REVIEW: Lover Awakened by JR Ward
Dear Ms. Ward:
You hardly need another letter from one more fan about how much she loved your book, but what the hell.
This story is about Zsadist and Bella. Zsadist was stolen from his family as a babe and was sold as a slave. He came to be the sexual slave of a terrible woman who used him for a century in unnatural and abusive acts to the point that Zsadist was famously referred to as “ruined, not broken.” Bella is an aristocrat vampire who has been taken by a lesser who falls in love with her. Bella learns, over the course of her captivity where she is kept in a hole (it reminded me of how the guy kept the women in pits in Silence of the Lambs) that she can exert some type of control upon the
lesser by being emotionally cruel. Bella feels herself dying as she becomes a person she despises.
Zsadist was touched by Bella and seeks to find her even though most of the vampire world believe her to be dead. Even Zsadist acknowledges that she must be dead but somehow he is driven to find her. A series of events leads to Bella’s release and sets into motion Zsadist’s thirst for revhenge (as you spell it).
As Bella is recovering, she feels safe only around Zsadist but Zsadist believes himself to be ruined, emotionally and physically. He drank the blood of his tormentor and believes himself to be corrupted and dirty both inside and out. There are some tragic scenes portraying Zsadist emotional state. I would think that the power of these scenes would be difficult for someone to read if they had suffered similar torments as a child.
Complicating the situation is that Phury also feels drawn to Bella, the first woman in centuries to stir him from his vow of celibacy. Phury’s desire for Bella wars with his desire to see his brother Zsadist happy. While I wanted Bella and Zsadist to achieve their HEA, I ached for Phury. It is amazing how you have made me feel for each character in turn.
Bella was stronger than Mary and more interesting. She suffered a great deal at the hands of the lesser; yet she was able to recover and not only recover but be brave to try to love Zsadist, to try to bring healing to him. She was obviously the stronger of the two. She tooks chances to achieve happiness even knowing that to love Zsadist may be a lost cause.
Perhaps some of the most touching scenes were between Phury and Zsadist and the reclamation of their relationship. Those were the scenes that brought tears to my eyes. (I am beginning to see the appeal of the man/man love because I thought the Hoyt/Cian relationship in Nora Robert’s Morrigan’s Cross was compelling too). Lover Awakened is quite long but as I was reading it, I kept thinking “oh, how wonderful that there is more to this story” rather than “will I ever get to the end.”
There is much that goes on in this story and new characters are introduced but I was never once overwhelmed. The names are still ridiculous. There was a character construct that I thought wasn’t well explained. The story still has very homoerotic overtones. 3 naked men in a bed? Men won’t even sit next to each other in a movie theater let alone lay next to each other. IN BED. NAKED. But anyway, I am really becoming emotionally invested in this series and with all the characters. I can hardly wait for the next one to come out. In the meantime, I’ll console myself with re-reading the first three. This one is a keeper. A-.