Tag Archives: “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series

Re-Read Challenge: “Lover Eternal” By J. R. Ward

28 Feb

re-read-challenge-2009

Info:Re-Read Challenge 2009
This month:Re-Read Challenge: February!

ward-j-r-lover-eternal
GENRE: Romance / Paranormal
PUBLISHED: Signet, 2006

SERIES: “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series, #2

AVAILABILITY: still available


The back blurb:
“In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war raging between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beast, Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

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 a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by his dark side, Rhage fears the times 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 on 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 …”


Then

It was in November 2006 that I read Lover Eternal for the first time. I ordered it right after I finished Dark Lover and I loved it. It’s my favorite in the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series and it’s the gorgeous-hero-wrecked-for-the-plain-heroine thing that gets me.

Since then, I read it a few times more. That is, I read the parts with Mary and Rhage. It’s easy to skip the other parts (lessers, Bella & Zsadist, John Matthew) since they don’t contribute all that much to the romance although I think the parts with Bella & Zsadist and John Matthew quite interesting. For this challenge, I read it all again.

I wrote a comment about Lover Eternal, I wrote a post about the things that irritate me with this series, and I wrote a post about reading the first half of Lover Eternal in German (which left me with a slightly different impression of this novel) so this novel is rather covered and I can be lazy concentrate on quotes (tried not to be too spoilerish) to show why I like this novel so much.

Now

It’s in chapter 8, page 59, that Mary and Rhage meet for the first time. So there’s more than enough time to establish the two most unsurmountable obstacles to their relationship – Mary’s illness and Rhage’s curse. The reader also knows how important it is for Mary to deal with her illness alone and how much Rhage hates his curse and what he is forced to do to keep it somewhat in check; in particular how it makes him a different/two-females-a-night kind of guy when he actually just longs to settle down with one woman.

Lover Eternal is fast paced and big on obstacles, and I love how the heart wrenching is pushed to the max in this story because of all these obstacles and a hero totally wrecked for the heroine. Scenes like this (the words in blue are in italic in the book but this doesn’t show in the blockquote):

His voice was like sandpaper. “I need to tell you something.”
I’m a vampire. I’m a warrior. I’m a dangerous beast.
At the end of this evening, you aren’t going to remember you ever met me.
And the idea of not even being a memory of yours makes me feel like I’ve been stabbed in the chest.

“Hal? What is it?”
Thor’s words echoed in his head. It’s safer. For her.
“Nothing,” he said, releasing the belt and getting out of the car. “It’s nothing.”

or this:

“I’m sorry Rhage. I’m…sorry…”
She moved to get off his hips and realized he was still thick inside of her. He hadn’t even finished.
Oh, God, this was bad. The whole thing was bad.
Rhage’s hands clamped on her thighs. “Don’t ever regret that we were together.”
She stared into his eyes. “I feel like I just violated you.”
“I was more than willing. Mary, it’s all right. Come here, let me kiss you.”
“How can you stand to have me near you?”
“The only thing I can’t handle is your leaving.”

or this:

Vishous looked over to the bed, and Rhage must have nodded or shrugged, because the man said, “He betrayed the Brotherhood to be with you. He had to make amends if he wanted to stay with us and keep you here.”
Mary stopped breathing. This was all for her? Because of her?
[…]
I’ll make it safe for you, how about that?
She had absolutely no context for this kind of sacrifice. For the pain he was enduring for her. For what had been done to him by people who supposedly cared for him.
“I can’t…I feel a little light-headed. Will you excuse…”
She backed away, hoping to stumble into the bathroom, but Rhage struggled up on the bed, as if he were going to come after her.
“No, you stay there, Rhage.” She went back to him…

and all the other parts I marked for quotes get to me no matter how often I read this novel.

What really struck me in re-reading were the little details and how they are connected to the bigger issues of the romance in the novel, making Lover Eternal actually a rather tightly plotted novel. Like Rhage knowing the time he has to live with the curse down to the days: ninety-one years, eight months, four days, and what happens at the end.

Or that talking plays an important role in this novel: John Matthew can’t talk, Mary’s work, that Rhage is first attracted to Mary’s voice, the effect Mary’s voice has on Rhage (and the beast), how Mary keeps things to herself so that Rhage at one point says: “Christ, Mary, can you at least once let me in?”

This is not the most unsurmountable obstacle to the romance but it’s the obstacle which is there nearly for the whole time, which pushes on the heart wrenching factor big time, and which makes Lover Eternal one of my favorite hero-wrecked-for-the-heroine stories.

Verdict: 4,5/5 – The grade for Lover Eternal is mostly based on my enjoyment of the romance between Rhage and Mary, taking only slightly into account some of the more irritating things about this series (see link above), the weak lessers parts, and the deux-ex-machina ending. But re-reading it for the challenge, I actually think I now love this novel more than I ever did, mostly due to my new-found appreciation for the little details and my (solidified) impression that Lover Eternal has a rather well plotted romance.

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J. R. Ward – “Lover Eternal” (German Edition)

7 Nov

I always wondered how J. R. Ward’s Black-Dagger-Brotherhood novels would translate into other languages, mostly because of its use of slang. But my curiosity wasn’t enough to make me pay for a novel I already had, much less buy two books to get it complete.

You read that right. Each of Ward’s BDB books is published in two parts in Germany, meaning you have to buy two books to get one complete novel (it’s published by Heyne). In terms of money: paying nearly 16 Euro for two German books compared to around or even less than 5 Euro (online shops) for one English book.

(rant on -/-
This is nothing new. They do this rip-off for quite some time now, mostly with fantasy novels. I think Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series has more than 30 books in German. Also: series on DVD. We need to buy two boxes to get one season complete. And: the first season is always sold in one box (~ 50 Euro), while all the subsequent seasons come out in two boxes, season 2.1 and season 2.2 (~ 40 Euro each) and so on. But the best give-away: series that don’t do well on TV here mostly come out in one box, regardless of the season number.
I don’t like; I don’t buy.
rant off -/- Is it the same in other countries?)

But when I saw the first part of the German edition of Lover Eternal on sale for 3,50 Euro (as opposed to 7,95 Euro) I couldn’t resist: Lover Eternal is my favorite (I wouldn’t have bought one of the others, I think).

Here’s the German cover for the first part of Lover Eternal:

ward-j-r-ewige-liebe

Its title, “Ewige Liebe,” translates to “eternal love.” The book ends with chapter 24 at 267 pages. It’s when Mary phones Bella to ask her if she is also a vampire and to let Bella know where Mary is staying. The chapter ends with the sentence: “Maybe your home is now with Rhage” (Bella is thinking that). This is a new sentence; it’s not there in my English copy of Lover Eternal. But it gives the German version the needed sense of closure, I think.

Overall, it was a interesting experience to read Lover Eternal in German. The translation didn’t use what I see as the German equivalent of all the slang in the English BDB books (thank you), making it a very smooth read. But how embarrassing is it that I sometimes thought the translation isn’t what I remembered from reading it in English and when I checked, it turned out I was right? That’s not to say it was a wrong translation just that the German translation carried connotations not there in the English version which made me check the English version. These connotations also made me look at some things differently in the German version. Or maybe I just didn’t pick up on them in English.

One example:

Rhage phones Bella to ask after Mary’s address. At one point during their phone talk Bella thinks, “He was coming after her [Mary] for one and only one reason: to release all that sex in his body. Release it into her” (75). This didn’t struck me as especially crude; I thought it mostly showed how much Rhage wanted Mary (as I said, I probably don’t pick up on all the connotations). The German translation of that sentence suggests a more indiscriminate intend on Rhages side and uses a rather crude word for that. Translated back it would be something like: “He was coming after her for one reason only: to get rid of his glaringly obvious ‘sperm jam’ from which he suffered” (105). “Sperm jam” is a literal translation of the word that makes this sentence in the German translation rather crude. It means “too much sperm accumulated” and is (mostly) used for someone who is very horny and just wants to relieve himself. Also: the last sentence, “release it into her” is not really there in the German translation.

So that’s my lengthy explanation of why I thought it interesting to read Lover Eternal in German and why it put a slightly different slant on some things. It might even be that I wouldn’t like this novel in the German version as much as in the English version. The power of words! And if it’s just because I didn’t pick up on these connotations while reading Lover Eternal in English, then I’m glad about that.

Here’s the cover for the second part of the German edition of Lover Eternal to give you a complete picture:

ward-j-r-bruderkrieg

The title, “Bruderkrieg,” means “war of brothers.”

The covers for the whole series are done in this way and (as far as I know) they all get the same back blurb which emphasizes the war of the vampires (bats on the cover for that) against the Lessers. (A more specific blurb is inside each book).

But I’m not going to get this second part – Lover Eternal being my favorite or not.

J. R. Ward – “Lover Unbound”

11 Oct


GENRE: Romance / Paranormal
PUBLISHED: Signet Books, 2007


The back blurb:
“In Caldwell, New York, war rages between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now the cold heart of a cunning predator will be warmed against its will …

Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, son of the Bloodletter, possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father’s war camp, he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time – until a destiny he didn’t choose takes him into a future that cannot include her …”


This one is still more or less valid except that I the names and the strange spelling bother me only rarely now.

More thoughts:

  • There is much going on in this novel with many different point of views. It gave the story a broader scope which I liked.
  • There’s no POV by a Lesser. I don’t know what to think about that. Did Ward listen to complaints? I didn’t care much for the Lessers in the previous novels, mostly because their parts were seldom relevant for the story which hurt the image of the Lessers, IMO. I wanted their parts to be either more relevant or to be cut short so that the romance could have more room. Now there is nothing from their perspective and the pages this set free are given to side stories, not the romance.
  • The many (side) story lines distract from the romance. I’m not even sure that when you count the pages it would turn out 50 / 50%.
  • The romance was not very convincing. It’s the “clap-eyes-on-the-woman (eh, female), she’s-mine” premise and that’s as far as it goes to show that Vishous and Jane love each other. Not to mention the whole Butch-thing Vishous has going on.
  • After reading Lover Revealed, I was really interested in reading Vishous story. Sadly, there was not much of the things I wanted to read about in Lover Unbound.
  • I found Vishous’s flashbacks – horrible as his experiences were – rather boring and was very tempted to skip.
  • Jane started out as a strong woman. So in a way it’s much more depressing how “annihilated” she’s at the end.
  • I knew before starting about Jane’s fate so I wasn’t surprised. There had to be a solution on the paranormal level and it was okay. But, there is also a “symbolic” level here, and there Jane turned from a strong and successful woman of the world into something that’s only part of the world when Vishous touches her. She goes from very much of the world to barely there.
  • I can’t take the Scribe Virgin serious. I didn’t find her too hot before but now I think there’s too much changing of her powers or whatever for story purposes.
  • What is it with the changing rules in this world? I see no way to make it consistent with things from previous novels. It’s like the story has to get to a certain point and if there’s no way, well, let’s change a few things and there we are.
  • The Primale thing is just …
  • I’m not very interested in reading Phury’s story. There is such a thing as too much sequel baiting.
  • I can’t quite understand why Cormina is such a red flag. What do you expect from someone with her life? All she knows are the whitewashed ways of the Convent. How could she be different than the way she is? But then, thinking about Jane (or the other heroines, for that matter), I’m a bit apprehensive how she’ll turn out.

So, after all this, I didn’t like it, right?

No, wrong.

I liked it (there is that addictive crack thing). It’s just that I can’t take this world and the stories serious. I thought there were some interesting elements of world-building in this series, but now … I’m no longer comfortable calling it that. The world-building is popcorn, but the rest might still be crack.


Would I recommend this novel? Not as a stand alone.

Would I read this novel again? Probably yes.

Grade: 3,5 / 5


J. R. Ward – "Lover Revealed"

25 Mar


GENRE: Romance / Paranormal
PUBLISHED: Signet Eclipse, 2007


The back blurb:
“In the shadow of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a war raging between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. But now an ally of the Brotherhood is about to encounter his own dark desires …

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 – to engage in the turf war with the lessers. 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 …
Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he’s found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back. But even her love may not be enough to save him …”


I was interested in reading Butch’s and Marissa’s story from the time I read first about them in Dark Lover. This means, their romance already had started with the beginning of this novel. For example, their first kiss was back in Dark Lover and what’s kept them apart since then is a series of misunderstandings. Both Butch and Marissa are insecure about their own worth and they always felt (and still feel) like an outsider, looking in. For large parts of this novel, the misunderstandings because of insecurities are the main source of conflict. At least, Butch and Marissa talked about the misunderstandings before they got out of hand. I think that’s the reason why this sort of (annoying) conflict worked here. I liked to see that they talked.

It’s the introduction of the “paranormal” conflict (human/non-human pairing) later in the story that changed my rating for this novel. Up until that point I thought that Lover Revealed might turn out a 4,5 / 5. It changed it to 4 / 5 because, for me, the paranormal conflict messed with the story arc and dragged out the resolution. More than the first half of the novel was focused on Marissa and Butch while the rest was focused more on the vampire world as a whole with Marissa having to get a bit bitchy about the way the paranormal conflict could be resolved (so that there’s still some kind of romantic conflict). This felt drawn out. I started to look at the page numbers and counted the remaining ones. The romance was resolved and then the paranormal conflict was resolved instead of the other way round or resolved together. Therefore the climax in this story felt off to me and didn’t pack the punch it could have. But I didn’t view the resolution of the paranormal conflict as a deus ex machina like in Lover Eternal. Hints for this start early in the novel. You even can count Vishous’s vision to point in a this direction. And I really liked what was done in regard to world building in Lover Revealed. There are some fascinating pieces near the end. What’s deus ex machina is the Scribe Virgin’s appearance at the confrontation between Butch and the Omega. I waited the whole novel for this kind of confrontation and then the Scribe Virgin gets there and “puff!”

I liked Marissa and the fact that she, who was such a virgin’s virgin, is actually the woman who the readers see do something instead of being just a warrior’s mate. In this way, she reverses the pattern of the other heroines and goes from being dependent to being independent (= she does something besides being a mate). Although near the end Ward goes to some lengths to make it clear that the women aren’t just decorative and that they hold in fact quite some power over their mates (which I find, oddly enough, a bit questionable, like she reacts to the readers).

I liked Butch as well despite the definite un-hero-like associations his name has for me. I like to think of him as Brian. Of course, he has many elements of a male Mary Sue (=Marty Sue) character: he’s so down and all the things that happened to him in his life and anyway. And in the end, he’s … SPOILER. He’s right in Marty Sue territory there. But he really cares about Marissa and tries to make it right for her. They talk about their problems and I really like seeing that. So it’s all good and not annoying.

Maybe it’s because Butch is not a several hundred years old vampire that the slang didn’t get to me so much. Or I just got used to it. Also, there’s no leather on him. Instead, there are labels and names without end. At least, in the beginning. Later in the novel, this was dropped somewhat unless there was something to drink. At least, I don’t remember being annoyed that much by the name dropping anymore. Maybe I got used to that also. If it was there to make some point about character, it was too subtle for me.

Other characters make an appearance but they don’t overshadow or distract (as much) from the main story line as with the other novels (most notably in Lover Awakened). There’s John and Rehvenge (gets more interesting), and the lessers aren’t as annoying and skip-worthy as normal (mostly due to their shorter scenes; again: reader reaction?).

Then there’s Vishous. No comments about Lover Revealed can be complete without talking about him. I didn’t have a clear picture of Vishous before this novel. Apart from the homoerotic vibes in his relationship with Butch, he was a mystery. Well, after reading this novel, that’s changed. I thought it kind of funny how Ward emphasized the fact that the homoerotic direction is definitely a no-go area and that this is the novel in which you cannot not pick up on the homoerotic vibes in Butch’s and Vishous’s relationship. Anyway, Vishous is confused about his feelings for Butch and at times this was more intense and touching to read than the romance between Butch and Marissa with their misunderstandings. Near the end, a new layer is introduced into the relationship between Butch and Vishous which might go some way to explain Vishous’s confusion about his feelings. It’ll be interesting to learn more about Butch’s and Vishous’s relationship in Vishous’s story. Also, there’s a crazy idea buzzing around in my head. Can’t wait to see if I’m right. And if I’m right I would like it a lot because this idea ties together many things just beautifully.*

One thing about the bodies of the Brotherhood vampires: it is mentioned again and again how big and thick the arms and shoulders and legs, and … everything are. I keep getting mental images of Hulk-like creatures (without the green skin, that is). And that kills the buzz quite effectively. I don’t find that attractive at all.

To sum things up: I think Lover Revealed is Ward’s best paced novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series to this date. The balance between the “main” story line and the other elements was just right and I wasn’t as annoyed as in the previous novels about certain things. Also, I was not tempted once to skip ahead as I was in the other novels, although I still skimmed a bit.

That being said, I still like Lover Eternal more. *duck*

* Just read something that cancels this definitely. Sniff


Would I recommend this novel? Yes.

Would I read this novel again? Yes.

Grade: 4 / 5