Oh my, oh my, I forgot how much I loved this one! I forgot how amazing Rhage is!
I don't know why Mary is one of the least appreciated females of the bunch, I really loved her, who she is, what she's been through and also her struggle with herself at surrendering to loving Rhage with all that he is.
This book tells the story of Rhage also known as Hollywood for his over-the-top good looks and "obsession" with having as many women as he can - and he can! Even the brothers don't see past the act. Yes, he has as many women as he can but they serve only the purpose of giving release to his inner monster. and when I say monster I mean a literal monster living inside of him, sharing one body suit. Rhage needs either sexual release or hard core fighting to "feed" the beast, enough that he wouldn't lose control. Because when he does, all hell breaks loose and the casualties are shredded to little pieces.
Rhage is sick of this life. His life. a little more than 100 years ago he was cursed by the Scribe Virgin with the beast and he has little less than 100 years more until the curse is lifted. As the most lethal fighter of the Brothers and as a "Don Juan" the guys just don't see how miserable he actually is. He craves having a woman to love and cherish and when blindly stumbles into Mary he is not willing to let her go even if it means disobeying a direct order from Thor.
Mary is merely a human, coming to the Brotherhood's compound to translate a kid who is unable to speak therefore communicating using ASL. But when Rhage hears her voice he knows he can't and won't have enough of it. She is naturally very attracted to him but she doesn't get what he sees in her. Little by little she surrenders to him though she knows that soon she will have to let him go. A few years back she struggled through cancer and now that the cancer is back she doesn't want Rhage to sit by her side and see her slowly die as she watched her own mother wither in front of her eyes.
Rhage is amazing. Wrath on Lover Reborn was arrogant, self observed and it felt that what kept him so close to Beth was his possessiveness toward her. With Rhage it's obvious that love is what keeps him near her. and from her side, even if she doesn't say the words the way she cares for him, the was she accept all of him, including the beast just shows what an amazing person she is.
This book, unlike the previous one, and much like the ones to follow (as this is a re-read for me, though this time I'm listening to the audio book and not reading the e-book) has several sub plots. I'll try to relate all of them.
John Matthew - This is the first time we encounter John, but actually there was some sort of hidden reference to him in Dark Lover though you'll get it only on the next book. John is an orphan, left after birth in a public restroom. He doesn't have anybody in his life so in a weak attempt to contact he calls the suicide hot line where Mary answers him. But what can he say back? though John hearing is intact he can't speak. One courageous night he walks over to Mary (whom he was watching over for the past couple of months) and tries to connect with her. To his amazement she knows ASL! Mary and John connect in an instant. As Mary is sitting with John, her neighbor - Bella - joins them. Bella is a vampire, an aristocrat. But neither John nor Mary knows that. and there is something else she knows that they don't - John is a vampire, nearing his change, and not only that, she is quite certain he is also a warrior and belongs to the brotherhood. and this is why Mary, John and Bella go into the Brotherhood's compound together. There isn't a lot in this book about him, but I think it's enough to make you fall in love with him and I guess he is one of the most loved Brothers / characters in the BDB series.
The second sub plot is of Bella and Z. I'll start by stating that the third BDB book of Bella and Zsadist is my absolute favorite and Z is my favorite Brother / character in the series. In the first book he is mainly misunderstood but in this book we start to understand there is another side to him he hides behind his scars, tattoos, a grim face and violent attitude. Bella is attracted to Z from the first second she encounter him even if she feels a bit scared of him it doesn't diminish her attraction and even when Z reject her she still keeps wondering about him. But the beautiful thing about it is what happens to Z in this whole process. I know that I'll be listening to their book tomorrow yet I feel restless already.
Since I've read and re-read the parts about Bella and Z a few times now, and since I hate looking them up I'm adding a reminder, mostly for myself in which chapters they appear.(show spoiler)
The third sub plot is of the Lessers. The reason I'm giving this one 4.5 stars and not 5 is that the Lessers are SO boring. As I wrote on the previous review I hate that they are basically evil. With no real personally but that fact. I also don't like the Omega. He's a stupid deity. He too is just evil and all he wants is pain and destruction. BORING! Only in this book there is actually a Lesser who is sick of being a Lesser and acts like a human would - with some sort of agenda. Sure his agenda is sick but it's still there. I'm referring to O. Yeah he's still boring most of the time, and yet he is different from the rest of the ultra boring Lessers (especially X.. god! how much I hate X!)
This book was a joy to listen to. I really love the world Ward created for us, I loved the brothers, I love hearing each and everyone of them, and I love learning about their past and what made them the way they are today. I love watching them hitched to women / females of worth.
Only really bad thing I have to say about this one is the narration of the audio book. I'm learning to hate it. The narrator, Jim Frangione, just reads the lines. There is no emotion nor change in tonation for different characters, male / female they sound the same. It difficult to "feel" the characters this way.. Sadly all the audio books are narrated by him. I guess if you want a neutral tone to listen to, and don't want the narrator to bring himself into the character since YOU want to do that in your head, then it would be OK for you (and I'm only saying that because a friend told me she rather have it like that). I would have reduced another half a star for the narration but I feel bad doing it when the book was so amazing!
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As I've done with the Lords of the Underworld, I'll do here as well. If you are reading this for the first time, then you must be confused with who's who. I think it took me about 3 books to get everyone straight hehe Now, after reading several of these kinda series I'm better at it. and to tell you the truth, here you only have 6 warriors which isn't bad and you don't get TMI on them where you get confused, basically Ward tries to describe them and give a little about each one.
So here is a little about each Warrior (Copied from J.R.Ward's Website) including in which book they are the main Hero - Enjoy!
Wrath (Dark Lover #1, The King #12)
The last purebred vampire on the planet and the vampire race's king. Essentially blind, he is the leader who is not willing to lead until he is forced to care for a half-breed he falls in love with.
Rhage (Lover Eternal #2)
The strongest of the brothers and the best fighter. Cursed by the Scribe Virgin, he is possessed by a dark side which is a danger to everyone. Ultimately, though, he is gentled by a very special human woman.
Zsadist (Lover Awakened #3, Father Mine #6.5)
The most lethal of the brothers. A former blood slave who was mercilessly tortured during the first hundred years of his life, Z is the one who has fallen farthest from grace. But he is utterly worthy of redemption.
Twin brother - Phury.
Phury (Lover Enshrined #6)
the loyal one, the one who sacrifices himself for others. Phury is Zsadist's twin brother and a celibate who cannot truly live because of everything his biological brother has lost. Used to giving rather than receiving, he needs love coming back at him to bring him alive.
Vishous (Lover Unbound #5)
the most intelligent and the one who is specially gifted. His curse is his ability to prognosticate: he sees the future, though not the 'when' of events so he is tortured by his inability to save those he loves from danger. His love puts him at odds with a secret about himself he did not know and could never have guessed.
Tohrment (Lover Reborn #10)
The steady one, the calm one. He is the one whose betrayal by fate will cut the deepest.
Butch O'Neal (Lover Revealed #4)
Butch O’Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex–homicide cop, he’s the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world. He’s got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who’s way out of his league. If he can’t have Marissa, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers.
As you can guess from the number of Warriors to the number of books - there are a few more warriors who weren't mentioned in the first book as ones. The mentioned above are the "core" brotherhood plus any knew ones that have been mentioned in this book and the previous ones. I'm adding the rest of them. Notice I'm adding the spoiler tag since some of the characters aren't mentioned yet and some are but we don't know what would become of them.