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Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 441 Pages
Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle

Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2)
Rhage, Rhage Against the Dying of the Light

He's the brother with the biggest monkey on his back. Or...you know...raging, slavering monster. Whichever.

Cursed by the Scribe Virgin to bear the beast for 200 years, the brother Rhage is forced to keep himself level or risk transforming into eight feet of teeth, claws, and mindless slaughter. He uses sex, lots and lots of sex, and fighting to keep himself even-keeled as he counts down the days until he's free. The best of the Brotherhood at hand-to-hand combat and as good looking as a fallen angel, his brothers envy his way with the ladies even as they respect his mad skills and fear his beast of burden.

No one, not even those he calls brothers, have the first clue that with each shallow, meaningless coupling, each flash of the beast, his soul is dying by degrees, leaving him teetering on the brink of despair and starved for the peace of genuine emotional connection. Then one night, as he lurches through the underground hallways, nearly blind from a recent transformation, he hears a sweet, dulcet-toned voice and feels a wave of calm the likes of which he hasn't felt since well before the night he was cursed.

He has to find the woman who has that voice, woo her, and keep her forever.

Full human Mary Luce, a warrior in her own right, though her battles are waged on a different battlefield, doesn't understand why her friend and neighbor Bella would hook her up on a blind date with someone as stunningly gorgeous as Hal, and she sure doesn't trust the man when he ignores every gorgeous woman blatantly throwing themselves at him. She's well aware of her physical limitations.

And his showing up at her house, well, that's just weird. So she does everything she can think of to push him away, until a surprise attack from lessers puts her life in danger and pulls her into a world of vampires and warriors. But it sure can't be any more deadly than the specter of the big C that is stalking her. And as a vampire is bonding to her despite her best intentions and she feels herself falling for him, devastating news puts a chilling end date to their relationship.

The second book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series sparks a plethora of plot threads and introduces us to characters that are destined to become series favorites. The world is fleshed out more, we spend some more time with the Scribe Virgin (now I'm sure I don't like her), get a closer look at some of those nasty, baby powder-smelling lessers, and once again enjoy a balanced blend of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. In that regard, Lover Eternal was just as fully satisfying at the first book in the series.

But I noticed some things that got on my nerves a little in this one, so I stopped to wonder why. I realized that as much as I liked Rhage, he was a little slow on the uptake about his beast's reaction to Mary, and you'd think the brothers would've thought up a better way (or any at all, really) of dealing with his curse after over a hundred years of it. And on a personal level, I loathed something Rhage did after he'd moved Mary into his room at the Brotherhood, but was even more disturbed by Mary's reaction to it. And speaking of...

I wasn't as fond of Mary as I was of Rhage, and couldn't seem to warm up to her until well into the book when she finally started letting Rhage in a little. From the moment she had a little face-to-face with beastie boy, she totally won me over, but there was a lot of book before that and some of the parts that included her were a bit of a struggle.

By the way, what's the deal with the Omega? I could've sworn there was a better explanation or more of an imposing presence from him from my memories of the first time through the first two books of the series. This time around, though, he seems more like a faceless, anonymous bully than the force of all evil against the vampires. And I totally don't get why he hasn't recruited a much larger and more competent army.

To be fair, the lessers really aren't the driving force for my admiration of this book or the series, and they certainly aren't the reason I read either. The Brothers are. And their females. And their world. And the layered, blended, intricate plots. So far, really, so good. With the second book of the series done and the third (hint: my favorite) just inches from my grasp, we're just getting started. Hop on for the ride.


Mandi said...

I didn't like Mary at first either..but by the end I thought she was a good match for Rhage. Fun reread!

Tracy G. Fragassi said...

Hey, Mandi!
Thanks for the comment. I agree, by the end, I thought Mary was a great match for Rhage. In fact, though she'd grown on me a bit earlier than this, the scene in which she's trying to keep Rhage from gobbling up V and Z and she bellows, "Back the fuck off!" when they keep trying to get her away safely...well...like the brothers, I fell a little in love with her myself. She had bigger stones than I in that scene, for sure!

I've so enjoyed re-reading this series and re-acquainting myself with all the things that made it so very special to me the first time around.

I hope you stick around for my take on Z's book which is coming soon! Thanks for stopping by OGBDA!

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

I love Rhage, but Mary was a milk toast in the beginning. Like you, she did grow on me and by the end I thought she and Rhage were good together. The Lessers are quite possibly the most impotent (lol) villains in all of romance/paranormal literature.

Tracy G. Fragassi said...

Hey, Julia!
Thanks for stopping by. You are SO right about the Lessers!! Ugh - As a reader, I've always found them to be rather incompetent idiots who, after the centuries fighting, should be a little more able to formulate an effective offense. And as I'm going through this whole re-reading thing, I can't help but be disappointed from a story perspective. Pastey-boy X mentioned that the lesser org was down to 35-ish members in the first book. I wasn't sure if that was world-wide or just that particular chapter, but regardless...that doesn't exactly seem like a dangerous amassed army no matter how low the vampire population is. And if the Brotherhood are killing off a couple of Lessers a week...well...wouldn't they get to the end of that 35 pretty quickly? How fast can they recruit, really? And they've been at war with the Brothers all this time? And I've NEVER been clear on just how much power the Omega has to make them.

There have always been those nasty little questions and inconsistencies in the Lesser/Omega mythos but the first time around, I was so much more focused on the relationships between the Brothers, not to mention the romance aspects, that I never really focused on it. When I do focus on it, it just doesn't seem to work for me.

Impotent villains.


Ain't that just the picture perfect appellation. I'm SO glad you commented!!


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Ratings Guide

Here is a rundown of what the star ratings mean to me! It's not a perfect system, so you may see me add in a .5 star here and there if my impression of the book falls somewhere between these:

5 Stars - Loved it
4 Stars - Liked it
3 Stars - It's okay
2 Stars - Didn't like it
1 Star - Hated it

2014 Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Tracy has read 22 books toward her goal of 175 books.


Tracy's bookshelf: read

Zero at the BoneHead Over HeelsLord of the WolfynIn Total SurrenderA Win-Win PropositionNorth of Need

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