Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #7
Author: J.R. Ward
Pages: 556 (Kindle edition)
Release Date: April 28, 2009
Caldwell, New York, has long been the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It's also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and owner of a notorious night club that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he's approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King and leader of the Brotherhood.
Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood-even though his sister is married to a member, for he harbors a deadly secret that could make him a huge liability in their war against the lessers. As plots within and outside of the Brotherhood threaten to reveal the truth about Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in his darkening world, Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him-and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.
It seems like Lover Enshrined marked a turning point for the series. There were a lot of smaller plots happening in the larger scheme of things, and the romance took a back seat. It was also missing a lot of Ward's token slang, which I oddly missed. Now in Lover Avenged, we continue to get many smaller stories, but this time each chapter only has one or two POVs, rather than three or more. This had been one of the things that bothered me most in the earlier books, so I'm glad for the change.
This is Rehvenge's book, and I was definitely curious about him. I didn't really like him when he first appeared in the books. He's kind of scary, but getting little glimpses into his life in the last book helped change my mind about him. He's struggling to control his sympath side with drugs, and attempting to keep it a secret by giving into blackmail. I wasn't really clear on what sympaths were, even after meeting the creepy ass princess (whom we learn a bit more about and makes their relationship all the more distressing). I definitely wouldn't want to cross one of them, and it definitely explains why other vampires are nervous around him.
His story is utterly heartbreaking. While it's not as good as Zsadists, Rehv's is definitely one of the best. He's a good man caught in a horrible situation. He's doing the best he can to protect those he loves, even if that costs him his life. He's doing all the wrong things, but for the right reason, until he meets Ehlena. Then he tries to do all the right things, for the right reason, but hurts everyone along the way.
I really liked Ehlena. Her family has falling quite a way from the glymera and she's barely covering her father's medical bills with ner nursing job. She's determined and devoted though, and has a no-nonsense attitude when Rehv acts inappropriately toward her in the examination room. Both of them are similar in their loneliness, and it was great watching them find each other. It's not an easy road by any means for these two, but I couldn't get enough of them.
We also finally get back into Wrath's head! The Blind King has been mostly sitting at his desk since the first book, but he's sick of it. He reluctantly took his place as king, and he's beginning to feel useless. He misses being out in the field and being an active Brother, especially now that the Lessers seem to have the upper-hand. Vampire high society isn't too happy with their king either, so Wrath needs to be careful around his own, too. Treason isn't the also problem our king has to face this time around: one of Vishous' visions is finally coming to fruition, and Wrath will never be the same again.
We also get the official return of Tohrment! His story is heartbreaking as he tries to find his place in life again. He's let down John in every way, and now he has to watch him on his downward spiral. However, Lassiter provides some much needed comica relief in this otherwise heavy book. I wasn't sure about the angels' addition to the series in the previous book, but his banter with the Brother's has landed him a special place in my hear.
I am utterly addicted to this series. After the disappointment of the last book, Lover Avenged has got this series back on track. A ton of separate plot lines collide into one giant action packed, heartbreaking, shock inducing, adventure. We also get to see different sides of all of the characters as they deal with all of the issues that arise in this book. Especially Xhex. She may not be as tough as she's made out to be, and I'm so glad her book is next, more so since her tale ends on a cliffhanger.