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Saturday, August 13, 2011

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Lover Enshrined


TITLE: Lover Enshrined
SERIES:
Book #6 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
AUTHOR: J.R. Ward
NARRATOR: Jim Frangione
PUBLISHER: Recorded Books
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2008
FORMAT: Unabridged Audio CDs - 16 CDs, 17 hours and 44 minutes
GENRE: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1436117388

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS:

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...


MY REVIEW:

Phury is my least favourite member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I do feel that his actions are noble, such as: Taking the vow of celibacy to strengthen his character to not be deterred from finding his twin (Zsadist) [although I do think it would make more sense if his vow of celibacy had more to do with Zsadist's confinement as a blood and sex slave], shooting off his lower leg to save both himself and Zsadist, shaving his head and scarring his face to look like Zsadist in order to impersonate his twin, the list goes on. I do think it is in Phury's nature to help others to his own detriment, including stepping in as the Primale so that Vishous could be with Jane.

What I don't understand is why Phury's self-loathing causes him to be an addict.

So, let's talk about this story: As we learned in Lover Unbound, Phury is now the Primale and must mate with The Chosen to ensure the future strength of the vampire bloodlines. Although he accepts Cormia as his First Mate, the two never consummate their pairing. Phury becomes more and more withdrawn because he cannot face his future as the Primale, and he falls into a downward spiral that is out of control...so much so that he is released from the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Speaking of the BDB, that was another thing that bothered me: Why did Wrath cut him loose? Why didn't the brothers rally together and try to help Phury? I was a little stunned that this occurred, and it just seems so out of character for the Brotherhood to do this. Other members of the BDB were just as dangerous (Vishous and Zsadist come to mind), but they were never ousted.

I was frustrated with Phury for most of the book and did not understand his actions. There seemed to be a genuine attraction between Phury and Cormia, but Phury fought it for most of the book. Their pairing also isn't as passionate as what we've grown used to, such as Vishous and Jane or Zsadist and Bella. Another thing that bothered me was that it seemed that Cormia was the consolation prize because Phury couldn't have Bella. Although Bella does try to explain to Cormia that she doesn't believe that Phury is truly in love with her, I can't recall during the book whether Phury actually comes to that same conclusion? I think it is implied when he finally realizes that that the "dream mate" he sketches is actually Cormia, but I just wish that there was more said about Phury's feelings toward Bella. It just seems so...unresolved.

Ward always has such a way with words, and this has to be my favourite quote from the book which totally sums up Phury's personality:


Zsadist to Phury:
“For f____k’s sake, get off the cross. Someone else needs the wood.”


**SPOILER ALERT!

Phury's final noble act that takes place towards the end of the book was wonderful, and I enjoyed how Ward played this out. What I didn't understand was why this had to lead to Phury's exile. Phury gives up the Red Smoke and chooses only to be with Cormia, but it doesn't make sense to me why he cannot stay with the Brotherhood and fight with them.

I wound up listening to the end of the audiobook on my way home from work, and I was bawling! The ending was superb, and I was thrilled with Zsadist's actions. My heart simply melted.

Interestingly, I enjoyed the sub-plots more than the central story of Phury and Cormia. The Lash/John Matthew/Qhuinn/Blaylock storyline was great, and I was most surprised by the Qhuinn/Blaylock revelation.

The relationship between John Matthew and Xhex continues to grow more interesting by the book! I can't wait to see what transpires between these two!

Rehvenge is becoming more and more complex, and I love that Ward is digging deeper into his character. That man has a lot of layers! I thought what Lassiter says to Rehv is most interesting:

"The righteous do not always do right, but their souls remain pure. You are untainted at your core."

The return of someone who we thought was gone was hinted at throughout the book. I guessed correctly who that was, and we find out towards the end of the book who that is. I am curious how this storyline progresses in the next installment.

Narrator Jim Frangione is the perfect choice for this series. His voice breaks in all the right places, and it seems he gets as worked up as the rest of us during the naughty bits!

MY RATING: 4 stars! As frustrated as I was with some parts of the book, I still really liked it and would recommend it!

This book qualifies as:
#48 for my 2011 100+ Reading Challenge
#28 for my 2011 Audio Book Challenge
#28 for my 2011 "Whisper Stories in My Ear" Challenge
#20 for my What an Animal Reading Challenge IV 
#12 for my Vampire Challenge 2011
#10 for my 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge (Item #95)
#7 for my Paranormal Romance Challenge 2011
#6 for my Black Dagger Brotherhood Reading Challenge

6 comments:

  1. I really have enjoyed this series. Thanks for the review Darlene!

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  2. This book frustrated me too! I liked Phury up until this book and then he just bothered me. I do like how it all ended, but this one of my least favorite in the series. I do still love the BDB books though!

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  3. I don't know that I can say least about any of the Brothers, but I have re-read this book less than the others. Your review was spot on though, I just wish Cormia had a little more snark in the beginning, maybe that would have snapped Phury out of his haze. I would still trade most of my other books for the worst of the Brothers.

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  4. Hi, Nikki & Lauren & Blue Shedevil! Thanks for stopping by!

    Nikki - I'm loving the series, too! I'm really looking forward to Rehvenge's story next!

    Lauren - I think all the sub-plots in this one made up for the less-than-thrilling story of Phury & Cormia. Still a fan of the series, but there were a few things about this one that bugged me.

    Blue Shedevil - I know what you mean about Cormia, although I liked her attitude later on. For example, when she stepped out of the pool naked in front of Qhuinn & Blay & John Matthew...and Phury was ready to blow a gasket! I thought her character developed nicely - a little bit of a rebellious streak!

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  5. I love this series and I agree with your assessment.

    Each time you made a point, I found myself nodding in agreement.

    Phury's book was my least favorite of the series.

    Ward is an awesome writer! I read everything she writes, but I think she missed the mark with this book.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Jodie. Thank goodness that the great sub-plots made the book worthwhile!

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