"In the shadows of the night in New York there exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion - until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.
Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist's thirst for vengeance against Bella's tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her . . ."
This is the third Black Dagger Brotherhood book and follows Zsadist's story, which really started in the previous book, Lover Eternal. There he met Bella for the first time, and then she was kidnapped by the lessers. Zsadist shocked his brothers with his reaction to her abduction, because he's known as a killer. Someone who doesn't treat women with anything more than contempt. No one trusts him with Bella, but his obvious drive to save her can't be ignored. It's Bella who needs to stay strong to rescue Zsadist though.
I loved this book. It was gripping, intense and painful reading. Particularly the flashback scenes to how Z was tortured a couple of centuries ago, and how he's still torturing himself now. Pain is what he knows and understands. He struggles to accept that it's at all possible for Bella, for any female, to love him. Some of Z's thoughts on himself are heartbreaking to read. I loved how he and Bella grew and dealt with each other over the course of the book.
Aside from Bella and Z, we learn a lot more about Phury (Z's twin) and John Matthew throughout the book as well. John is easily my favourite side character in this book. I liked finding out more about Phury because we didn't know too much about him before hand, but I'm far more curious about John. I like that he's got his own background we're just seeing glimpses of, rather than just being a flat padding character. Butch's continued involvement in the brotherhood, as the only human to be so, also gets a fair bit of page time, which a very surprising twist towards the end.
There is heartbreak in more than one way in this book. And a fair few tears were shed on my part through it. But while the ending was fantastic, I couldn't help feeling just a little cheated over something. We got a fair bit from John through this book, but when a couple of big incidents happened, John's reaction to them (which should have been big) was mostly ignored. Which I thought was a real shame and after everything we got of him before that moment, I felt a little cheated by it. I also felt that there should have been more on a certain other brother with regard to the events that happened. I'm not naming names for spoilers sake, but this particular brother was hugely involved and his reaction was (rightly) massive, but then...nothing. 2 months get skipped over for the final chapter and in the last chapter I really wish there had been mention of what was going on with him, but it was very strictly a Zsadist/Bella chapter. Which makes sense as it was their book, but still, I was disappointed by that.
Still, it is a great book and that is only a small complaint. It's fast paced and intense. Like the two books before it, I had a really tough job putting it down. I am still fascinated by all of the brothers and their lives and I'm looking forward to reading the next book, Lover Revealed, soon! 8/10