Review: Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward (with spoilers)

Posted May 12, 2009 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Caldwell, NY, has long been the battleground for the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It’s also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and notorious nightclub that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he’s approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King, and leader of the Brotherhood. Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood, even though his sister is married to a member. Because he’s a sympath, his identity is a deadly secret- the revelation of which will result in his banishment to a colony for sociopaths. And as plots within and outside the Brotherhood take their toll against Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in a darkening world- Elhena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him- and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.

I read Dark Lover way back in October of 2005 and was incredibly impressed and drawn into the amazing world that J.R. Ward had created. When Lover Eternal came out, I was just as in love with the author and the series. With Lover Awakened, a little less so. After Lover Unbound, I gave up my BDB fan club card. I have to be honest, outside the actual books, the rabidness of JRW’s fans is an extreme turn-off. I’ve seen rabidness before (hello Edward and Bella), but the BDB rabidness just surpassed anything I’ve seen.

I didn’t expect a lot with Lover Avenged and maybe that’s why I liked it so much. After the disaster that Lover Enshrined, I had little to no expectations. Which made me a little bummed, b/c I’ve always liked Rehv. He’s one of those characters that walks the line between black and white. He loves his sister and his family, but the guy is a drug dealer, fcol. Who cares about the sympath thing. He’s a drug dealer and basically a pimp. So how can you make a character like that a hero? That’s what made him so interesting.

As usual, there are many POV’s here so I’m going to break it down with my thoughts.

Rehv/Ehlena: I think I read a review where it said something like “Ehlena is a typical JRW heroine”. I took that to mean that she wasn’t memorable. I would have to agree, Ehlena wasn’t memorable. There was nothing spectacular about her, except her unwavering support of Rehv by the end of the book.

Rehv has had an arrangement with his half-sister and “Princess” of the symptaths for years. A sexual arrangement. Incest always icks me out, even in a situation like this. The fact that he enjoyed it (even though he hated that he enjoyed it) made it worse. Blackmail in this case is a powerful tool b/c Rehv would do anything to protect his mother and his sister. Meeting Ehlena throws a mighty wrench into his life. He never thought he would have a mate. All he wants to do is keep his secret.

I didn’t think the romance between Rehv and Ehlena was lacking. On the contrary, it was a romance that was powerful b/c it was so unexpected. I think that JRW did a great job of writing the relationship between Rehv and Ehlena.

Xhex and John Matthew: I may be the only one that wanted these two together from the start. I find the differences between them fascinating. Xhex obviously only trusts a handful of people in her life and she’s way too far gone to even consider anything with John.

Of course, John Matthew obviously wasn’t tortured enough what with being sexually assaulted and losing Wellsie and Tohr at the same time. He snaps and turns into a tortured, mean boy. He’s had it. From Xhex and her pity sex to Tohr and his self-loathing, John has just had it. Now he’s going to turn into a man-whore, sleeping with any woman that catches his eye.

John’s utter lack of emotion midway through the book was so un-John like that I had a hard time reconciling the JM that we’ve gotten to know with the “new and improved” version.

Lash: ::yawn:: I guess there is supposed to be some irony that Lash ended up taking Xhex at the end of the book. He’s always been a thorn in John Matthew’s side so it only makes sense that he would want his woman, too.

The whole thing with the lessers is just boring.

Wrath: It’s nice how JRW is continuing his story and the need for him to be a true king, but it was a little overdone here. The seeing-eye-dog just put the whole Wrath thing over the top for me.

Tohr/Lassiter: I’ve been a big Tohr fan from the beginning. I cried when Wellsie died. Even though Tohr briefly appeared in the prior book, this was his real “return”. He finally accepts that he needs to live.

Lassiter definitely makes the book more interesting. He’s like Tohr’s very own guardian angel.

I probably would have liked the Tohr parts more, but I just know that JRW is going to put his book off for years. It’s going to be Acheron all over again.

Overall, I think this is the best book in the series since Lover Eternal. While I do wish that there was a little more romance in general (like in Dark Lover), I don’t think that’s going to happen. Which is a shame.

I’ve long since become immune to the slang and name-dropping that happens in these books. I swear, the book could be cut down by 100 pages if she cut out the name dropping. So for the most part, I can read w/ only a few eye-rolls. While this isn’t “slang”, it’s something I can only imagine JRW writing.

“He was hard. Big, long, hard as a thighbone.”

This is in reference to Rehv and disturbs me on several levels. Are we talking about a chicken thighbone? A normal sized person’s thighbone? A Brother’s thighbone? The only explanation I had was that when Rehv told JRW his story, he made sure to tell her that his weakness was the size of a thighbone.

4 out of 5.

This book is available from NAL. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Other books in the series:

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8 responses to “Review: Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward (with spoilers)

  1. At least Ehlena was so much better than Cormy. I really did enjoy Rehv and Ehlena’s romance and felt Ehlena had a bit more backbone than the past few Ward heroines.
    Wrath annoyed the ever loving crap out of me with his boo hoo I am blind!! *swoon, fails to the floor in angst* meh.
    JM was a whiny brat who needed a good kick in the ass.

    But I will say, the way Ward ended LA makes me want to read the next book. Not buying the next HC though.

  2. “Are we talking about a chicken thighbone?”

    Bwahhhhhahahhah!!!

    Seriously! WTF?

    I not reading this one, but am a whore for reviews (cannot go cold turnkey on the Wharden), and loved your spoilers. Great review!

  3. I think your reaction was about the same as mine. It was a just fine book for not a romance. Once I started approaching these books as something other than romance, I’ve been more at peace with them.

    What I said about LA is, if Ward’s early stuff worked for you, this book will meet your needs. If Ward’s style has always aggravated you, this book isn’t going to change that opinion.

  4. KB,

    At least Ehlena was so much better than Cormy.Amen, sister.

    Jessica, thanks! It’s always difficult for me to review these books b/c there is so much going on.

    Kati,

    Once I started approaching these books as something other than romance, I’ve been more at peace with them.That is a very good way to put it. I completely agree.

  5. I loved how Rehv and Ehlena would talk on the phone. It was so nice to see the h/h talking instead of NOT as in Phury’s book. But don’t get me started on that one.

    I liked most of the book. Yeah, there were parts I didn’t care for but those were mostly Lash’s parts the rest was pretty good.

  6. I think the Lash/lesser parts, for me, would be more interesting if they had some kind of context. As it is, it looks like they’re just enemies to be…well, enemies. In which case, I don’t care. If you’re just there to foil the “good guys” why should I have some emotional involvement in your actions? Oh yeah, I don’t.

    Since I’m all about the broody heroes, I love JM both ways. He was all angry and bitter and dark and delicious post (s)Xhex. Loved it. Loved it. Can I please have some more? 🙂

    Oh yeah, and I hate Lassiter. With the heat of a thousand suns.

  7. I didn’t read the book prior to this one because I figured it wouldn’t work for me but I’ve always been interested in Rhev. From the review though it looks like I need to read Lover Enshrined to know more about Rhev.

    I was going to skip it but it’s good to know I need to read it first.

    Thanks!

    cindyS

  8. Kat

    I liked Ehlena. And Xhex. I’m with Katiebabs on boo-effing-hoo Wrath and wanting to know what happens in the next book. Sad to say, I probably will buy the next hardcover even though I’ll whinge about it for weeks after. 🙂

    I liked JM but I agree that his big change midway was jarring. Subtlety, where art thou?

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