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Friday, June 17, 2011

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Lover Awakened


TITLE: Lover Awakened
SERIES:
Book #3 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
AUTHOR: J.R. Ward
NARRATOR: Jim Frangione
PUBLISHER: Recorded Books
DATE OF PUBLICATION: August 18, 2009 (first published 2006)
FORMAT: Unabridged - 13 CDs - 15 hours, 13 minutes
GENRE: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1436187121

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS:


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. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…


MY REVIEW:

Another steamy one from Ward!

I enjoyed this one ever-so-slightly less than its predecessor, Lover Eternal, although I still enjoyed it immensely.

Zsadist, twin of Phury, is the most feared member of the Brotherhood. He is scarred, angry, and not to be trusted. In the words of Phury: "My twin's not broken. He's ruined."

Even though he is a little too old for the role, I could not help but picture the ultimate movie villain, Danny Trejo, as Zsadist:


He was a little younger here:


Alright, back to the book!

This book is a little darker simply because Zsadist's past is a tortured, painful one. He is a former blood slave who was used and abused in every possible way. Bella, whose bloodlines come from the aristocracy, finds herself inexplicably drawn to Zsadist. Although he, too, feels a connection, his self-loathing causes him to push her away.

The one word that I would use to describe Zsadist is "misunderstood." The years that he spent as a blood slave totally messed him up, and he just can't relate to any one or any thing in a normal fashion. The way that he thought of himself as dirty, unclean, and contaminated just broke my heart! What you see on the surface is so different from what we find beneath.

There is a lot of heartache in this one. Not just with Zsadist and Bella, but something happens which affects the entire Brotherhood. Don't worry, I won't spoil it!

Although at times it made me want to scream, I appreciated Ward's slow transition of Zsadist. With his painful past, it makes sense that his transformation would be the hardest.

Not typically a man of many words, Zsadist's actions spoke volumes about his character: His need to visit Bella's house to feel close to her, how he stood up for John, the way he tenderly and gently took care of Bella after her rescue. He is truly thoughtful and selfless.

I enjoyed the back-story of how Zsadist wound up as a blood slave and what made him the way that he is, and also learning more about Phury. And Phury's sacrifice at the end...what he did for Zsadist...it was gut-wrenching! Have that Kleenex box handy!

Once again, Ward has wooed me with her beautiful prose. Some of the most beautiful things I have ever heard came out of Zsadist's mouth. To Bella, he says: “I was dead until you found me, though I breathed. I was sightless, though I could see. And then you came…and I was awakened.”

I love Ward's strong female leads. Zsadist wanted to shelter and protect Bella because of her bloodline, but she proved in the end that she is as tough as nails -- as much as any of the Brothers. She is very well-matched to Zsadist in spite of their polar upbringings.

Ward develops her characters so beautifully that you cannot help but fall in love with them all by the end of each book!

I am chomping at the bit to see what happens in the next installment of the Black Dagger Brotherhood!

As always, Jim Frangione did a superb job with the narration. I would be disappointed if it was any other narrator at this point. Frangione *is* the BDB!

MY RATING: 4.5 stars!!

This book qualifies as:
#39 for my 2011 100+ Reading Challenge
#25 for my 2011 Audio Book Challenge
#25 for my 2011 "Whisper Stories in My Ear" Challenge
#15 for my What an Animal Reading Challenge IV 
#8 for my Vampire Challenge 2011
#7 for my 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge (Item #60)
#3 for my Black Dagger Brotherhood Reading Challenge
#3 for my Paranormal Romance Challenge 2011

17 comments:

  1. Hi!
    I saw your blog on Dedicated Book Reviewer and well.. I saw that your review was on the Black Dagger Brotherhood and I couldn't not check it out. I'm a huge fan of the series and Zsadist is one of my favorite brothers, although his brother isn't.. but that's irrelevant right now.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the book, trust me, it just gets better with every book! :)

    I'm now following your blog, mine's http://writtenmusings93.blogspot.com/

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  2. Hi, A. Santiago! Funny that you like Zsadist and not Phury!! Usually, fans are the other way around :) I like them both and loving the series!! I'm currently reading Lover Revealed. So far, my favourite has been the second one, Lover Eternal.

    Thanks for the follow, and I'm following back on yours!

    If you have any recommendations for me to read after the BDB series, I'd love to hear them! I'm already worried about going through withdrawal once this series is over :(

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  3. Darlene - I also thought Zsadist was a great character, perhaps my favorite of the brothers. Great review.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog page, and good luck in the drawing giveaway. ~ Nadja

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  4. Hey Darlene,

    I don't have a favorite book, I do have my fave moments in the series though. Don't worry about withdrawals, I've read up til the last published book and I'm sure there's more to come plus BDB is definitely a series to be re-read.

    I'm interested in reading Christine Feehan's Ghostwalker Series, maybe you've heard of it? Its a about genetically enhanced soldiers with psychic abilities. I'm a big fan of paranormal romance with a good gun/fighting action scene, besides the usual urban fantasy I read.

    Oh and my first name is Aquiria, I shortened it on my screen name because its in spanish so it can get a little confusing. Call me Aki :)

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  5. Nadja - thanks so much for stopping by! Zsadist is an unlikely romantic hero, so that just reinforces the strength of Ward's writing!

    Aki - I have heard of Christine Feehan but in reference to her Carpathians series. I have not yet read any of her works. I do agree that BDB is something that I know I will re-read in the future. It is so good! Other series that have been suggested to me so far are: Kelly Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld, Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse, Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter, and Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark. If you have read any of those series, I'd be interested in hearing your opinion!

    Anyone else that has suggestions for books like BDB to enjoy after I'm done with this series, please post!!

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  6. This series is fun, isn't it? I'm not a fanatic like a lot of people are, but they are good escapist reads. I think this would be a fun series to listen to on audio.

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  7. Hi, A Buckeye Girl Reads! Listening by audiobook is especially interesting when you get to the naughty bits: It feels like I'm eavesdropping on someone's intimate moments! I'm sure that I must be blushing!!

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  8. I adore these books and never ever thought of listening to the audio version. You have peaked my interest. I think I will see if my library has a copy. Any of them will do :)

    I love how so many fans have different versions of Zsadist in their mind. I have Wentworth Miller for both Fury and Zsadist. This is my Zsadist shot on how I picture him. Just imagine a scar on this face though. The shot is from People Magazine.
    http://www.people.com/people/package/gallery/0,,20193583_20036560_20050684,00.html

    Thanks! MichelleKCanada
    http://anotherlookbookreviews.blogspot.com/

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  9. Hi, Sue! Yes, they are addictive, aren't they?

    Hi, MichelleKCanada! I actually am not familiar with the name Wentworth Miller, but he looks like the actor from Prison Break. Is he the one? I do agree that he would make a good Zsadist!

    Since it will be a re-read for you, I highly recommend listening to Lover Eternal on audio. The steamy scenes between Rhage and Mary and so HOT!

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  10. i haven't read this series, but you caught my interest with the pics of danny.

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  11. Hi, vvb32! Thanks for stopping by! Are you a Trejo fan? If you like paranormal books, I think you would enjoy the series. I have posted book reviews for the first three. You should check out who I pictured Rhage to look like from the second book:

    http://darlenesbooknook.blogspot.com/2011/06/audiobook-review-lover-eternal.html

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  12. I love the BDB!! I haven't listened to any of the audiobooks, but once it's time for a reread I might look into them :)

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  13. Hi, Lauren! I have listened to the first three by audio, and now on the fourth. I've enjoyed them all!

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  14. Darlene,
    Sorry for the late reply. I've been working at freshman orientation at my university all this time.

    About the recommendations, the Sookie Stackhouse series is a definite in my TBR because I'm a huge fan of the tv series True Blood but I'm waiting until I buy an eReader so I can get my hands on it. Although I love getting my hands on a book and clutching the pages when it gets good, eBooks are cheaper and this series is one I'd like to read fast. lol.

    Christine Feehan's Dark Series is another TBR, and two days ago I got the first book on the Ghost Walker series called Shadow Game so I'll write a review on it soon. The Anita Blake series is another thing, I've read the first book and lots of reviews on the series and the last books of the series sort of... lose the concept of the case that Anita is solving and goes more into sex/orgies and I don't know what else. But a friend gave me whole series in eBooks, maybe I'll read them this year.

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  15. I love these audio books too! I just downloaded 3 of them 2 weeks ago from all you can books and I already listen to them. I also think that Zsadist is the best character. I just can't wait to listen the 4th as well!
    The review is great.Thanks!

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  16. Aki, sorry for the late reply as well :) It seems we have the same taste in reading material!

    Theresa, thanks for passing along that site. I haven't heard of it, but I will check it out! I agree, I love Zsadist!

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