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    Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward
  • Author:
  • Published: Apr 29th, 2009

ward_loveravenged.jpgReviewed by Marisa O’Neill
Publisher: Penguin
5 Stars

A few years back, when I read Dark Lover (the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series), I thought, “this is a great book, I hope there will be more books about these characters”. I couldn’t begin to imagine or even hope that this series would be as epic in its scope as it has become. With Lover Avenged, J.R. Ward continues to prove why she has legions of fans that not only spend a great deal of time debating the fate and fortune of each of her characters, but clamor and wait with bated breath for each new installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

As I’ve said before, the world Ms. Ward has created is rich, layered, inventive and complex. It is filled with characters that have finely crafted gradations of qualities and personas that reveal and unveil nuances which are not only specific to their individual stories but also contribute to the whole in a meaningful and purposeful way. The intricacies of each story meld together to create a whole that when seen from above create a landscape that is picture perfect. This is true of Lover Avenged, which is the story of Rehvenge.

Reading Lover Avenged was an emotional roller coaster, and because of the scope of this book I find it difficult to summarize the plot, so I’ll just give some highlights. I found myself crying (a lot), laughing (out loud) and sighing (dramatically). Truth be told, Rehvenge was never a character I paid much attention to. He played on the periphery of MY vision of the Brotherhood. He is half vampire and half symphath (a sub-species of the vampire race); he is the owner of the nightclub Zero-Sum, a drug dealer and a pimp.  Not very redeemable qualities.  Yet he’s also brother-in-law to Zsadist (Lover Awakened), which makes him family to the Brotherhood.  In Lover Avenged J.R. Ward takes a character that I thought had no possible way of becoming a hero and makes him one. Simply put, he becomes a male of worth. Hard to do, I thought impossible, but word by word, chapter by chapter she does it. For all his pimped out, hard assed, drug dealing ways, he is a loving compassionate, son, brother, friend and lover. His internal fight between all that is good and all that is evil is an immense struggle you want him to win.

Rehvenge is tested every step of the way in this one.  His identity as a symphath is threatened to be revealed and all that he has worked for is about to be destroyed.  If he is outed as a symphath it means only one thing, banishment to the upstate symphath colony and living the rest of his very long life with a bunch of psychopathic soul eaters. Yet, banishment becomes his only option if he wants to protect the people he loves.  What’s a half symp half vamp to do?  He’s also tested when he meets the heroine, Ehlena.  For me, one element of a good romance is when the hero and/or heroine give unselfishly to the people they love, no matter what; and that is what Ehlena and Rehv do for each other. Romantic?  Absolutely.  Heart breaking? Makes you want to weep. Riveting? Couldn’t put it down.  Ehlena is worthy of the name heroine. Her strength, intelligence, courage and compassion, as well as her loyalty, are inspiring. How Rehv and Ehlena come together, how they fight for each other, each in very different ways is certainly one of the core elements of this book, but not the only one.

As with the past books in this series, Lover Avenged continues the over arching story line of the Vampire race and their fight to stay alive against the Lessening Society. This is one of the things that I love about this series. Each book contributes to the telling of this central plot point. Ms. Ward walks a fine line between revealing a clearer understanding of the intricacies that hold each character together while at the same time keeping you in suspense about how the overall conflict of the world will be resolved, and she does it with grace. So if you’re looking for a simple romance where the hero and heroine are the sole and only focus of the book, well, this ain’t it. Quite the contrary. It’s a big book, and by that I mean it continues to encompass and elaborate on what Ms. Ward started when she wrote the first book Dark Lover. Although the book is self contained and could be read as a stand alone, those of us who have read all the previous books in the series have the added pleasure of sitting down to a banquet with each successive book contributing to the entire experience.

In this installment we get a more in depth look at the Symphath culture and society and we also get a look at some surprising developments within the Brotherhood. Not all the brothers have a starring role, but there is enough of each of the brothers that you know for certain that they are all back and in the game fighting the good fight to save the race. There is much I won’t say here because I don’t want to spoil the experience for you. Let me just say that Wrath and Bella (cried a lot with this story line), Xhex and John (this story line near about broke my heart), Thor and Lash are all prominently featured.  Surprises abound! Truths are revealed. And yes there is some serious avenging going on.

J.R. Ward continues to expose, nurture and cultivate this world one book at a time with powerful dialogue, exciting prose and dynamic characters that stay in your mind long after you’ve read the last page.  The biting wit, the loving camaraderie, the explosive action and the romance are all in play here and kept this reader at the edge of her seat and wanting more.

24 Responses to “Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward”

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  1. Gannon
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 8:18 am

    Excellent review, Marisa! As a rabid BDB fan, I’ve been dying for this book to come out. I went out yesterday to pick up my copy, which is currently tempting me. As soon as I finish writing my review, I’m going to delve right in! I cannot wait!!

  2. Kati
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 8:35 am

    Great review, Marisa. I’m going to read it…even if I’m a little unsure. I hope I have as positive a response as you do.

  3. katiebabs
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 8:39 am

    Your review gives me hope that I will enjoy this latest by Ward. I adore Rehv and I so want him to get his HEA. Out of all the brothers, I think he suffers the most. Hopefully my expectations won’t be too hugh.

  4. Laura
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 8:57 am

    Hi Marisa,
    Like a child on Christmas morning waiting for her parents to wake up so she can open her gifts, that’s me. I ordered mine on line and have been going to the mailbox everyday thinking this is it. I have never looked more forward to a book than this one. I love the series, and have you to thank for that. Last August when I first found your web site, I was intrigued by your Ward footage. I had only read one other paranbormal series in my life(Dodd’s Darkness Chosen series)I wasn’t sure about vampire’s. But I gave it a try because of your reviews. I started with the second one first, because Dark Lover was not abvailable at the store. I was hooked. I devoured them all, much to my husbands chargin, I let all house, wife and mother duties go. I was lost in another world that I did not want to leave. I hope that the sympath life is explained, because I still don’t understand what they exactly do.

  5. Marisa
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 10:29 am

    Gannon, I can’t believe you have the discipline to wait. I do hope you enjoy it.

    Kati, please let me what you think when you’re finished – I can’t wait to discuss it with you. I think we might agree to disagree, but it will be very interesting hearing your take on it.

    Katiebabs, I know what you mean. I always have some trepidations about reading a book when my expectations are high.(I hope you and Rehv have an enjoyable plane ride.)

    Laura – thanks so much for your kind words. I’m with you when it comes to this series. I feel very invested in the characters and the world and when I start reading them it is definitely a beginning to end one shot deal for me.

  6. Heather Brewer
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 10:37 am

    Great review Marisa.

    I loved this book. To me it didn’t seem like it had quite as much going on as Phury’s book did (loved it even though so many hated it) so I highley suggest that every read Phury if you haven’t and then read LA. It was an overall great book. I can’t wait for John and Xhex’s story, last I heard theirs is next (unless something has changed) I am ready to see where this is going to go.

  7. katiebabs
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 11:12 am

    Hopefully Rehv and Ehlena have fun with his barb and all that.
    Sorry, had to mention that. *barb shudder*

  8. Jessica
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 11:12 am

    I picked up my copy of Lover Avenged yesterday. I have read all the other Brotherhood books and like so many fans was going crazy waiting for it to be released. I was not disappointed as I have already finished it. I’m hoping there will be more stories for these guys. I was worried this would be the end but since Heather pointed out the next story will be for John and Xhex I find I’m happy again. If anyone hears of a release date for the next book please let me know.

  9. Gannon
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 2:11 pm

    Marisa, I don’t know if it’s as much discipline as guilt if I don’t get my review finished and sent to you. Besides, having LOVER AVENGED “staring” at me from it’s spot on my coffee table just gives me added incentive. 😀

  10. orannia
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 4:21 pm

    Thank you Marisa! Ummm….I haven’t actually read your review as I wasn’t sure if there were any spoilers in it and I wanted to check first as I will have to wait until my library receives its copies of Lover Avenged before I can read it 🙁 I will survive the wait (I think)…but will probably be walking around the blogsphere with a blindfold and earmuffs on 🙂

  11. Rox
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 5:35 pm

    I’ve been a little in love with Revhenge since Lover Awakened and have been eagerly awaiting a better look into him. Cannot wait to read this.

  12. Darlynne
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 6:03 pm

    Thank you for an excellent review. Not because you loved it, but because you explained your rating so clearly and without revealing any secrets. I keep checking my mailbox and feel certain the book will appear eventually. In the meantime, thanks for providing a safe and effective fix.

  13. Stacy ~
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 9:09 pm

    I’ve become a little less enamored of the series as it’s gone on, so with this one I’ll be waiting for paperback. Your review however, Marisa, is just outstanding. It has me optimistic about reading it. I admit that though I’ve been disappointed at times, I’m still insatiably curious about the Brotherhood, so I will be back for more.

  14. Mandy Morris
    on May 2nd, 2009
    @ 9:29 am

    Well Marisa… you did your job well.. a great review…and have made me insanely frustrated to read this book. I too am a ‘rabid’ fan of the Brothers and have read and reread the series several times… which I am doing now in anticipation of the book. I live in Canada….having just moved back here from the states… I had forgotten things are usually released a tad differently here… so off I go on the 28th..(my birthday incidentally) to my local bk store and guess what….I came home very very sad… I have to wait until later this week… I’m managing to hang on..which is tough reading reviews like yours and watching the BDB message boards, but so far there seem to be many happy readers world over.

    I somehow always knew there was more to Rhev than met the eye…

    Thanks again for the great review… I envy you your job… it must be heaven!!!

  15. Lisa
    on May 4th, 2009
    @ 12:18 pm

    I just wanted to say that I still love reading the black dagger brotherhood series by j.r ward and will continue reading them until she is done with this series. To me they continue to keep me on the edge of my seat and make me wanting to find out what will happen next. I have already read Lover Avenged and thought it was wonderful just like the previous books she has wrote on this series. I love that fact that Rhev finally found some one to love and can’t wait to find what happens next with john, payne etc …. I’m already waiting for the next book to come out.

    Thanks for your review, it was great!
    I always new somehow Rhev would find Love!

  16. Alyson
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 12:49 pm

    I just finished reading Lover Avenged and I loved it. I think the review is perfect. I have read all of the BDB books and I liked each and everyone of them, I think they each brought there own wonderfulness to the series. I hope there are many more books to follow this can’t be the end of MY BOYS…..

  17. Cyndi
    on May 11th, 2009
    @ 9:55 am

    Loved your review, which I read after I finished the book. I am a die hard BDB fan and this book was the BEST! I am already on pins and needles about the next. Rhev is such a wonderful multi-dimensional figure.

  18. Genay
    on May 14th, 2009
    @ 2:24 pm

    I loved the book and you were spot on with the review. I do have a question tho. JR talked about the number of books she plans. I think it was in the unofficial guide or something. I can’t remember how many .. I think John has a book, Tohrment has one, Payne … are there any others? I mean those are the ones still to come. Who am I missing?

  19. Kelly
    on May 16th, 2009
    @ 3:58 pm

    I am so mad at myself! I read the book too quickly! Now I have nothing to read until “Covet” comes out in September 2009.

  20. Erin
    on May 16th, 2009
    @ 8:23 pm

    I absolutely loved Lover Avenged. In fact, I’m reading it again, as well as the previous Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. These guys are awesome and I hope to see more.

  21. chantal
    on May 19th, 2009
    @ 4:42 pm

    when i started reading the BDB seris i didnt hasve a clue what to expect from them and know i cant imagine not having them in my collection they are by far the best books to read, heart stopping, mind boggling non action and a whole world of love from both shellans and brothers alike, when i got this book i couldnt wait to read it, so much so i started reading it 5 minuets after getting and was instantly swept back into there lives. greatest serise ever

  22. afton
    on May 21st, 2009
    @ 7:59 pm

    I loved this book
    I have a question the go out to everyone
    Is there a way to get all the book on audio / cd
    or downloaded?
    I would love to them but hard to find

  23. romance novel blogs
    on May 29th, 2009
    @ 7:18 pm

    […] I said: […]

  24. Rosalie Kinstel
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 11:25 pm

    I love all the books, I didn’t think I would. I was Twilight Fan. These books so blow Twilight out of the water. I can’t believe I’m finished with all of them in about a month. I’m so sad . Now I have nothing to read.. Well plenty to read , but no Brotherhood Books. I can’t wait for John and Zhex’s book. It should sizzle.

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