Review: Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward

Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward (UK edition)

Title: Lover Eternal (A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novel, 2)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (3rd February 2011)

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 vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beat, Rhage is the most dangerous of the BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD . . .

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the best fighter, 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.

Mary Luce is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and 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 . . .

Rating: *** (3 stars)

LOVER ETERNAL is the second book in J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. This book takes place after DARK LOVER (review), the first book in the series, and the focus of the book shifts to a new member of the brotherhood – Rhage. Rhage has been cursed; forced to unleash and possessed by his dark side he is a danger to everyone around him. Mary faces her own curse, as her world threatens to come tumbling down around her.

If you are looking for a book/series with a unique take on things within the paranormal romance genre, then it would be fair to say that the Black Dagger Brotherhood is probably not the series for you. Having said that, despite the book’s predictability it is a really enjoyable and engrossing read. There is just something compelling about the world Ward creates, and the characters that inhabit it.

We first meet Rhage in DARK LOVER, where he is a background character. In LOVER ETERNAL he takes centre stage. I found Rhage a very interesting character as he is very conflicted: he is at once both resigned to his curse and terrified by it. The brotherhood is also horrified by it. Despite this, he is close to the other five members. Mary too is resigned to her life, but her resignation is calmer – she knows the path in front of her. To begin with I wasn’t too sure about the chemistry between the main characters, but as the story progressed I found myself thinking it worked.

The main plot of the book is, of course, the romance between Rhage and Mary – the will-they-won’t-they. Ward also weaves in the thread about the rise of the ‘lessers’, started in the first book, which helped tie the two books together for me. Whilst I enjoyed the main plot, I found the secondary plot a fascinating read – it was interesting to learn more about the ‘lessers’ and how they worked. It also served to create a tension in the book, like the calm before the storm which hopefully will lead to some intriguing future books.

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