More than most books, I think, this one isn’t going to change any minds. If you’re expecting to like it, you will. If you’re not, then you probably won’t.
And, yep, to put to rest an issue that’s still out there, this first hardcover in the author’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series definitely qualifies as urban fantasy. The author juggles multiple plot lines – some more successfully than others – and the romance doesn’t amount to much more than one of them. And, frankly, it’s probably my least favorite part of the book.
Such as it is, the romance here features Rehvenge, drug lord, club owner, and pretty much all around thug with a mohawk. His deep, dark secret? He’s a half-breed sympath, the sociopaths of vampire world who must live as outcasts in a separate colony.
Rehv is being blackmailed by his sympath half sister, requiring regular long bouts of vicious sex including pissed off scorpions. (Yes, Sex With Scorpions features big here.) He is treated for his injuries – not to mention a massive drug addiction – at Haver’s Clinic by nurse Ehlena.
Even though he’s impotent, Rehv wants Ehlena. Bad. Ehlena doesn’t want anything to do with Rehv. Until she does.
In the meantime, Wrath, the king, finds himself dealing with a sudden – and incredibly disturbing – personal development, while John Matthew and Xhex pursue (or don’t) their own attraction. And, in case three major plot threads weren’t enough, Tohr begins to face life again without his beloved Wellsie.
To be honest, Rehv in Love reminded me of Chandler Bing. Seriously. The former bad ass with a mohawk actually engages in “you hang up – no you hang up first” precious little conversations with Ehlena who is too freakin’ perfect for words. Seriously. I have no words to convey just how perfect she is. She is so perfect that there is w-a-a-a-a-y too much “I, bad ass, drug lord, sympath, and all around thug with a mohawk am not good enough for the saintly Ehlena” stuff going on. And the truth is he’s really not. Nobody is. Well, except maybe Ward Cleaver before June snagged him.
I enjoyed the Wrath-Beth storyline and the emergence of a true Big Bad – the Biggest and Baddest in this series, actually – and, honestly, pretty much the rest of the book, too. And it’s good to know that J.R. Ward does – unlike some other authors I might name when they made the leap to hardcover – step up to the plate to deliver a bigger, meatier book. It doesn’t always work, but it does feel like she laid it all out to give readers a more substantial run for their money.
It’s just that I never really believed the Rehv romance – but since this isn’t really a romance, maybe that doesn’t matter quite so much. Bottom line? Lover Avenged isn’t perfect or anywhere near as terrific as some entries in the series, but it remains a worthy book that I think many readers will enjoy.
Especially if you think you’re going to like it. Because, you know what? You probably will.