Review and Book Club: Lover Awakened 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.

Click the cover to purchase at Amazon
Book: Lover Awakened
Author: J. R. Ward
Publisher: Signet
Release date: September 5, 2006
Source: Bought for Kindle
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3

Summary: (from Goodreads) A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion and terror his only passion-until he rescues a beautiful female from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for each other begins to overtake them, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past and find a future with her.

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

Five big fat stars! I don’t think I fully understood the BDB obsession until this book. Sure, the first two were entertaining and steamy and campy fun, but this one…whooooooie! Zsadist is a tortured and misunderstood soul, and at times I got so frustrated with all of the characters’ self-absorption and inability to see through the others’ facades that I wanted to scream, but the book is still immensely satisfying. I think I would almost recommend people read this one first, except that you do get some important backstory from the other two books. I bet I could catch someone up on the details around Z and Bella, though, and then staple them to a chair and watch them read this one. SO GOOD. You’re not moving until you finish it, I would say. *stares sternly*

2. Let’s talk about our feelings: reading about Zsadist’s past had me choked up and provoked some serious feelings towards him for me. What did you think when you read about his past?

Z’s past certainly explains a lot about his behavior, but I was surprised at how little Phury especially seemed to understand how that past impacted Z’s life. I didn’t fully buy that Phury would think that Z could hurt Bella. I mean, really? Z’s twin brother wouldn’t get that all of his cold fury and isolation and self-punishment was a front for self-loathing despair? He would really just assume that what he suffered turned him into a sociopathic woman hater? Nope. Don’t think so.

I thought Ward did a really nice job depicting what happened without being overly graphic. We don’t need to know all of the details, and she gave us the information without dwelling on it. I also felt that Z’s perspective on everything was well done and I really believed his experiences and how those shaped his self-image. Heart-breaking stuff.

3. Obviously, Zsadist came a long way as a person in this book. What do you think of the post-Bella Zsadist?

I was most happy about his change toward Phury. He seemed finally able to love him as a sibling and not just as this fellow warrior brother. I think faced with the enduring support of Phury and Bella showed Z that there are people willing to do anything for him and that he is worthy of their love and respect. I liked that his transformation was gradual and didn’t happen overnight. He grew and changed but at an appropriate pace considering his past. I loved watching that change happen.

I have to mention that I cried at the end when Bella interrupts Z and Mary and he shows her what he’s been working on. I hope that’s vague enough to not be a spoiler but specific enough that you who have read it know what I’m talking about. That moment kicked me in the gut and it was so sweet and beautiful that I couldn’t contain the tears. I can’t think of a single other urban fantasy or romance novel that touched me to the point of tears. Good stuff.

4. Phury has always gone to whatever lengths to protect his brother. What did you think of him shaving his head and heading to the movies to meet the lesser?

I’ve always had issues with Phury. Until that moment, I didn’t really see the depth of his sacrifice for Z. Sure, he’s celibate and does whatever he can for his brother, but it always seemed kind of doormat-y and pathetic instead of honorable. When he decides to shave his head and take a knife to his face, though, I got it. He’s not messing around. He seriously loves his twin, so my apologies Phury. I get it now.

5. With O gone, do you see the dynamics of the lesser society changing? How so?

H, O, U – they all seem fairly interchangeable to me. The lessers are kind of boring to me, and seem to only serve the function of creating some context for the Brotherhood and why they exist. It seems to me they don’t pose that big of a threat and considering they all seem completely off their rockers, I wind up dismissing them. In fact, I don’t really remember who is still alive – lessers were alive, then dead, then alive again, then dead again. Who is left?

***WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD***6. We found out that John is “Darius’ son.” I have a feeling he might just be the reincarnation of Darius himself — it’s reaching, I know. What are your thoughts on John as Darius’ son or, possibly, as Darius?

The problem with reading these so far apart is that I forget what happens in the interim. When Darius chose to come back, what were the terms the Scribe Virgin gave him? I don’t remember. I think there was something about him being unable to see his daughter, so I assume that’s why he passed out when meeting Beth, which makes me think he is Darius and not just his son. That would be a fun twist.


7. Book 4 will about Butch. Do you think that Butch’s book will be different from the first three books given that Butch is a human? Do you think Butch will remain a human?

I love Butch! Although at first I hated him because of his attitude toward Beth, I have come to love him. I laugh every time he talks about how beautiful the Brothers are, though. He’s so metrosexual and it seems so different from the tough guy cop routine of Book 1. He’s always entertaining, though, and I think he brings an interesting dynamic to the Brotherhood. Given what happened between him and Vishous at the end of this book, I’m curious to see what happens in Book 4!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Amazingly beautiful and painstakingly crafted signature courtesy of Small Review

7 thoughts on “Review and Book Club: Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward

  1. I get the feeling that Ward really didn't explain the Darius/John Matthew thing correctly. She says JM is the reincarnation of D, but they both lived simultaneously at one point. I don't know. It's weird.And I completely agree with you about Phury. He never seem particularly honorable to me, only whiny. Needless to say, I liked his book the least. But I did LOVE Z's book. That end scene with the note really did me in. You have to read the short story, Father Mine. It had me sobbing buckets. Great answers, Logan. You reminded me of why I love this series.

  2. I DIE FOR Z!!!!!!! His story had me ball like a baby. Thank you for these answers. I missed my dear, tortured, smexy Z. ?

  3. Ha! This book was so good that you'd recommend skipping the other two and being stapled to a chair to read it?! Well, it must be good then.

  4. I LOVE ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!! The Scribe Virgin deal – the hook was that Darius/JM wouldn't know that Elizabeth was his daughter, and that he had to give up a 'faculty', in this case, speech. I reread most of Z and Bella's story yesterday, and OMG, I LOVE THEM BOTH SO MUCH!!! I'm with you and Missie – Phury annoyed me a lot – get off the pity pot, buddy!I adore Butch, too – I think you will really like his story. Maybe not as much as Z's, but it's excellent – really love Revh's as well! Yea!!! welcome to the BDB sisterhood!

  5. @Missie – Yes! I had that same thought. My impression was that this took place a few years after the first book, but JM is like 20! How could he possibly be Darius?@Smash – It's incredible how much this book made me pull a 180 with him. I remember seeing a bunch of reviews with people talking about Z and how his story was their favorite and having only read the first book I was like WHYYY? Now I understand. :)@Aylee – I have my staple gun ready for you! :P@Linds – Thank you for the info! That makes sense. Looking forward to #4, but hopefully it doesn't drag me into a blog hiatus like SOMEONE we know. 😉

  6. Bahahaha. If you liked this one wait till you get to Lover Mine (JM's story). Z is one of my favourite characters, and I loved seeing him evolve.

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