As I started to read Lover Enshrined, my fellow reviewer Gemma commented that Phury’s book was her least favourite of the series. And to a certain extent I have to agree. I must really importantly state that as usual the plot was brilliant and Ward sucked me into the story unfailingly. This series is quite simply awesome. But, and I hate to say there is a but, I found Phury infuriatingly full of self-pity.
We all know that Phury is a drug addict, his spiral into addiction has grown as the books have progressed. But I found myself getting completely frustrated watching his drug addiction and self deceit spiral out of control. I felt like he needed a serious kick up the behind and I think his twin brother Z was first in-line to deliver it. But this is not the perception I’ve had of him in previous books, I’ve found him noble, caring and willing to give just about anything for the people he cares about. And this sense of his character seemed to get a bit lost in his own story. It wasn’t even that I didn’t care what happened to him, this is J.R. Ward’s writing after all! But I found him irritating.
In contrast, I loved the gentle and elegant Cormia. Her journey from a timid, secluded chosen (read vampire brood mare), to an independent, brave woman was lovely. There were times when she needed to get just a little more spine. But I guess if you’ve lead a secluded life, it would probably take you a while to grow one. The love story between her and Phury was patchy, I think this goes back to my issues with his addictions, but still immensely enjoyable.
As I think I’ve said in all of my reviews to date of this series, I pretty much love every scene that John Matthew is in. There were some scenes in this book where I could have weeped for him. He is such an amazing, fascinating and compelling character. Interestingly, I’ve always seen Quinn and Blay kind of as his side kicks until this book. Although I think John would see things the other way around. But their stories completely took on a life of their own. From Quinn’s unexpected, ruthless actions, to the surprising and unexpected love story that has potential to blossom between him and Blay. They suddenly edged in just behind John Matthew as characters I couldn’t wait to see glimpses of as the pages turned.
We see much more of Rhev, the sympath drug lord in Lover Enshrined. I never thought I would route for a drug dealer, but I do hope his cruel blackmailer gets what’s coming to them in the next book. Rhev’s on the very edge, on that super thin line where very dark heroes lie. But he, like most of Ward’s heroes completely captivate you.
Of course I can’t finish my review without taking about the plot. And where I may have felt somewhat let down by Phury as a hero, the story more than made up for any of his shortcomings! Holy smokes what a roller coaster. I’d got into thinking, particularly after Butch’s book, that the Lessers had become a dwindling threat. Not anymore. In Lover Enshrined be prepared for murder and mayhem galore, because the Lessers are back with a bang and the brothers and entire vampire population are left reeling. There’s a big surprise, and I mean big. It’s not a good one either.
Another superb instalment from Ward. I think I may have used that word a lot in my reviews of the series, but honestly these books are just sooo good. Yes, I had issues with Phury, that brother needed a good shake, at times with the aid of a giant bat! But… It didn’t diminish my enjoyment. The writing was brilliant, the plot, the supporting characters … awesome. I urge all of you, if you haven’t already, pick up these books now!
Rating: 4 Stars
Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward
(Black Dagger Brotherhood #6)
Piatkus Books (June 2008)
Paperback: 534 pages