There are quiet a few of us who jokingly call the books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by JR Ward, “crack”. And if you are a fan of this series, you definitely know what I mean by that term. There is something about a book or books that become an addiction to the point where you refuse to stop reading (makes for good bathroom reading) because you are so engrossed in this world. And when you are done, you need your next fix much like an addict does.
The question you are probably asking is if Lover Enshrined delivers? And do I still have those cravings for the next book? The answer is both yes and no. The addict comparison I use is so perfect for a book like Lover Enshrined because it is the perfect description of what Phury has become.
JR Ward is an incredible storyteller. She has invented an amazing world and her dedication to her series and her fans are very strong. Lover Enshrined has thrills, shocks and more WTF moments than the past five books combined. (You thought Jane’s outcome in Lover Unbound was the ultimate WTF moment? Think again) This is a book with some weaknesses, which mainly involves the love story between Phury and Cormia. This is well known to be Phury’s story and assumed that this is a romance first and foremost. I hate to disappoint you, but if you were looking for an incredible and sexy love story like the past ones, look somewhere else. The romance here is more of a subplot if anything else and Phury and Cormia’s relationship is the weakest storyline. I have lead myself to believe that Ward is slowly moving away from the romance umbrella and moving toward the Urban Fantasy genre, with romantic undertones. Ward is now at a crossroads with her series and with Lover Enshrined her readers have a decision to make. Her hardcore fans will most likely stick to the very end. The other circle of readers will become casualties because after Lover Enshrined, some will not want to continue on.
There are three main storylines that caught my attention out of six possible ones that occur during this book. First and foremost is the one about Phury.
At the end of Lover Unbound, Phury became the Primale to the forty
Phury and Cormia suffer, as both cannot reach each other because they are very much strangers and products of their making. Some readers are going to be on the fence about Cormia much like they were about Marissa in Lover Revealed. But keep this in mind; Cormia is who she is because of her environment.
And, you think their HEA is going to be easy one? Think again.
The one group of characters that truly shined was Blaylock, John Matthew and Qhuinn. These three musketeers are so dedicated to each other that you will get a good idea of what the future holds for them. The one character who made this book and changes the whole vampire society and Brotherhood as we have known it is Qhuinn. There is quite a cause and effect that happens and because of Qhuinn’s reaction to a certain situation and the way he acts, he starts a domino effect that will enable the Omega to have more power then ever and the possibility of destroying the vampire community in
Rehvenge is also very prominent and we find out why he is being blackmailed and what he must do to keep his blackmailer happy. I have always thought of Rehvenge as an anti-hero and he is such a big presence whenever he appears. Well, I can happily say Rehvenge is a true hero in every sense of the word, as worthy as any of the other Brothers. You thought Zsadist was tortured? Sorry, what Rehvenge goes through puts all these men to shame. Again, it is all about sacrifice, and Rehv has made a lot of them He and Phury are alike in many ways.
So, where does this leave me and my final impressions of Lover Enshrined? I was very much hooked from the first page of the Prologue to the very last word. Ward gives us quiet a shocker in the Prologue and doesn’t let up for the next 500 plus pages. This is a very dark and intense book filled with more bloodshed and deaths than any other before. There are many victims and the strongest ones realize they may not be able to save everyone and maybe even themselves.
Everything that happens grabs you by the throat and won’t let go; other than Phury’s story and the very one-dimensional love he has with Cormia. Their courtship was my main pet peeve. Phury has become a martyr for no reason and I really wanted to smack some sense into him. But his brother does that job for me. There is this great scene between Phury and his brother Zsadist where Phury confronts him. Phury is angry because Zsadist never thanked him for rescuing him. Zsadist is fed up and they have a knock down fight where Zsadist tells Phury, in not so many words, what I was thinking –
“…get off the cross, someone else needs the wood.”
There is so much more that happens within these pages that I can’t mention, because you do need some surprises and to learn them would ruin your enjoyment. But, one tidbit I will give you is that there is a new character introduced that gives something special back to the Brothers and brings even more life into this series. (If you are a member of JR Ward’s message boards you can probably figure out who I am talking about)
Lover Enshrined may not be my favorite title from JR Ward but I find myself still in awe of her world building, characters and her ability to write such books that can not be compared to any other. To figure out what grade to give is a hard one. Overall, I did enjoy the crack... oops, I mean Lover Enshrined even though the love story was a bit too stale for my tastes.
So, what grade should I give this book that reeled me in but left me a bit unsatisfied because of the romance?
3 ½ stars out of 5
And as always comments are always welcome **ducks away from the fruit**