**spoiler alert** I feel I have to start this review off by saying that I am a huge fan of J.R. Ward’s writing and completely envious of her brilliant...more**spoiler alert** I feel I have to start this review off by saying that I am a huge fan of J.R. Ward’s writing and completely envious of her brilliant talent. Her works that I have read to date have never failed to leave me in awe of her writing capabilities and the world she creates for her beautifully complex characters.
So it pains me to give Lover Enshrined only four out of five stars, and even more so to have something less than spectacular to say about it. The main focus of the story was Phury and Cormia’s burgeoning relationship, and the highs and lows of it as the story progresses. I felt that although the dynamics of their relationship and the hardships they faced were well presented and thoroughly explored, the rest of the story and the ongoing numerous subplots drew away from it all and left it in the shadows rather than the forefront as it should have been. It seems that in this book there were a few too many different perspectives and too much was going on in between the epic love story that was Phury’s and Cormia’s. I found this unfortunate, as I ended up being more vested in the outcomes and developments to the subplots rather than the ending Ward had in store for the two main characters. Instead of wondering if Phury and Cormia’s love would prevail, I was biting my nails over Qhuinn’s predicament regarding Lash, Qhuinn’s rejection of Blay and the effects it would have on their friendship, and Rehv’s situation with the symphath princess. I am well aware that good subplot keeps the story going and allows for more scenarios in the book, but when it becomes so imbedded that the reader is starting to think, “Cormia Who? Phury what?” you have to ask yourself if the story relates more to what the blurb on the back of the book said, or if it’s leading you in an entirely different direction.
Highlights of the book would include the introduction of Lassiter, the fallen angel, and the intrigue surrounding his relationship with the brothers and Rehvenge, oh, and also I really want to know what the deal is with his having to be a part of Tohrment‘ recovery. I also liked that while Qhuinn was in a bad way after he knifed Lash and things were all doom and gloom, Wrath and John managed to pull something out of their asses and save his hide. And what made it even more appealing was it wasn’t your usual HEA, but something that came with a lot of strings and was maybe the lesser of two evils. On one hand he faced prison followed by a lifetime of slavery to the man who’s son he supposedly killed, and on the other he was forever indebted to John Matthew and would act out the role of bodyguard until either he or John Matthew was no longer breathing, whichever came first. So while he got off on the charges against him, it wasn’t all happy joy-joy, let’s go celebrate and have a good laugh about it. In a way, it was Qhuinn’s induction into the adult world and a whole lot of responsibility was heaped onto his shoulders.
On an unrelated note, I found it hilarious that no sooner had Wrath declared the Brotherhood mansion “not a hotel”, Qhuinn moves in, and then not two days later Blay moves in as well. Not a hotel, huh? Could have fooled me. Oh, and then hello, Lassiter comes along as a two for one deal with Tohr. Guess Wrath might be rethinking that statement!
I enjoyed the resolution between Phury and Zsadist, and my heart warmed at the end of the book when Zsadist started singing. For a minute there, I was truly worried Zsadit had stopped singing for good!
If not for the subplots and a whole cast of crazy, complicated, almost-drive-you-nuts characters, I would have given this book a lower rating. But because Ward has such flawless, addictive writing and is a master at weaving an incomparably monumental series, I decided to give it four stars, maybe even four and a half. It definitely would have been an easy five if more emphasis was given to Phury and Cormia’s love story, but hey, we can’t have everything.(less)