Julianna's Reviews > Lover Revealed

Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward
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's review
Feb 07, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: read-2008, paranormal-romance
Recommended for: Fans of PNR Romance

Reviewed for www.thcreviews.com

After meeting Butch and Marissa in Dark Lover, the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I was intrigued by the characters and looking forward to reading their story. Unfortunately, I found it a bit difficult to become emotionally invested in the ups and downs of their relationship as presented in Lover Revealed. I think this may have been the result of a few different things. First, Butch and Marissa spent very little time together during those initial scenes in Dark Lover and it was all very sweet and innocent. They were then separated for a 6-9 month period over the course of two more books, during which their relationship was still in play, but on the sidelines, with both of them pining desperately for each other. While this alone could be cited as an indication of their deep love, I really would have liked to see their relationship reestablished before they started engaging in sexual intimacy. When compared to the previous books in the series, I thought that Lover Revealed was simply lacking in the lovely, heart-stopping romantic scenes that I really love to see. In addition, during the course of the entire book, at least one of these two characters (though sometimes both at once) seemed to be holding the other at arms length, so I found it difficult to really feel their love in the powerful way that I did with the main characters in the prequels. While these were the primary reasons for my feeling a lack of romance in this story, I also think the world shifting that was taking place was a contributing factor as well. In and of itself this was certainly not a bad thing, as a continuing series such as this would not hold up well to critical scrutiny for long if it just kept telling the same narrative of the war between the vampires and the lessers only with a different couple in the lead. In this respect, I understand the author's choice to move the story to another level, but in my opinion, these changes in many ways overshadowed the love and romance that I was expecting. Vishous was also such an important character in this book, and his relationship with Butch ran so deep that it seemed like Marissa had a difficult time getting a strong foothold in the story.

As I mentioned earlier, I went into this book liking Butch and Marissa very much, and while I did not find them to be particularly unlikable at any time during this story, I did have a hard time fully relating to them. I think this was owing to the author not digging quite deep enough with the characters emotions, particularly Marissa's, as well as the rapid and drastic changes that took place in both of their lives, which completely caught me off guard. This was definitely a good thing, as I wouldn't want the plot to be too predictable, but so many things were happening so quickly that I had a hard time adjusting to all the shifts. Marissa went from a meek and docile female to an independent, outspoken, and basically liberated female almost overnight. While there is much to be said for those qualities, I think that perhaps finding some middle ground or building these changes more slowly would have been more believable. Butch's transformation was somewhat slower, yet incredibly dramatic. Even by the end of the book, I had been so blown away by everything that happened, I was still having a hard time thinking of him as anything but the human ex-cop who had been befriended by the Brotherhood. Still it was all an intriguing turn of events that did help to propel the story and the series forward. In spite of these perceived deficiencies, there were still things to like about these two characters. Butch, like the vampire brothers, was a tortured hero, one of my favorite kinds. He had never felt the love of a family until the Brotherhood took him into their confidence and their home, and he had also never felt like he belonged anywhere until then. In this book, he was finally able to find the missing pieces of himself. Butch was also very kind and considerate toward Marissa and a true friend to Vishous, as well as completely loyal to the Brotherhood. While Marissa for her part, made some rather selfish choices out of her sense of fear for Butch's safety, she at least recognized her mistakes and corrected them in the end. At the heart of her character, she was a gentle soul which was evidenced in her work at the hospital early on, but I found myself wishing that this part of her had been explored more fully. It just ultimately seemed like her newfound independence, rather overshadowed her kind heart. I did however, enjoy the scenes of her starting the Safe House for abused and displaced females, and hope to see more of her work with the shelter in the future.

In my opinion, what Lover Revealed was lacking in it's main characters, was made up for in it's secondary characters. These were some of the parts that I enjoyed reading the most. Wrath and Beth played significant roles for the first time since Dark Lover, and it was nice to see them front and center again. Zadist and Bella shared a playfully sensuous interaction, which even though it was only one scene, really stuck with me as being very beautiful and romantic, and Zsadist was able to put in some additional time as an instructor to their new trainees. As with the past two books, I greatly enjoyed John Matthew and his continuing story. I also sensed a friendship growing between him and Zsadist which I hope to see more fully explored in future books. There were a couple of the young vampire trainees who played larger roles in this book. I liked the awkwardness of Blaylock going through his transformation, and it was great to see Lash finally get his comeuppance. Bella's brother and club owner, Rehvenge, put in another appearance, adding more details and intrigue to his character as well. There was also an interesting sub-plot involving the fore-lesser, Mr. X, and his surprising desire to be freed from the Omega, and I also enjoyed the shellans creating a sisterhood of sorts, which I felt rather mirrored the relationship that their mates share.

The strongest of the secondary characters, who was fleshed out the most though, was Vishous. In previous books, he has been pretty much an enigma. For the most part, he was merely the techo-genius who held everything together, but who obviously harbored some very special gifts. Those gifts as well as glimpses of his backstory and personality are finally explored in Lover Revealed. Vishous's deep friendship with Butch seemed to develop into something more, at least from V's perspective, but nothing of a romantic nature ever happened as a result of it. In some ways they reminded me of Zsadist and Phury with their twins connection, and it became obvious by the end of the story that Butch and V are twins of a sort, two halves of a whole, who will likely share a special connection for life. Ultimately, there was a lot of complexity surrounding their relationship, which I believe could be interpreted as symbolic of this greater connection. From what I perceived, Vishous was a male who, not unlike his fellow members of the brotherhood, has many soul-deep wounds that torment him. It seems that he had never experienced real love and acceptance in his life (either giving or receiving) until meeting Butch and his feelings concerning this are confusing to him. He also doesn't seem to fully understand the bonding of his fellow brothers to their females, but does question in his own mind what this might be like. Vishous seems to have a penchant for hard core BDSM (though it isn't played out in particularly explicit details) which normally would not be my cup of tea, but Ms. Ward has painted an otherwise sympathetic picture of V which leaves the appealing potential for a Zsadist type of story for him. I can say that the author's portrayal of V has intrigued me sufficiently to whet my appetite for the next book, Lover Unbound, in which he becomes the hero.

Although I thought that Lover Revealed could have been a little better, especially romantically, the continuing story of the Brotherhood is one that I find to be very intriguing and still difficult to put down in spite of any weaknesses that might be present. I came to the conclusion that these weaknesses are due to Lover Revealed being a bridge of sorts between the first three books and those yet to come, a book where there are major shifts in the overarching story. Ms. Ward writes with an intelligence that I greatly appreciate, often making me really think about what is happening. In fact I found myself thinking about Lover Revealed and trying to figure certain things out days after turning the last page. When an author can engage both my emotions and my intellect in such a way, they have in my opinion, done their job well. I will be looking forward to continuing with the series to see where her fertile imagination leads these wonderful characters. Lover Revealed is the fourth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It is preceded by Dark Lover, Lover Eternal, and Lover Awakened and is followed by Lover Unbound, and Lover Enshrined, with Lover Avenged due to be released next year. There is also a companion book to the series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide. J. R. Ward also writes contemporary romances under the name Jessica Bird.

Note: Sensitive readers should be forewarned that as in the past books, there is quite a bit of strong language and violence, and the sex, due to the BDSM element is a bit more explicit than what one would typically find in an average romance novel.
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Reading Progress

February 7, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
February 19, 2008 – Shelved as: read-2008
February 19, 2008 – Finished Reading
March 29, 2008 – Shelved as: paranormal-romance

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Auntee I loved Butch in this one. This book had tons of info to keep track of and a LOT going on! Nice review!:)

Laura I thought the book was so-so. Not bad, not great. I agree, I didn't really "feel" anything for either character. Actually, I didn't feel anything but frustration.

I throughly loved the previous books, but this one not so much. After reading the reviews on the next two, knowing me, I won't enjoy them at all.

I guess I am done with this series.

Too bad, it had enormous potential.

Tracey I felt the same good book, loved wrath and Beth in it so much. But lacked that emotional pull when you willing them to sort it out. I defo struggled with Marissa.

Julianna Marissa was definitely not one of the strongest and most likable heroines in this series, nor were she and Butch my favorite couple, but overall, it was still a pretty good story. Even the weaker books in this series are still better than many other romances I've read.

message 5: by Roxanne (new)

Roxanne Dawkins i like this book

Julianna Me too, Roxanne. It just wasn't one of my favorites in the series.

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