Lover Enshrined, by J. R. Ward

19 Jun

Lover Enshrined, by J. R. Ward

Is anyone tired of seeing reviews for this one all over the place? Well, tough luck, it’s my turn and I’m not forfeiting it, so there!

*ahem*

(Besides, this one is going to be much more superficial than most of my other reviews, so it’s not as if you’ll learn anything interesting here.)

Lover Enshrined is the sixth installment in Ms Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. While the first five installments are mostly paranormal romance, this novel seems to take this universe in a slightly different direction, more into the urban fantasy saga with romantic elements subgenre.

To begin, trying to get into the series by starting with this book would not be a good idea. While the first three books (Dark Lover, Lover Eternal and Lover Awakened) can be read out of order with minimal gaps, and focus on the romance between each main couple, the next three are increasingly more dependent on the overall arc to make sense. There is also much more detail in the world building to keep track of.

If you have read the first five books, follow me down the rabbit hole…

This is the back cover blurb:

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…

Going by the blurb, one would think that this novel focuses mainly on the romantic relationship between Phury and Cormia. That’s not really how it is, though. The novel has a much wider scope than the romance.

There are something like… six? seven? different plots running through the book. Three, no, four of these are overarching plotlines—John Matthew and his sidekicks Blaylock and Quihn; Tohrment’s fate; Rehvenge, Xhex and the whole sympath bit; the Lessening Society, the Omega, and the war. Then we have a few other secondary plots started in Lover Unbound, the previous novel: Bella’s pregnancy, Layla dealing with John Matthew’s rejection, oh, and the Scribe Virgin dealing with Payne—her daughter, Vishous’ twin.

On top of that, we discover in the prologue that time is not fixed in this universe, and near the end of the novel we also learn that apparently the BDB’s Pantheon is not closed of but has some sort of *ahem* relationship with Judeo Christian religious traditions.**

I lost track of how many points of view there are, but that didn’t bother me—personally, I thought it was well done because it helped me keep track of the many different threads.

What did bother me—beyond the usual complaints about brand name dropping, and the Brothers’ cutesy slang, and the flat characterization of the heroines, and the abuse of those poor “h”s (really, won’t anyone think of the poor “h”s???)—was the willful breaking of the rules within the BDB universe.

At this point in time, there are many rules to keep track of, and some of the previous rules suddenly don’t apply. Major pet peeve of mine—started in Lover Unbound but it was repeated in this one—is the whole “only the Primale can impregnate the Chosen” thing. Then, if I may ask, what was the whole deal in Lover Eternal with Layla, and her needing, and “we have been waiting to serve the Brotherhood and for the Brothers to give us children”?

And, if the Primale has to “lie with all the Chosen” then why are only some of them trained in ehros? How could there be sequestered Chosen, if they are all the Primale’s mates?

Oh, and Marissa can vote for her family—since she’s the eldest sibling—and override a majority voting (Lover Revealed), but a female cannot lead the glymera council?

*ahem*

Not that these things bother me or anything.

And yet, I liked Lover Enshrined. I liked it enough that I read it in one session, pretty much inhaling the thing.

I liked it despite all the many things that bothered me, and for the life of me I can’t point to any single thing and say, “I liked that, that was good.” I really don’t know why I liked it; I only know that I did.

And so, I cannot give this one a grade.

I can tell you, however, that I’m definitely not following the BDB to hardcover, so I’ll have to wait *wail* until the paperback release of the next installment, Lover Avenged (hardcover out sometime in 2009).

I can also tell you that this series is, indeed, addictive.

** For readers familiar with the BDB forums, the character in question is, apparently, rather well known. For every other reader, the entire thing is completely left field.

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  1. Changing direction | Her Hands, My Hands - 14/04/2015

    […] by the time the sixth novel, Lover Enshrined, came out, I was getting ready to bail. At the time, I wrote (in […]

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