Yes! J.R.Ward has done it again and “Lover Avenged” is a return to the style of her earlier books. I cried, more than once, while reading this story. A character I really never though I could admire became a hero, and one I already admired became whatever term there is for more-than-a-hero. Fans of the ‘Black Dagger Brotherhood’ will rave, I’m just headed to make some room on my keeper shelf!
Rehv, Rehvenge, or the Reverend…whatever name you use, he’s still the same man. Part vampire, part symphath-he’s a creature damned by his blood, his birth, and his people; yet somehow he’s managed to carve out a life (of sorts) that enables him to take care of those he loves…his mother, his sister, his friends, his employees. For a man who lives amidst the wallow of drugs and death, he is kind and loyal to his friends, and death to those who cross him. This same creature is one who has sacrificed more than most can imagine in their worst nightmares…and continues to do so only for others…asking next to nothing for himself. So what happens when a creature like this has to make a decision between himself and a woman who would be the only one who could save him?
Ehlena. She lives a life far different from her peers. Her bloodlines are impeccable, yet she’s stretching every penny. Her beauty is that of the glymera, yet she can’t remember her last date. She’s trapped, willingly, into a life caring for her schizophrenic father. She’s a nurse, she’s a carer, she knows the difference between right and wrong and believes everyone deserves to be saved. She’s also one of the few nurses who can deal with the frightening man who’s a regular at the clinic. Their friendship has a rocky start, but quickly becomes what neither was looking for. Will she be strong enough to save Rehvenge?
There are a ton of reviews on the plot line of “Lover Avenged”. Instead of rehashing those, I’ll say what I liked about this book. Ward has given us a deeper look into those on the fringes of her world’s societies. Creating a character that’s a drug dealer and a killer; then turning him into a hero is NOT something most writers could successfully accomplish. Rehv is an anti-hero hero–probably one of the most human and complex characters Ward has written. She’s done a fabulous job of showcasing sacrifice and redemption…and not just for Rehv and Ehlena. In this story, we get more on the current situation with Wrath and Beth…and I dare you NOT to cry. Yes, there’s sadness; but there’s also a victory; victories in the plural really, in this story about dealing with the worst deck life can deal; and doing so with a strange kind of honor.
The stark emotional swings I felt while reading “Lover Avenged” were those of a cathartic nature. There were sad tears and happy tears; characters I loved and characters I hated; all wrapped up in the tension of suspense, relief, hope, and sometimes horror, that didn’t let up until the final scene of the book. As always when I read, I try to imagine myself as a character in the book. In this book, I wanted to be at least three of the characters, all at different times.
For me, “Lover Avenged” and J.R.Ward have taken the BDB series in another ‘zag’; but it’s one that’s reminiscent of the first few books in the series so it’s rather like coming BACK instead of heading out. I don’t mind. I’m enjoying this crazy, frightening, wonderful, and scary journey…and I can’t wait to see where we’re going next!