Review and Book Club: Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward

Today I’m participating in Bookaholic Does Blogging’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Book Club for her BDB Challenge. Every month, in addition to reading one of the series’ books, I’ll be participating in her book club posts, so we can all gab about BDB and their muscley awesomeness. I missed the boat on the first book last month, but here are my responses for book 2 – Lover Eternal!

Click the cover to purchase at Amazon
Book: Lover Eternal
Author: J. R. Ward
Publisher: Signet
Release date: March 7, 2006
Source: Bought for Kindle
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #2

Summary: (from Goodreads) Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant to Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves.

Questions:
1. On a scale from 1-5, what would you rate this book? Briefly tell us why.

I gave it 4 stars. Rhage was a more interesting protagonist for me than last book’s Wrath, and for the first half of the book I was loving every second of it. The back half was a little anticlimactic, however, and so I ended up not enjoying the ending. I wanted a bit more action and a bit more resolution, but my overall enjoyment was still worth 4 out of 5 stars. These books do not pretend to be anything other than what they are – guilty pleasure romance reads about outlandishly beautiful men whose actions may or may not be realistic. They wear minimal clothing, are very selfless lovers, and only refer to their footwear as “shitkickers.” Do you really need any more information than that?

2. Did you have an preconceived notions about this book given that we knew it would be from the point of view of a different brother?

I wasn’t sure about the idea of having each brother get his own book. I liked Wrath a lot in the first book, and I didn’t think Rhage could compete for my affection in the same way. Boy was I wrong! It appears that each book will tell a unique story that allows us to get to know the individual warrior better, as well as the Brotherhood as a whole. With the way this one ended, I am very excited about the next book focused on Zsadist. In fact, when I finished this one, I immediately bought the next one. I’m ready for June now!

3. What did you think of Rhage’s transformations?

I think the whole literal inner demon curse is super cool. A warrior who must temper his impulses or turn into a snarly bloodthirsty lizard beast? Swoon. Okay, maybe not swoon, but I am madly in love with the concept. I will say that I was disturbed at Mary’s reaction to the beast and felt that the two scenes where she interacts with it didn’t quite work for me. They didn’t seem to fit the character of the rest of the book or with what we were led to believe about the beast itself. Disappointing.

4. What did you think of Rhage and Mary’s first encounter at the Brother’s house? Did you foresee a relationship forming after this meeting?

Like Ashley, I also thought Rhage was kind of a pushy ass in that scene. There were a number of times in this book where I felt like one or more of the brothers was really coming on too strong for what is generally acceptable to women, drop-dead gorgeous or not. If anyone invaded my space like that, looking as impaired and grouchy as Rhage did, I’d have kneed him in the groin and not looked back as I ran. We like them strong and silent and all, but YEESH.

5. Ward seems to like forcing her characters to make some hard choices. What did you think of Rhage’s choice to save Mary at the end of the book? Would you do the same for someone you loved?

I like the hard choices theme that has pervaded both books so far. If a character doesn’t face difficult choices or circumstances, I get bored. I need high stakes. This book had lots of those, between Mary’s returning leukemia and Rhage’s erupting beast. We know early on that Mary is dying, and I kept flying through the pages hoping that something would save her in the end. I’d like to think I’d act the same as Rhage when push comes to shove. My own happiness pales in comparison knowing the people around me are suffering.

6. Do you think John will become a brother after his transformation?

I hope so. He seemed like a good kid, and Ward certainly dropped enough hints to suggest that he will. I think having a new brother would pump some life into the books and show us how they function with change and new members. They’ve been with each other for so long that I want to know how they got to that point, so having John around could feed us some backstory as they reflect on their own journeys to the Brotherhood.

7. Do you think Bella will become Zsadist’s shellan? What, if anything, do you think this will do to Phury and Zsadist’s relationship as a result given that Phury showed mild interest in Bella as well?

I’m still confused as to why Phury is insisting on staying celibate. I know he feels guilt over Zsadist’s past, but it seems odd that in the face of everything he is already giving up to help Zsadist, he avoids women too. Part of my interest in reading the next book so quickly is the cliffhanger around Bella and Zsadist. I want to know what happens to her and if we see her again, or if Zsadist will have to face a fresh round of pain and loss if she doesn’t make it. I’m biting my nails over here!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

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9 thoughts on “Review and Book Club: Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward

  1. I am participating in the book club too! 🙂 I just love Rhage and Ward's writing as a whole. This is my third time reading through the series, I thoroughly enjoy reading responses from people new to the brothers. Z's book is a favorite for most people I talk to; I still stay true to Rhage lol but Lover Awakened is a great read. Enjoy!Helena @ Vamps R Us

  2. @Helena – I'm glad I found a fellow book club participant. I think it's the greatest idea. I'm really looking forward to Lover Awakened, but I agree that Rhage is awesome.@Midnyte – Haha! It's hard to sum up. I guess you could say it's vampire romance. But it's so much more! 🙂

  3. I read this book because I came across a discussion on Goodreads about whether or not Rhage cheated on Mary, so it's a question that I totally expect to see come up every time I see this book mentioned. I consider that Rhage cheated because the emotional bond was there, between them, even if they hadn't slept together yet. I'm curious, though, to know what you think?

  4. @Ruby – Was that after they meet in the hallway, when Rhage goes to the club? I don't know if I would consider that cheating, since they didn't really know each other that well yet. Or maybe I'm not thinking of the right scene? I need to find that discussion!

  5. I'll try to re-find the discussion and send you the link for it. The scene I'm talking about takes place after Rhage has brought Mary to the BDB Batcave (I can't remember what they actually call it) and he leaves to go have sex with some nameless chick in order to "save" Mary from his demon. It's the supernatural version of "men have needs." Blech.

  6. @Ruby – I tried doing a search on Goodreads' discussions page and found a couple of blurbs, but I wasn't sure if it was the same thing you were talking about. I remember that scene now. Yes, I hate the idea that Rhage had to go blow off some steam for Mary's own good. Especially since it turned out it was totally unnecessary. I wonder if that was Ward's way of trying to dispute the "men have needs" idea. So gross.

  7. Yeah, the fact that it turned out to be completely unnecessary was what put the whole thing over the top for me. It added insult to injury. Blech.

  8. These guys have really weird names. Wow, that comment was so not useful in any way. Sorry! I haven't read this series so that's all I could think about 😛

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