge dragon that cannot always tell friend from foe and will simply demolish anything in its path. The change is incredibly painful, as his body basically breaks and evolves into the structure of the dragon, and the change back is even more painful and he’s rendered weak and sick for a couple of days afterwards.

Mary Madonna Luce is a former teacher of autistic children who also works volunteer at a suicide hotline. In remission from cancer, she’s devastated when she receives a call from her doctor asking her to come in at her earliest convenience after her routine check up scans. She knows exactly what this means – that the cancer is back. She puts it out of her mind to help John Matthew, a young boy who cannot speak who calls the hotline sometimes just to hear her voice. When he turns up at her place, Mary’s neighbour Beth (who Mary is unaware is actually a vampire) sees a marking on something John Matthew has made and knows that the boy is special. The decision she makes to call the people who know what to do about these particular markings throw Mary and Rhage onto a collision course.

Rhage is bewitched by the calm and gentle Mary, stunned when even the sound of her gentle voice soothes him. Although he is supposed to wipe her memory of him when she leaves the compound after bringing John Matthew (she has to translate for him as she knows the sign language he uses to communicate) Rhage cannot bring himself to. Instead he wishes to see her again, asking Beth to arrange it. He is aware that Mary is dying (he can smell it on her, in her blood) and what was just meant to be one night turns complicated when Rhage starts to fall in love with her. He cannot wipe her memory and after they are attacked by Lessers one night, one of which steals Mary’s wallet, he knows that they will target her so he brings her to the BDB compound for protection. This is a huge breach of BDB rules and protocols and Rhage even threatens to leave if they will not accept Mary and protect her.

Rhage is also facing another problem. Although Mary is aware now of what he is, of what they all are, including Beth, she doesn’t yet know about the beast that rages inside him. The beast is interested in Mary too and now that Rhage cannot bring himself to sleep with other women to take the edge off, it’s getting harder and harder to control it.

Lover Eternal was just what I needed for a quick ‘brain-candy’ type read on a miserable summer’s day. Rhage is a popular brother, I’ve noticed, reading reviews of this series, but he isn’t my favourite brother. He’s charming and funny and he’s very polite – almost oddly polite, actually – and courteous after his curse but he often rang a tad too cheesy for me and it was all I could do not to fall over laughing when he was ‘Hal’ trying to seduce Mary. But I did love the way Ward wrote his struggle with the beast – his self-loathing about having to take the edge off with meaningless sex when all he craved really was a realistic, warm and loving relationship like that of Wrath and Beth, or Tohr and Wellsie. I think it’s then that Rhage is at his most likable.

I thought Mary was a bit bland at first, but I enjoyed her more and more as the story went on. Perhaps because she was dying and saw no reason to be frightened, she adapted pretty well to the fact that Rhage was a vampire and that Bella, who she’d lived next door to for a while, was also one too. It’s also easier in these novels for the average humans to not be frightened of the vampires because the vampires rarely ever feed on humans (unless they’re new, or Zsadist) because the human blood is no where enough to keep them strong and alive. They feed on members of the opposite sex who are also vampires so it’s a lot easier to be comfortable around them when you know they’re not going to suddenly go for your jugular.

If you read (or want to read) the BDB books for the chemistry and spice then you won’t be disappointed here. Rhage and Mary do really have a rather lovely and unique sort of chemistry – Rhage is so taken by her voice, which calms and quietens him, soothing him and the beast as well. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want her as well, which Mary thinks is true at once stage – she soon has that silly idea firmly dispatched though! There’s plenty of spice and there’s also some lovely and sweet scenes. Because I’ve read the third novel, Lover Awakened, I’m aware of how this one ends, but reading it still brought out the emotions in me – Rhage is really believable in his grief.

I really felt for Mary and her struggle with her disease, which is going to claim her life and how resiliently that Rhage stood by her. The rest of the BDB stood by Rhage and Mary too and I do like the displays of solidarity and loyalty between the brothers and those they consider under their protection. I actually really like the bond between them all and wish we saw a little more of them together as a group. Those scenes aren’t as big a part of the novels as I’d like – I would’ve also liked to check in a bit more on Wrath and Beth but it seems like previous couples aren’t going to really feature.

As I’ve read #3, I’ve requested #4 from the library – the story of Butch and Marissa.

7/10

Book #124 of 2010

 


7 responses to “Lover Eternal – J.R. Ward

  1. Marg says:

    I liked this one, but didn’t love it. My favourite Brother is definitely Z. I am not sure why but I stopped reading after Butch’s book. I need to get back to these books eventually

  2. Orhedea says:

    I’ve heard a lot about this series, but never picked it up…You just gave me a reason to)

  3. Shannon says:

    I had much the same reaction to this one, Bree. I liked Rhage but he was cheesy! Partly I liked him for that, too. He’s probably the only brother capable of a bit of lightness and humour. And I loved the dragon trapped inside him, and how it wanted Mary too. I know what you mean about Mary, she always seemed a bit of a wet blanket to me, but they were sweet together. I think I liked this one so much because it was such a huge improvement on the first book – talk about cheese!!!

    • Haha the first book I reread yesterday after reading this as I’d only read it once near the beginning of the year. Even second time around it was mind boggling how swiftly Wrath went from all tough-nut, ‘I hate females, humans, everyone, I’m the anti-King” to all ‘aww she loves me.. me? How am I worthy, I am so pathetically grateful right now, I must now lead my people’.

  4. My all-time fav is Z!!!! ❤ who is yours?

  5. Doh! I just saw your comment above! Glad we like the same brother 😉 I didn’t like V’s story at ALL. I gave it one star!

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