Awwww Reading this one is always a joy, though it is sorrow as well, depends on which chapter you're on.. I've read and re-read this book so many times! or at least certain scenes that leave me just breathless. I love Zsadist, I love Bella and their relationship though it took it quite a long time to build is absolutely beautiful.
This book is the amazing love story between Bella and Zsadist. On the first book of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Z is mainly considered to be soulless bastard, on the second book we have a little more glimpses into who he is and we understand that he is mostly a broken guy who went through hell and back and didn't really return. Even though the surrounding aren't of hell he took hell into him and he lived this way for many years. Phury sums it up nicely when he tells Bella on the previous book -
" My twin's not broken. He's ruined. Do you understand the difference? With broken, maybe you can fix things. Ruined? All you can do is wait to bury him "
Back in the previous book, Bella and Z meet for the first time when she comes into the compound with Marry and John Matthew. He mostly spooks her but he also leaves some sort of an impression she is unable to ignore or forget. They have one more rendezvous in the vampire's mansion when she is invited to a "party" held for Marry. She tries talking with Z and later on even goes to his room but what goes on there leaves her confused. It leaves HIM confused as well. He is so very sorry he behaved as he did but he doesn't know what to do now. He vows he would keep an eye on her but he doesn't get the chance to do that as she is taken by the Lesser O.
Z is obsessed with finding Bella. He goes into her house on a daily basis, he tries "asking around" (torturing lessers before tearing them to little pieces) and when she is found he just takes her into his room and announces he is the one to take care of her. But not too long after that he realizes he is incapable of giving her what she needs and he starts thinking maybe she should be with his twin brother - his better half.. Too bad all she wants is him.. Z is trying to do the "right thing" by her but really he just hurts Phury (who want her but keeps being rejected by her) and her (who doesn't understand why he is throwing her at his twin...).
The whole interaction between the three of them is just heart breaking. You get all of them apart and all of them together. You tear up when you hear of Z's past and what Phury did for him back then but also what he is willing to do for his twin now, how much Phury isn't really living but doing what he does to make sure his brother survives. Zsadist isn't living as well, he just goes through the motions since he can't kill himself (though he does torture himself and goes through suicidal collisions with their enemy). Bella on the other hand wants him. She really does, in the beginning before her abduction she might have wanted him because he was dangerous, an adventure, but a lot have happened and as she unravels all the things he has been through she just wants to love him, cherish him and make him whole. and if anyone can do that you'd think she is the one but I think you'll get a good surprise about this concept in the end :)
I could have highlighted practically every interaction, conversation or sexual scene between them. If you think that Holder and Sky's first kiss on "Hopeless" by Colleen Hoover is the most amazing first kiss scene let me correct you - Bella and Zsadist first kiss was EPIC. I'll just give you a small glimpse into that one -
" Fear and gratitude and something altogether warm squeezed her chest. On impulse, she leaned in and kissed him on the lips.
He jerked back with a hiss, eyes wider than if she'd slapped him.
Oh, hell. Why had she done that? "I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I—"
"No, it's cool. We're cool." He rolled onto his back and lifted his hand to his mouth. His fingers rubbed back and forth across his lips, like he was wiping her off him.
When she sighed good and hard, he said, "What's the matter?"
"Am I so distasteful?"
He dropped his arm. "No."
What a lie. "Maybe I'll get you a washcloth, how about that?"
When she would have shot out of bed, his hand clamped on her arm. "That was my first kiss, okay? I just didn't expect it."
Bella stopped breathing. How was that possible?
"Oh, for chrissakes, don't look at me like that." He let go and went back to staring at the ceiling.
His first kiss… "Zsadist?"
"Will you let me do that again?" " (Chapter 20)
Actually that whole chapter was just, well, amazing in so many ways.. I love how even though he tries to keep her at an arms length he just keeps doing what she wants because he can't really say no to her (unless she presses his "sore points".. then he is just out of there)
" "I'm not terribly hungry," she murmured.
He pushed the tray closer to her. "Eat anyway."
When she started in on the chicken again, he took the two apples and walked across the room. He bit into one and sank down to the floor, sitting cross-legged with his eyes lowered. One arm settled across his stomach as he chewed.
"Did you have dinner downstairs?" she asked.
He shook his head and took another hunk out of the apple, the crack ricocheting around the room.
"Is that all you'll have?" When he shrugged, she muttered, "And you're telling me to eat?"
"Yeah, I am. So why don't you get back to work there, female."
"You don't like chicken?"
"I don't like food." His eyes never wavered from the floor, but his voice got pushier. "Now eat."
"Why don't you like food?"
"Can't trust it," he said tightly. "Unless you make it yourself, or can see it whole, you don't know what's in it."
"Why do you think someone would tamper—"
"Have I mentioned how much I don't like talking?"
"Will you sleep beside me tonight?" She blurted out the request, figuring she'd better get her answer before he shut up completely.
His brows flickered. "You really want that?"
"Yes, I do."
"Then, yeah. I will." "
So yeah. he's being a little bit of a douche here as well, but he is really confused about the whole situation. He doesn't know what to do with her, how to make her "well" or "better" after what she's being through and she just feels safe with him so she isn't willing to let him go either and naturally when feelings start to get in the picture.. you'd be surprised what Zsadist will be going through! But he sure takes his time with it.
I'm going to stop writing about Z and Bella right now because otherwise it's going to be the longest review ever and I might start quoting WAY to much hehe
So lets go to the sub plots!
As usual we have the annoying O. He is SUCH a bastard! When he doesn't get his way with Bella he does something else, something heart shattering. So if you thought this book is sad because of what Zsadist went through, Bella being held prisoner and Phury right smack in the middle of everything - think again. Ward was in a mean mood throughout this one..
John Matthew is more present in this book. He goes to live with Thor and Wellsie and has a lot more interactions with the brothers. We get to hear about his bloodline and thus a secret is unraveled even if it's not mentioned specifically is quite obvious. His character goes through a lot in this book, he goes through a lot of new beginning, living in a house with a feeling of a family, the training at the compound, being interested for the first time in a girl. He's such a sweet kid! when I think about him in the next books I kinda forgot how vulnerable he used to be, how innocent. There is something nice reading about someone before his transition and later on what made him into who he is. With the other brothers it's different. We get the background through the history they remember but we don't get to "live it" through several books and see how they evolve. I guess that's another reason he is one of the most loved warriors in the series.
We get a little of Butch and Marrisa. It's actually quite sad since it's going no where. and what will they do together anyway, ha? he's not a vampire, she is form a very high ranking family. and I guess Butches place in general is a little strange. The brothers like him, he is like a true brother to V and yet he is still not really with them. he is just somehow beside them. The next book is of him. right before the end we have a very interesting scene with him and V that is a little idea that you should think about before the next one :)
We also get Rehv's POV who is Bella's brother but he is a little more than that.. At the beginning you just think he's a douche but I think as you understand the state that he is in you start to realize he's not such a bad guy after all. and I promise once you'll get HIS story he'll be one of your favorite as well! I do think that Z and Rehv are the most tormented of the characters, their background story is also the most interesting one.
There is s a little bit of Phury's POV. Mainly you get how tormented he is, how, why, where, when he is willing to sacrifice for his twin brother. I think in this book you mainly feel sorry for him. Your heart is breaking to read how much he wants Bella yet he will do anything and everything to help his brother get her, be with her. All he wants is for his brother to LIVE, but really live. He is the most senseless person. Unfortunately this impression of him starts to fade in the next books so though I really enjoyed (while aching) reading about him in this one it doesn't really "last" in the next books.
I think this is probably the best book in the series. It has so much going on in there. and there is a lot of very important information for the next few books of Rehv, John, Thor, Butch, Phury and a little bit of V. and as I've already said - THE love story. a very hard and painful one but the best one could possibly ask for.
One last thing. Don't listen to the Audio Book.. just don't.. Since there is no distinction what-so-ever between the characters (male/female also) it's really hard to understand / get / remember who's who and who said what. It's SUCH an amazing book, read it and I"m sure you'll re-read it and not try to listen to it again..
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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.