5 out of 5 stars
Ok, so I finished reading Lover Enshrined. I had to sit on the floor and read it – because I kept falling out of my chair! It’s amazing, wonderful, thoughtful, provoking and takes you on an unknown journey that keeps you turning the pages until the last page; finally, incredibly satisfied and breathlessly wanting to know more. If I wasn’t falling out of my chair I was reaching for the tissue box because there were just as many moments that were extremely poignant and heart wrenching. It’s the kind of book that ruins you for other books for many days after because the characters are still playing around inside your head. The kind of book you’ll know you’ll be re-reading – and not only this book – but you know one week this summer you’re going to do a J.R. Ward marathon and re-read them all. For those of you who have read the series – Lover Enshrined is epic in its scope, and unlike the other books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, it doesn’t just expound on the culture and world already created, it takes the world building and the characters to a whole ‘nother level. For those of you who have not read the series, what are you waiting for? Its summertime and this may be a good time to start a J.R. Ward Marathon. You can still enjoy Lover Enshrined if you have not read the previous five books, but it’s a much richer experience if you’ve read them.
There were so many moments in Lover Enshrined that made me stop and go ‘WTF’, or ‘shut up’ and I’m talking from the first two pages. Alright – very short run down – Lover Enshrined is the sixth book in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series – this book is Phury’s book. Phury is the tortured twin brother of Zsadist, he’s also a vampire, a virgin and has the added title of Primale. In other words he is the ‘male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood’s bloodlines alive’. Phury’s duty is to mate with all the Chosen (that means all the females who are of the chosen aristocracy and can ‘propagate their class’ – thereby creating more Warriors to fight the vampire’s enemies). Whew, follow that?
But! Lover Enshrined is so much more – which is why I find it hard to give you a brief synopsis. Yes the book is about Phury and his ‘heroine’ Cormia, and yes it is a book about how they come together. And – however – it is also about Phury and his relationship with his brother Z, his relationship to the Brotherhood, his relationship with the individual brothers and his relationship with himself; especially with himself. It’s about self-discovery, traditions, change, and sacrifice. One of the elements I love most in this series and in this book in particular, are the relationships between the males. There is a sense of camaraderie and, well, I’ll say it, brotherhood, that is deep and abiding; and for me, in many ways, the true ‘romance’ of the book. I was particularly drawn into the ying yang/ push pull of Phury’s relationship with his twin brother Z – talk about heart wrenching. But here’s the thing about that, the harder the fight to save and/or create a relationship the deeper the reward.
On almost every page of this book – everything is of consequence and anything can change in a moment. J.R Ward isn’t following a formula; she doesn’t give Phury a nice neat little book – in a way the book is much larger than Phury’s story and becomes a vehicle to take us to the next level of the Brother’s world, preparing us for the next chapter – building to the end.For me, Lover Enshrined is all about change – from what has been ‘enshrined’ to the point of near extinction, to revolutionary change in order to survive; weather that’s changing the system, or changing your beliefs, or changing your habits. And let’s face it, change is hard – and in LE Ward doesn’t back down from it – she makes you confront it. Phury’s story isn’t tied up in a neat little package, she makes Phury work for everything; and in turn she makes us experience it. I have to say, Ward took Phury on a journey I did not want to go on – it was hard, but the pay off is huge.
I’d say most people don’t readily embrace change. Even when something isn’t working, sticking to the old is comfortable and in many ways comforting. Lover Enshrined blows it all out of the water – it’s all about embracing your fears, facing them, making hard decisions and living with them, even if you’re not ready. It is eloquent, poignant
Ward brings back some characters we haven’t seen in a book or two, as well as introduces new ones; and there are some major characters whose stories unfold right along with Phury’s. Each character in the series is a part of the larger whole, and each character has their role to play. No wasted words – everything contributes to where the series is taking us. Ward’s introduction of characters is seamless and woven into the fabric creating a rich tapestry that is yet to be completed. The process of watching it being made, sentence by sentence, page by page, book by book, is phenomenal. The Brotherhood’s mission – keeping their race alive, their culture in tact while embracing the new, the here and now – is a journey I’m captivated by. It’s a journey I’m glad to be on. It’s a world that makes me want to invest my time. It’s a world unlike any other.
In J.R. Ward’s Lover Enshrined – relationships are pivotal, they propel the story forward. They happen between men and women, brothers, friends, quasi enemies – it made me wonder, what are the requirements/elements for a relationship between two people? What makes you fight to keep them alive?