Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward

"In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beast, Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood . . .

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover - for inside him burns a ferocious curse. Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

May Luce, a survivor of many hardships, is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and is reliant on Rhage's protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. But when Rhage's intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves . . ."

This is the second book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and I loved it from beginning to end. Rhage lives with a beast inside of him, constantly afraid it's going to come out and hurt those he loves. He has ways of keeping it as chained in as possible, by fighting daily and, well, a very active sex life. He's nicknamed 'Hollywood' because of his stunning good looks and his ability to have any girl he wants. But for him it's a hollow act, something he does to keep his beast satisfied as best he can, and something he wishes he could do without. Mary is a human with no idea her best friend and next door neighbor, Bella, is a vampire. She knows what it's like to fight something inside you have no control over though, she's fought leukemia and won, but now it looks like it's back. Their meeting changes things, for both of them, in a big way. But it isn't exactly all for the better.

This whole book was a rollercoaster of intense emotion. It had me laughing and crying. The ending is immense and I was in floods of tears a couple chapters from the end, feeling the pain both Rhage and Mary did as if it was real. There is, of course, some intrusion of lessers in this book, but I found myself hurrying through those parts to get back to Rhage and Mary. I love them both individually, and together. Like Wrath and Beth in book one, Dark Lover, they're very well rounded, real characters who you can't help feeling for. We also see a fair bit more of Zsadist in this book. The next one, Lover Awakened, is his story but it starts here in this one and I'm already falling for him.

I love the detail given not only to the main characters, but to the secondary ones as well, and the world around them, how it works from an inside and outside view. It's something that helps stop the books from simply being a romance, and making them books that you can really get your teeth in to. And while there are certain things that are kind of predictable, there is a lot that happens that you don't see coming. For me, this book was just about impossible to put down. I got so wrapped up in Rhage and Mary that I seriously lost track of time. It's a fantastically woven story that leaves a lot open whilst giving greater depth to the characters we've already met, and introducing a few important new ones. Z's story is only just beginning in this one, and I am hungry to get in to the rest of it as soon as I can. But I don't need to read the rest of the series to know this one, Lover Eternal, is going to be a lasting favourite. Rhage and Mary's story is just too intense, too powerful and it's one that I know I'll be rereading a fair bit!! 10/10

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