As part of my challenge to read or J.R.Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series I've made it to book 6 Lover Enshrined!
What I say: In this "frighteningly addictive" paranormal romance saga there's a war raging between vampires and their slayers. Here are the stories of a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. And now a dutiful twin must choose between two lives...
Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.
As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love...
What I say: Self sacrifice is Phury's mantra! He's spent his entire life with survivors guilt from being the twin left behind. His whole life revolves around saving people, he has a real white knight complex. Phury relies on drugs (his red smoke) to dull the guilt, pain and emptiness, but never really deals with his feelings of inadequacy. Phury's masochistic streak saw him shooting off part of his own leg to save Zsadist and spending 200 years celibate as retribution for being the twin left behind, he pushes his feelings for Bella aside and even gives up his choice in love for Vishous's happiness.
Lover Enshrined is very different from the previous books in the BDB series, it's less about insta-love and more about Phury's fall from grace and self destruction. I liked seeing Phury lash out and react because it was better that no reaction! He did drive me insane at times with his feelings of being unworthy.
I found it hard to warm to Cormia because unlike the other female characters she's quiet and understated. At first I found her weak and irritating, but as I continued reading Cormia became more likeable and I felt that her inner calm suited Phury. What I had initially taken as weakness was really a result of a different upbringing and a lack of choices. Away from the Chosen Cormia comes into herself and her inner strength appears and ultimately saves Phury from himself.
A lot of Lover Enshrined focuses on the secondary characters. John, Qhuinn and Blay have a lot of pages as does Rehv and Lash. The horrors of John's past are revealed to the trainees. I really enjoyed the insights into Rehv's life. Until now he's been Bella's gangster brother and Phury's dealer, but Ward really shows us the horror of his life and the secrets he keeps. The twist with Lash was very clever and I see him having a big impact in the future.
I had been waiting for Tohr's return, although it didn't really happen as I had expected. But with all the Lesser attacks, the Brotherhood really need him back.
At times I almost forgot I was reading a paranormal/fantasy book because a lot of Lover Enshrined focuses on drama rather than the supernatural. It is still a great read, just not my favourite in this great series!
4 Stars in my Sky!
My fav my fav non-spoilery:
- In the clinic's waiting area, a trio of granny-haired slayers were doing the thumpty dance with Zsadist and Rehvenge.
- "You have what I call a 'male brow'. Which is a frown brought on when you're thinking about your male and you either want to boot him in the ass or wrap your arms around him."
- After John's Oscar de la Hoya routine, Phury's face felt as if it had been spit-broiled and put on a bed of fresh-cut I've-hit-bottom.
- That particular kind of music reminded him too much of his twin... who wasn't singing anymore.