Review: Lover Avenged

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Read the reviews for the first 6 books in the series here. WARNING- this review is for people familiar with the BDB it contains a lot of Ward's terminology and might also contain spoilers wrt previous books.

Among the number of search terms associated with the Black Dagger Brotherhood that lead people to this site every week, the question 'What is a sympath?' inevitably makes an appearance. And I thought JR Ward's Lover Avenged, the 7th novel of the BDB series would answer just that.

The focus of this novel is on Rehvenge, half-sympath, leahdyre of the vampire glymera and a powerful drug lord and pimp in Caldwell, New York. Rehvenge's illegal activities serve to pay his blackmailer for keeping the sympath side of his identity a secret thereby protecting his mother, sister and half-sympath employee Xhex.

According to vampire law any sympaths have to be quarantined in a colony in the remote northern areas of the state. The sympath laws are even clearer, ALL half-breeds must die. To keep his sympath urges at bay Rehvenge relies heavily on drugs, which leave his body numb.

On his routine check ups at Havers' hospital he often comes in contact with nurse Ehlena. Ehlena is a fallen member of the glymera and is sole care-giver to her father who is schizophrenic which leaves her with almost no social life. Rehvenge is drawn to this loneliness of hers, a mirror of his own and the two start to build a tentative relationship together.

In the meanwhile, Wrath has been secretly fighting lessers in his free time, and it's not long before he is found out. This severely tries his relationship not only with Beth, who is sorely hurt by his deceit and lack of trust towards herself, Wrath also has his annoyed Brothers to deal with. In addition headaches which have persisted almost all his life become stronger and he loses what little vision he does have. Trapped in his blindness, not being able to fight, having to depend on other people just to get around and marital problems lead to Wrath being scared, not a good emotion for any Brother to wallow in.

But, things are going to get worse for Wrath. A member of the glymera approaches Rehvenge for assassinating the Blind King and a sympath, even a half-breed canNOT be trusted, can they? Read the book to see how Ward resolves the stories - can Wrath and Beth come to terms, will Rehvenge and Ehlena find true love, where the assassination plot leads and what exactly are Lash and the Lessening Society upto?

Wrt the sympath question posed before, I have to say I'm still clueless. All I gathered from this book was that sympaths fed off emotions preferably the sinful ones (and what? no idea), and they have a decided predilection for scorpions and spiders. But, let's just say for the purposes of this book that sympath = ehvil (heh) and leave it at that.

I really liked all the action in this book, first since it plays catch up with the old stories - Wrath and Beth for example. Wrath suddenly accepting his Kingship had always seemed too good to be true so I loved the continuation of his story arc here.

I liked the real-world conundrum the Lessening Society is facing, apparently being humongously evil AND a son of the Omega is not enough in the material world. Lash has to struggle to make money to supply his people with decent weapons, hideouts, bling and sexy cars. He hits upon the perfect solution, getting into the drug business, but that slowly infringes upon Rehvenge's territory and before he knows it the vampires have been clued to his return.

John Matthew, Blaylock and Qhuinn have minor roles but we do spend some time with John Matthew and his love for Xhex. I must say, I didnt like JM ever since he was introduced, first he was all angsty and whiny, though I was able to tolerate him in LE mainly because he seemed to have matured a bit. Well, here he slides down that slippery slope into tiresomeness, nohbuddy luuurves me. He does fit right into the Brotherhood (pre-marriage) though.

What I didnt care much for was the Rehvenge-Ehlena track. Rehv in all the previous books was a hard core character, seemingly conscienceless, filled with self-loathing for himself over the blackmailing bit contrasted with being extremely protective towards his family ... let's go for tormented, yup he's a tormented hero - my favorite kind.

With Ehlena he suddenly becomes a total mushy sap all I-love-yous and I-want-to-serve-yous and sentimental phone convos in a matter of minutes. Not that it wasn't sweet, but it took some time for me to reconcile the amethyst-eyed mohawked drug lord who kills people without compunction with the gooey pillow talk. And that Ehlena, that upright figure in the vampire community accepts him warts (hmm maybe I should be saying barb :) and all.

The h/h feeling they're not good enough for each other is my least favorite theme in romance, and Ehlena and Rehv go quite a few times around this particular bush. The other reason is I didnt care much for Ehlena, she felt like an amalgam of all the earlier heroines Beth, Mary except she can handle her way around a gun. Though I did like the way she dealt with her father's illness, at one point she walks him through a new house so that his fears of intruders are minimised once he sees security cameras around.

I think Ward should move out of finding women for her heroes from the social outcasts. Surely, there's scope for someone from the glymera to have an HEA too.

Phury still being Primale stumped me, in LE he refused the joy of being sole sperm donor to the Chosen. Why does he keep the title? Looks to me just like another way to keep poor Phury away from the house (heh, I like how ever since LE he's forever become poor Phury in my mind) ...

And even though I like Xhex's character (being the sole alpha female in the series) I didnt like the kidnap motif being used again. Additionally, is it just me, or does the war between the lessers and the vampires seems like it's on a never-ending track. Not much happens in this book, the vampires basically doing their own thing and Lash his own until they intersect at the climax and I'd like to see more concrete developments happening with this in the next few books.

And of course, new characters are introduced here and I have the sinking feeling that they might have their own books coming out soon.

Will I keep reading? You bet. I'm hooked onto this series and wasn't much bothered with only a sprinkling of romance because of all the other fun stuff. The thing that might prove a problem for me is the suspicion that there is no concrete story arc for the entire series.

I learnt some new slang though - fidiot (Ward's short form for effing idiot), now where shall I use it first? :D

Series Order

1. Dark Lover
2. Lover Eternal
3. Lover Awakened
4. Lover Revealed
5. Lover Unbound
6. Lover Enshrined
7. Lover Avenged
8. Lover Mine - to be released 2010


eye-in-sty-in said...

lol.... CP, stop looking for places to use slangs else u might grow fangs!

avdi said...

Didya read Sea of Poppies?

couchpapaya said...


avdi - nope, i did buy it though. the thing stopping me is that it's part of a series. with me i have to read everything right away, i get very impatient. also, i have a very bad memory and when the 2nd and 3rd parts come out i'll have to re-read this one. 600 pages is very daunting :(

avdi said...

Yeh its huge. But I loved it. I had gone to a second hand book store and picked up circle of reason.. whoo.. wanna read that .

couchpapaya said...

just looked at the blurb for circle of reason, sounds interesting! do read glass palace too, it's quite epic in scope!!

Angel's Flight said...

I've been missing out havent i? well hopefully will be back with my attention soon :))

another thing i missed is this new look! looks nice babe!

I am so with you on the memory thing...everytime a HP movie comes out, I have to go back and read the book and the previous ones too!

couchpapaya said...

angel - thank u!! i love it too, much more fun than the earlier one .... that reminds me, i ave to dig out my 6th HP, have been itching to read it ever since the movie. did you watch it btw ?? what did u think ?

Smita said...

Vampires :D No comments on the book but I must say...

Time Travelers wife is turning our to be an adorable read!!!! I am already in love with Clare's character!!!!

Wt r u reading currently or shud I go check out in Goodreads?

couchpapaya said...

smita - yay am so excited ur enjoying time traveller's wife :) looking fwd to more discussions when ur done- will you review?? also, the movie will release sometime soon - rachel macadams and eric bana star in it. am so conflicted, cant make up my mind if i want to see it or not !!!

have been meaning to as you, did you watch my sister's keeper? right now am reading blue eyed devil by lisa kleypas. have suddenly been getting interested in contemporary romances, this one is pretty cute :D

avdi said...

Oops - I got confused. the book was The Shadow Lines. Am going thru it. Has a good start.

Smita said...

I am not sure whether I will review it or not. It is a mammoth book and am sure enough has already written about it...but u never know I might :)As far as movie is concerned, I don't think it can do justice to the book. There are too many liberties here and there is a magic in the relationship of young Clare & old Henry which wud be difficult to depict without making it look like 'a lolita', wt say?

Sister's Keeper hasn't released here as yet. I am not sure if I wud like to watch it, I don't think movies can do justice to a lovely book. U have seen it???

Contemporary romance!!! Hmmmm I tried reading P.S. I love You but I have a double book edition and the book is too fat to be comfy :-(

couchpapaya said...

avdi - do review when done!

smita - yeah movie wont have the same magic as the book, but i'm soooo curious as to how they've handled the time jumping!! i have not made up my mind yet, maybe i'll watch on dvd, my worst fear is that they'll kill my mental image of henry ... as for my sister's keeper i know i wont watch it.

hey, what a coincidence!!!! i just watched ps. i love you this weekend. i didnt like it at all, but have read in the reviews that the book is better. but then that's what you've been saying all along :D isnt it too sad to be a romance though? but the movie was directed by the guy who did bridges of madison county and i really expected more since that's a book to movie version done perfectly. have u watched it? i know u love the book!!

Smita said...

I am yet to see that movie...have heard only good things about know I have been trying to find it but been unsuccessful. Even none of the movie channel plays it :(

couchpapaya said...

oh, that's too bad. have u tried ordering it online? i tried searching for you on youtube but i only found some trailers there :(

kira said...

As mentioned on your other review for BDB, I was supposed to comment here, too. But I'll do that later. Fireworks on right now.

Happy New Year! :D

couchpapaya said...

Kira - Happy New Year to you too!!

kira said...

As mentioned, I'm not big on the internet. But I hope I don't get rated a TSTL in your world. I think we should stick on your review for the entire Brotherhood for comments and discussion. Just to keep everything in one page. So that people following you won't get annoy w/ me for posting on 2 reviews. Heh.

    I also blog at ....

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